Chelsea Handler is taking accountability for the fact she “wasn’t respectful” to Joan Rivers when they first met.
In an exclusive clip from Melissa Rivers’ Group Text Podcast, which drops on Friday, the Dear Chelsea host opened up about the rocky start to her relationship with the late comedian, who died in September 2014.
“Your mom approached me a couple times when we were on E! I just felt like a s— because I had just kinda blown her off,” Handler, 47, told Melissa Rivers. “I wasn’t respectful in the way I realize I needed to be now.”
Handler shared that she was eager to pay tribute to Rivers at Netflix’s The Hall: Honoring the Greats of Stand-Up, which premiered on May 19.
Melissa, 54, tells the comedian that she “went f—ing bananas” when she found out Handler would be paying tribute to her mother.
Handler was also “so excited about the opportunity to do it, to go and say those things in front of everybody. To be like, you have to remember that every opportunity that anyone has in this world as a female comedian, you have to thank the people who came before you.”
She continued, “When I was on E!, I was so young and arrogant and just thought, ‘I did it. I got myself to where I was.’ I didn’t give her the kudos she deserved and so I was eager to like put that in writing.”
During the Netflix comedy special, Handler thanked Rivers for being “bold” and “brave.”
“The first time I meet Joan Rivers, we were both on E! — and not the fun kind. It was the basic cable network with the exclamation point, which in hindsight was still a good time,” she shared. “But, at the time though, I did not realize the enormous impact Joan had on my career.”
She continued, “I was too wrapped up in my own world. I was too young, too confident, and too arrogant to believe anyone had a hand in my success but myself. Now, I know that for every success I’ve had it was because someone came before me who was bolder and braver and good luck finding someone else who was as bold and as brave as Joan Rivers.”
On the podcast, Handler also opens up with Rivers about her relationshipwith fellow comedian Jo Koy, being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and how cancel culture affects comedy.
Handler’s full interview with Melissa Rivers’ Group Text Podcast is out Friday.
It’s never too late for growth!