If we didn't know any better, we would think Chelsea Handler could be on the verge of getting her own television network.
She's got Chelsea Lately. There's also the NBC sitcom being developed about her life. And tonight? The funnylady premieres After Lately, a new pseudo-reality series on E! about working at, well, Chelsea Lately.
I caught up with four of the stars of the new series, Lately writers Brad Wollack, Heather McDonald, Sarah Colonna and Chris Franjola, the other day to talk about being abused by Ms. Handler, working long hours and whether their boss got her good pal Jennifer Aniston to appear on the show...
So it's not really a reality show?
Brad: It's semi-scripted. It's based on real things that have happened in our lives.
Heather: We're playing ourselves. But even if you don't like Chelsea Lately, but watch The Office or 30 Rock, I think you'll really enjoy it.
So you're giving The Office and 30 Rock a run for their money?
Heather: Totally. I totally think so.
When did you shoot it?
Heather: We would do Chelsea Lately all day until about six and then we would shoot After Lately sometimes until 10 o'clock at night. It was exhausting.
Chris: You could just tell by looking at us. I look like Annette Bening in most of it.
Heather: I thought you said Cloris Leachman.
So you didn't get much sleep.
Heather: It was awful. I almost got a divorce over it.
Chris: Yeah, I'm sure it was because of the show.
Were there times when you just would crack up and couldn't keep shooting?
Heather: A lot of the time! But it was so late and we were so tired, we' be like, This isn't the time we want bloopers! But sometimes you can't help it.
Sarah: We would get delirious, but the best part is that on Chelsea Lately we're seen as one way but this really gives everyone a whole new perspective of what it's like for each of us.
Who's the closest to Chelsea?
Brad: Sarah's probably the closest.
Sarah: Everybody is good friends with Chelsea. I just don't get yelled at as much.
Heather: Sarah drinks vodka and I drink chardonnay so she prefers to drink with Sarah.
Chris: I've been there three years and there are some days I don't even think she knows my name.
Heather: Sometimes she doesn't have time to bother with us.
Brad: With me, she's really nice when nobody else is around but when other people are around, she has to keep up this persona like she hates me.
Sarah: You'll see in the show how much joy she gets by messing with us.
So did Chelsea get Jennifer Aniston to be on the show?
Sarah: You'll have to wait and see, but we have some really really good guest stars.
Brad: John [Rizzotti, the show's publicist] will let us say this: "We do have an Academy Award-winning person on the show."
Person? That could be a sound editor!
Brad: OK, an Academy Award-winning celebrity.
Chris: It's Anthony Hopkins [laughs]. Some people on the show took such a step down to do After Lately, we're surprised they didn't pull a muscle.