"I want to do something that's going to utilize my brain a little more than this show," she tells The Hollywood Reporter. "If 'Lately' is the show that I'm going to do, it's going change. But it may turn out that I'm done with it altogether. I can't keep doing the same thing; my brain is bleeding. I want to do something that's more mindful and isn't celebrity-centered. I'm not looking to bail on E! They've done a lot for me, and I like it here."
She takes a beat, then quips: "If you take away the Kardashians."
Handler is deep into negotiations with E! to extend her contract, which expires in 2012. Her burnout begs the question: If Handler quit taking potshots at famous people (see: Angelina, Lindsay, Tori Spelling) where would she aim her grenades? Her recent New York Times interview -- wherein she simultaneously tore into unwed teen mothers while revealing she had an abortion at age 16 -- suggests there's much more to Handler than sex, vodka and celebrity-fueled commentary.
"I want to educate people and deliver news that isn't just surrounded by Charlie Sheen," she says. "I'd like to be able to do the serious stuff in conjunction with comedy."
The comedian and bestselling author toes the awkward line between bonafide Hollywood insider and venomous outsider. Here's how she rationalizes maintaining A-list friendships versus insulting other stars:
"I only have talked about people that I think are acting irresponsiblity or are making fools of themselves. There's no reason to talk about Reese Witherspoon. I've never talked about those people and anyone I've become friends with. I'm not going to be friends with them if they're idiots in the first place."
Dropping the name of another celeb BFF, she snipes: "Jennifer (Aniston) said she saw the Kardashians at dinner last night. She was like, 'They're nice.' And I said: 'Don't get photographed with the Kardashians!' People will blame me for it!"
(Would getting photographed with Kim and company really be all that bad? Aniston's image would recover, we think.) Handler, whose growing empire is worth some $20 million, insists she won't capitalize on her celebrity with a Kardashian-esque line of beauty products.
"I have really strong opinions; I'll never sell out," she says. "I'm not going to wake up one day and have a perfume. That's never going to happen."
Never say never, Chelsea.
- Chelsea Handler