Since her move to Netflix, comedian Chelsea Handler has found a freedom of sorts on her new talk show Chelsea. Jumping from E! to the streaming service has allowed her to be as cut-throat as she wants with her signature, unbridled wit. And it all makes for an enjoyable experience while attending a live taping of the show.
EW got to do just that this week, sitting in the audience for a taping of Chelsea at Sony Pictures in Culver City, California. That episode — which debuts Thursday, Sept. 8 at 12:01 a.m. PT — features Stranger Things stars Millie Bobby Brown, Caleb McLaughlin, and Gaten Matarazzo (plus a special guest!), Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens), and Bob Saget (Fuller House).
Audience members are treated to a lounge-style set, complete with large, cushy chairs, couches for VIP attendees, and a pre-show waiting area to snap behind-the-scenes pics for Instagram. The Netflix platform cuts out the commercial breaks, making the filming move along at a smooth pace. While the production is a well-oiled machine, make no mistake, Handler’s off-the-cuff humor and improvisational attitude don’t suffer because of it. Overall, the logistics that could take center stage fade into the background, allowing audiences to sit back and feel like a guest in the Chelsea home.
Keep reading for five fun moments from the episode.
1. The Stranger Things kids got a big surprise — and so did the audience.
After Brown, McLaughlin, and Matarazzo made it to the stage, Handler delved right into the instant fame the kids have experienced since the Netflix series launch. Matarazzo, who plays Dustin on the show and is celebrating his 14th birthday on the day the episode premieres, expressed his desire to be known as just Gaten, not a celebrity. “I don’t like that word. I’m just Gaten,” said Matarazzo. Handler then brought up Barb, the unsung Stranger Things hero and instant internet phenomenon, to get the kids’ reactions to her fame. Before they could answer, Handler promised Matarazzo a great birthday gift, and out came Barb herself, Shannon Purser, with a cake.
Check out some of Handler’s chat with the young stars and Purser’s surprise entrance in the video, as well as McLaughlin’s post-show Instagram with his costar, which he captioned, “I found Barb,” both below.
2. Chelsea wants the whole cast back for season 2.
Thanks to the success of the Netflix series, the spotlight (er, Christmas lights?) will continue to shine on the small, fictional Indiana town plagued by supernatural occurrences in a second season of Stranger Things. While the details of the continuing plot are still under wraps, Handler wasn’t afraid to pull even a little something out of the stars. “You’re all coming back,” said Handler, prompting Brown to slink down in her seat and give a disappointed face. “Not everyone. I still don’t know,” said Brown. Purser jumped in to echo that she is “in the dark on what could happen for my character.” “No, you’re all coming back,” said Handler. “Just remember #BarbLivesMatter.”
3. Abigail Breslin isn’t afraid of big companies.
As an Oscar nominee for Little Miss Sunshine and someone who has walked plenty of red carpets, not to mention her high-fashion role as Chanel #5 on Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens, Breslin understands the pressures of image. And she was not happy with how one company tried to shame women of a certain body shape. “My friends were over and were showing me this ad,” said Breslin, while a Gold’s Gym ad with a picture of a pear and the words “This is no shape for a girl” beside it appeared on screen. “So I told them to hand me my phone, and they were like, ‘Uh oh.’ They know that I’m outspoken. So I shared the photo and pointed out how terrible it was.” The star says she didn’t want her young female fans to have to see an ad like that and think it was acceptable.
“You got them to take it down, right?” asked Handler. “Yeah. We did,” said Breslin.
4. Bob Saget’s interview got awkward when his on-screen daughters were brought up.
With the episode focused on ‘80s nostalgia, Handler brought “everyone’s TV grandfather, Bob Saget,” to the stage. “What was that grandfather part about?” asked Saget. “I have three daughters and no grandchildren that I know of.” The pair discussed Saget’s ‘80s haircut, which according the actor, “really did make me look like my mom.” The sometimes witty, but mostly strange banter between the two reached a head when Handler turned the conversation to two Full House stars who chose not to return for a cameo in the Netflix revival series. “The original Stranger Things,” said Handler, as a photo of Olsen twins Mary-Kate and Ashley popped up on the screen. In the midst of Handler’s mini stand-up act about the actresses, Saget looked disgruntled as he tried to get a word in. “Listen, they are like my daughters,” said Saget in defense. “Well, that’s your problem,” Handler fired back with her deadpan humor.
5. Handler has “No Kids” PSAs.
In the place of commercials, the comedian inserts short PSAs to inform viewers of her feelings on various topics. This episode’s focus: not having kids. Several clips were shown between interviews featuring Handler moving about her home, smoking marijuana. “I’m just having a 10 a.m. cocktail while going over some paperwork,” she said in the PSA, titled, “Kids: They’re Not That Great.”
She didn’t have the only word, though. Comedian Jim Gaffigan also appeared for his own satirical PSA, arguing, “Kids: They’re That Great.”
“Who else will wake you up with screaming?” said Gaffigan. “I’m personally acquainted with three clowns and five magicians because I’ve been to 53 kids parties this year.”