Thursday, September 7, 2017

Chelsea Handler on how DUI school got her over her fear of public speaking

Comedian Chelsea Handler, creator and host of the show Chelsea on Netflix, was interviewed recently by David Axelrod on The Axe Files podcast. It's where the outspoken comic revealed how being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and having to go to DUI school helped her overcome a fear of public speaking. After Axelrod mentioned her DUI, here's what she said:
Yes, yes, thank you for bringing that up. I got a DUI when I was like 21 and I had to go these DUI classes and you go for 6 weeks, it felt like 6 years, but it was a long period of time and you go once a week and every week somebody had to get up and tell their story about their DUI. And I had never publicly spoken before. I was 21 and I had made a terrible mistake, obviously. 
So and I just would always be like, don’t pick me, don’t pick me, don’t pick me, I can’t get up. I don’t know what I’m going to say, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I wasn’t prepared. And on the very last class of the very, he picked, it was my turn because everyone else had gone. Because I kept maneuvering different ways to sit in the classroom so that he wouldn’t pick me. 
And I got up and I told my story just off the cuff about what happened and my sister. I had my sister’s ID and she was Mormon now, too, and she was doubly pissed because I shouldn’t be drinking. Meanwhile my Mormon mother had given me her ID, so, and I called the cop a racist even though we were both white. So I had all these little things about the story and people were laughing and I was like, this is awesome. And the whole room was laughing and finally the guy came over and said this isn’t a standup comedy class, get down now. You’re like up here for a little bit too long. Like I would not get off the stage. 
And somebody said that night, they were like you should do standup comedy. And I was like really? That seems awful. And they said, yeah you should. And I did just because they suggested it. I was like okay, maybe I should do standup comedy. At least then I can write my own lines and don’t have to read something else. Something that someone else had written for me. You know? And that’s what I really love. I love to be able to be in charge of my material. 
It's a great testimony for trying the thing you think you cannot do in public speaking--you might, like Handler, discover that you like it, and like creating your own material, two big discoveries for any public speaker.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Fortune Live Media)

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