When Chelsea Handler took the stage at Bucknell University on Tuesday, April 3, the comedian, actress and social activist said she was exactly where she wanted to be.
After darting on stage at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts with an energetic "Hi, Bucknell," the former host of comedy talk shows Chelsea Lately and Chelsea and the documentary series Chelsea Does called her town-hall style event, where no topic was off limits, "an activity in learning."
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"It's so much easier to be better informed, and it's easy to know more," Handler said. "So that is what this year is about for me. It's to know more, to do more and to show up."
In a freewheeling and sometimes profane 60-minute interview, Handler answered questions submitted by Bucknell students through moderator Sheila Lintott, professor and chair of Bucknell's philosophy department, before speaking directly with members of the audience. Curled up in a comfortable chair, Handler addressed topics ranging from serious and political — her thoughts on Donald Trump, the #MeToo movement and civil rights — to irreverent and personal — her short-lived relationship with rapper 50 Cent and a memorable dinner party with musicians Wiz Khalifa, Shania Twain, Jill Scott and Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons.
While Handler, known for being brash and blunt, never shied from sharing her opinions, she also told the crowd that she's trying her hardest to understand the way her detractors see the world, and learning the difference between sympathy and empathy.
"I am a better person in this last year," she said. "I'm proud of myself that I'm taking the time [to listen]. All we ever want to be is to be proud of ourselves — to say 'I did something different,' to say, 'I sat and listened to something like this.' "
The event was sponsored by Bucknell's Student Lectureship Committee and was free to members of the University community and the public.