WHEN Geof Wills, a comedy booker, first signed the comedian Chelsea Handler for a stand-up stint in San Francisco almost a decade ago, he came away with one distinct memory. Handler specializes in biting the hand that feeds: tearing down celebrities on a channel devoted to building them up.
You can watch it during breakfast, on your lunch break, or at prime time, if you're feeling especially rebellious.“Chelsea Lately,” which debuted on E in 2007, attracts more than 900,000 viewers per night with its mix of raunchy, deadpan monologues, daily news riffs and rapid-fire round- tables.The numbers are fewer than a third of what David Letterman or Jay Leno draw on average, but they still place her close to Conan O’Brien’s TBS vehicle and not far behind Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” Whether she means to or not, she’s essentially taking on the late-night boys club, to paraphrase CNN’s Piers Morgan. And for the last 18 months she has been putting that particular characteristic to work on “Chelsea Lately,” her p.m. Handler, 33, recalled earlier days, growing up, when her less-than-tactful tendencies were, as she explains, “never good.” “Oh,” she said, pretending to be a high school career counselor, “you have a really big mouth and you don’t seem to be able to filter anything. Sitting in her office and dressing room here on a recent afternoon, Ms.