Good news for “Chelsea Lately” fans, Chelsea Handler and Sarah Colonna are actually as close in real life as you want to believe when watching the roundtable. They first bonded over a mutual love of happy hour during a bad improv class, and Handler brought Colonna along for the E! Network ride.
Colonna is a writer and regular on Handler’s late night talk show, as well as a producer of the spin-off “After Lately” which she stars in alongside Heather McDonald, Brad Wollack and Chris Franjola. Laidback and relatable with an ultra-dry sense of humor, Colonna isn’t sitting back in the E! shadows. She just landed her second book deal -- a follow-up to the best selling Life As I Blow It -- and she plays opposite Harland Williams in an upcoming Michael Rosenbaum film.
Colonna brings her stand-up to San Diego for a three-night run at The American Comedy Co., starting Thursday, September 5. We caught up with Colonna to try and convince her that not everyone in the Gaslamp Quarter is completely wasted all the time.
Q: How did you and Chelsea meet?
A: We met at an improv class in the Valley. Neither of us were very good in the class, but we both liked happy hour a lot so we instantly bonded. We are really friends, yes. I mean, we're both a lot busier now and she travels a lot, but she's definitely someone I can always count on as a friend and vice versa.
Q: What can we look forward to in your stand-up this weekend?
A: I definitely like to mix it up and I really love to reach out to the audience. It's fun to ask some questions because you always get different answers; you never know where each audience might take you material-wise. That's my favorite part of doing stand-up.
Q: Do you still get nerves before a show?
A: I definitely do still get nervous. I think that's good, though. I feel like if you're too over-confident then you stop trying and it comes across as cocky on stage. I like the way nerves drive me now...they aren't so bad that I'm throwing up backstage or anything dramatic, that would probably not be so great. But they show up right before I go on and they keep my adrenaline up for the show.
Q: How often do you visit San Diego?
A: Not often enough. I always have fun when I'm here, I love it. I remember last time I performed here, a friend and I went out after my show and the whole downtown was packed with people who seemed drunk out of their minds. I'm pretty sure I saw like five ambulances on hand just waiting. I was like "what goes on down here?" BUT, it was super fun...
Q: We're obsessed with your book, Life As I Blow It. How was the writing process for you?
A: It was crazy, the process. It was long and really difficult - but it was also so much fun. I think the main thing I learned is that it's okay to be honest about who you are; some things made me nervous to open up about but the pay-off of how people have related to and connected to some of the stories makes me really, really happy.
Q: From following you on Twitter, we know you're a big baseball fan. Did you play growing up? What's your tie to the Angels?
A: I didn't play at all, I might be the worst baseball player in the world, to be honest. But I grew up on it; my father was a Sports Editor for the OC Register and the LA Times. He covered the Angels so every summer when I came out to visit, we went to a lot of Angels games. They're in my blood now, ha.
Q: When did you first realize you were funny, and could actually make a career with comedy?
A: I always wish I have a better answer for this, but there isn't a distinct moment that sticks out. It's just what I've always wanted to do, acting and stand-up...I don't remember a time I didn't want to do it.
Q: Congrats on the new film, Back in the Day. Can you tell us about the project?
A: I'm so proud of it. It's a really funny, sweet movie with a great cast. Michael Rosenbaum wrote and directed it, plus the cast has Morena Baccarin, Nick Swardson, Isaiah Mustafa, Harland Williams (who plays my husband) and a whole bunch of other great people. It comes out in January, I hope everyone goes to see it! I have a scene in my underwear, if that helps.
Q: What's next for you?
A: I just got my second book deal, so I'm writing that (it's called Has Anybody Seen My Pants?). Plus working on a script for a TV show and just keeping as many things going as possible. It's pretty exciting, I feel like each year just gets better.
Sarah Colonna at The American Comedy Co.
Thursday, Sept. 5 at 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 6 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.