Aspen Laff Fest: Heather McDonald on life after ‘Chelsea Lately’ |

Aspen Laff Fest: Heather McDonald on life after ‘Chelsea Lately’

Stand-up comic Heather McDonald will perform Friday at the Wheeler Opera House's Aspen Laff Festival.
Courtesy photo |

If You Go …

Who: Heather McDonald

Where: Aspen Laff Festival, Wheeler Opera House

When: Friday, Feb. 19, 7 p.m.

How much: $35

Tickets: Wheeler box office;

More info: Will Weldon will open McDonald’s show.

Aspen Laff Festival headliner Heather McDonald is leaving her kids at home in California this weekend, she said, and bringing along her husband for a weekend in the mountains. But the whole family is likely to show up in her stand-up act, which often confronts the hilarious absurdities of being a mom and a wife.

McDonald, best known for her regular appearances on Chelsea Handler’s “Chelsea Lately” and the spinoff “After Lately,” hasn’t let her kids see her act yet.

“I told them they could see it when they were each 16,” she said. “My daughter is 16 now, but I’m not going to remind her to see my stand-up special. It is kind of harsh, but it is reality. In a few years, they’ll look back and be mature enough to realize, ‘Yeah, I was kind of an asshole at 9, and that’s funny.’”

Her husband, she said, deals well with being made fun of in her act, though McDonald herself tends to be more thin-skinned.

“The funny thing is that when he teases me I get all sensitive and cry and he’s like, ‘My God, have you seen your act about me?!’ I can dish it out, but I really can’t take it.”Heather McDonald

“The funny thing is that when he teases me I get all sensitive and cry and he’s like, ‘My God, have you seen your act about me?!’ I can dish it out, but I really can’t take it,” she said.

McDonald has kept busy on stage and screen since “Chelsea Lately” ended its enormously popular seven-year run on E! in 2014.

“I told Chelsea, ‘Thank you for quitting, because I never would have quit,’” McDonald said of the new phase of her career. “When the show ended, (“I Don’t Mean to Brag”) came out shortly after that, and I wanted to do more stand-up and different things — eventually I’d like to be on TV every day again. I love doing talk shows.”

Along with her wildly popular role riffing with Handler, McDonald is the author of two best-selling memoirs — 2013’s “My Inappropriate Life” and 2010’s “You’ll Never Blue Ball in this Town Again” — has hosted the TLC talk show “All About Sex” and the podcast “The Juicy Scoop” and was featured in her Showtime stand-up special “I Don’t Mean to Brag.”

She’s also on screen in the new documentary “Can We Take a Joke?” about the state of comedy in our current age of political correctness and Internet outrage (the film also features fellow Laff Fester Gilbert Gottfried). “Chelsea Lately,” she said, somehow squeaked by with its equal-opportunity-offender approach.

“We got away with so much,” she said. “I feel like shortly after, things got crazy with the PC police. I was so worried, like, ‘Oh my God, will it keep me from getting a talk show if I say this or tweet this?’ Eventually, I just said, ‘Forget it.’ I can’t be so worried if someone is going to take something out of context and try to ruin my career with it. … Hopefully I’m like Joan Rivers and I work until I’m 80 not giving a s—.”

Over the past two years or so, McDonald has gained recognition beyond being the impressionist, pop-culture commentator and resident mom on Handler’s roundtable.

“What’s great now is that more people come up to me and say, ‘You’re a comedian!’ rather than, ‘Hey, you’re the girl from “Chelsea Lately,”’” she said.

McDonald is currently in the midst of pitching a handful of TV-show ideas.

“I am pitching a reality show — I finally decided it’s time to exploit my family,” she said with a laugh. “I literally called my people and said, ‘I think it’s that time.’ I have a really fun life, and I have funny comedian friends and funny mom friends. … I thought about it, and there’s nothing that I don’t share anyway. I think I’ll be able to handle it. And I really like reality shows. I don’t think they’re the devil.”

Along with checking out her fellow comics at the Wheeler Opera House this weekend, McDonald will probably be on the slopes and definitely, she said, at apres-ski.

“I am a skier, but I’m not great,” she said. “And at this point I don’t think I’m going to get much better. I’ll go down the bunny hill and the intermediate, but I just can’t do too much more than that. It’s too traumatic, and then I’m like, ‘What am I doing? Who am I trying to impress? Do I really need a broken wrist at this point in my life?’ But I love being out in the snow, I love the outfits, and I love drinking in the day. Happy hour is so early in ski towns. I like all of that.”

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