Chelsea Handler autographs books at University Store

Chelsea Handler autographs books at University Store

At the front of a line of people snaked around the entire University Store on Fifth Saturday afternoon was Chelsea Handler, comedian, author and TV host, signing copies of her new book Uganda Be Kidding Me.

Handler came to Pitt to promote her book before her stand-up comedy show at Consol Energy Center Saturday night, another leg of her 31-stop, two-month tour, also called Uganda Be Kidding Me.

Pitt students and members of the Pittsburgh community waited for several hours while others came a few minutes before Handler arrived at the bookstore around 2:30 p.m. She signed books for a little more than an hour. 

Marissa Waterloo, sophomore pharmacy major, said she hasn’t yet read Handler’s books but is a big fan of her late-night TV shows Chelsea Lately and After Lately on E!.

“I like that she can joke about anything,” Waterloo said. “She’s not afraid to be vulgar and push the limits.”

The crowd of more than 100 included people carrying several of Handler’s books or wearing t-shirts with her name on them. Uganda Be Kidding Me chronicles Handler’s stories from her travels around the world, including visits to Germany, the Bahamas and countries in Africa. The book is written in her signature snarky tone made famous by her late night TV shows.

Jamie Kaufer, a first-year graduate student in the dental school, said she plans to go to Handler’s show at Consol with her stepmother to celebrate Mother’s Day, as they are both fans of Handler’s.

“I love knowing that she’s a real person and she has funny life moments just like us,” Kaufer said. “She says things that we think ourselves. She’s hilarious.”

Posed photographs were not permitted with Handler, according to Debrah Fyock, director of the University Store on Fifth. Fyock said Handler’s press representatives imposed this restriction to keep line moving quickly and give Handler enough time to sign everyone’s books before she’d have to leave to prepare for her show.

Fyock said Handler’s publisher, Hachette Book Group, contacted Pitt to set up the book signing. Hachette also publishes the books of Stephen Colbert, another comedian and TV host who came to Pitt in April 2013.

“We take that as a sign that the Colbert event went well,” Fyock said.

Waterloo said that Handler “levels the playing field” for women in comedy. Handler is the only female host of a late-night talk show currently on the air and competes with male comedians such as Jon Stewart, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert.

“I think we should have more women in comedy,” Kaufer said. “She’s definitely a trailblazer in that sense.”