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Lately, at Wellesley Booksmith: Talk Show Host Chelsea Handler Causes Ruckus

The star comedian kicked off her book signing/comedy tour in Wellesley yesterday.

Two excited girls smiled big at Chelsea Handler as they offered copies of her books to sign. Using the opportunity, the pair asked Handler if she had any extra tickets to her show at Boston University’s Agganis Arena later that night.

“I would say it’s probably sold out,” Handler said with her particular brand of sarcastic, wry, almost deadpanned wit. “I’m just that popular.”

Handler, signing copies of her new book, Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me, at yesterday was only kidding – or was she? The line of fans stretching from the front door of the Central Street bookshop, all the way around the corner at Cross Street, wrapping into the plaza parking lot, and ending near the rear entrance made it seem like the quip was anything but a joke.

Many fans were local to Wellesley, and some who showed up to the bookshop even enjoy their own high-profile status. Celebrity Chef, owner of and all around friend to Wellesley, Ming Tsai set up in a seat next to Handler. Tsai mixed saki-tinis in preparation for the arrival of the host of E!’s wildly popular talk show Chelsea Lately to storm through Wellesley.

Tsai had never met Handler, but like the hundreds of people who went through the Wellesley Booksmith’s doors, he said he is a huge fan.

“I think she’s funny as hell,” he said.

Tsai said he planned on inviting her to dinner, but with almost all of Wellesley Square taken over by her local fan base and a Boston performance an hour after the signing, there would be little time for anything other than the horde of excited book-carriers.

Two friends, Siobhan Elvin and Chelsea Dornfeld, both wearing “UMass” sweatshirts, said Chelsea Lately is appointment viewing at the James dorm at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst campus.

“The whole building watches it every night,” Elvin said.

Dornfeld drove down from Groveland, Mass. to see Handler at the kickoff event for her nationwide standup/book signing tour, and Elvin, who lives in Boston, said she had to get back to Amherst to study for an 8 a.m. sports management final.

Gabrielle Goodwin, a second-year student at Wellesley College, whose student body represented much of the waiting crowd, said she’d read all of Handler’s books.

“They’re just hilarious,” she said.

Other fans were there just to get a glimpse of the prominent A-lister.

“I’m a fake fan, I just watch the show,” said first-year Wellesley College student Lena Cardoso.

As the crowd wound its way through the store toward the back exit staircase, where frequent Chelsea Lately guest and contributor to her book Josh Wolf was greeting fans, D’arci Curran of Wayland said Handler, rushed as she was, came as advertised.

“I’ve seen her [live] show a bunch of times,” Curran said.

Handler entered Wellesley just after 5 o’clock, and was gone shortly after 6, leaving a throng of happy fans in her wake. For Handler, the hour was long enough to make a lasting impression.

“She was so cool!” shouted one friend to another, audible from the Weston Road side of the Booksmith plaza parking lot. 

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