Chelsea Handler and Sean Hayes Are The Same Person

July 1, 2019

Cinema Cafe - 2016 Sundance Film Festival

Sean Hayes, star of Will and Grace, joins Chelsea Handler on this episode of Life Will Be The Death Of Me to talk about her book of the same name, exploring her journey to manage her anger. Sean says it was, “out of the three” books he’s ever read, one of the best. "We're the exact same person, there are so many similarities." (When Chelsea asks what made him draw that conclusion, he muses, "Well, I saw the word 'vodka' in there.") They also exchange stories about fire alarm frustrations, opinions on broccoli soup, and Sean shares the lessons that stuck with him the most (“I need to go to therapy!”).

Chelsea describes herself as being a “scorched-earth” type of person for a long time, cutting friends, partners, and colleagues out of her life for the smallest infraction. Her therapist, Dr. Dan Siegel, helped her trace this behavior to the death of her oldest brother, Chet, when she was nine. “‘That's your first blueprint for breaking up with somebody,’” Chelsea remembers him saying. “‘It's here today and gone tomorrow.’" She discovered that anger was her baseline to deal with any situation. Her overwhelming impatience, for example: she confesses that she gets so frustrated at airport shops that she’ll sometimes lay money on the counter and walk out without waiting to be rung up. “I was telling Dan like he was going to be commiserating with me...I was like, ‘I just can't deal with it, it's too slow. I just want the book, and I want to go.’ He's like, ‘Yeah, everybody wants what they want, and they want to go.’ And I'm like, ‘Oh, is that privilege? Is that being white?’ He's like, ‘No, white people aren't doing that either,’” Chelsea laughs. “Good to know.” 

But the habit was ingrained; she describes checking into a hotel rather than dealing with home maintenance problems, or being so unwilling to pack a suitcase that she would leave everything behind and buy new stuff. “I was so icked out by myself,” Chelsea says. ”It came to a crescendo where I was so spoiled, and I was saying yes to things because of paychecks, rather than being thoughtful about what I wanted to put out into the world.” 

Chelsea had to learn where her impatience was really coming from, which Sean recounts from the book: “[Dan] says, ‘Sad is your internal reaction, which turns to anger, because anger sets you in kinetic motion...to avoid the sadness of...knowing your plans had been thwarted. Your anger is your way to avoid sadness.’ I love that,” he says. “F**king genius.” 

Recently she had a moment where the fire alarm in her hotel room went off, and she could feel the old impatience get the better of her: “Usually, if a fire alarm ever went off at a hotel, I would just walk out the door and check into another hotel,” she laughs. But instead, she realized that she had an opportunity to be patient and deal with the problem on her own. "'This is everything you've been working on,'” she recalls telling herself, “'just be a regular person. Be down to earth, and don't be a baby.'" After fixing the fire alarm, she was tempted to share her triumph, saying, “I was about to text my sister...And I was like, ‘Don't send that text, you a**hole. Just keep it here. Not everything is for everybody all the time. You're not a performance."

Sean, not to be outdone, tells a story about a fire alarm going off in his house and going to incredible lengths to dismantle it. Later they realized it just needed a new battery. Chelsea accuses him of stealing her story, to which he replies, "[It was] a little longer than yours, but a little funnier."

Join Chelsea and Sean to get the hilarious details of the fire alarm stories, plus BaitBus memories and all the hot-dog-down-a-hallway references you could ask for, in this episode of Life Will Be The Death Of Me

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