Comedian Chelsea Handler Has (Almost) All the Answers

Recently discovered 17 donor siblings? Unsure when to tell your cousin about her secret sister?

No genetic testing conundrum is too big—or too complicated—for Chelsea Handler.

The comedian and TV personality brought her signature blend of caustic, straightforward humor to the latest episode of Spit, an iHeartMedia and 23andMe podcast.

Spit, which is hosted by Baratunde Thurston, explores how DNA gives us a new perspective on who we are and how we are all connected. The show looks at both the personal and the broader implications of genetic testing with a mix of analysis, camaraderie, and the intimacy that comes from people sharing their stories.

Over the course of 47 minutes, Chelsea answered listener questions and doled out expletive-laden advice. 

She reflected on her family history (she’s 50% Ashkenazi Jewish) and revealed some of the health insights she discovered after taking the 23andMe Health + Ancestry Service, including one of her Pharmacogenetic reports that predicted she was an ultrarapid drug metabolizer* and may process certain medications faster (a result she deemed “very on the nose”). 

When caller Katie wondered if she should spill the beans about a secret sister just a week before her cousin’s wedding, Chelsea dove into the notion of responsibility, and suggested that Katie’s dad should be the one to break the news. “I would encourage your dad to have that conversation and also let him know – if he doesn’t, you will,” she said. “I like threatening people,” she joked, “I think that’s a great approach.”


*23andMe PGS Pharmacogenetics reports: The 23andMe test uses qualitative genotyping to detect 3 variants in the CYP2C19 gene, 2 variants in the DPYD gene and 1 variant in the SLCO1B1 gene in the genomic DNA of adults from saliva for the purpose of reporting and interpreting information about the processing of certain therapeutics to inform discussions with a healthcare professional. It does not describe if a person will or will not respond to a particular therapeutic and does not describe the association between detected variants and any specific therapeutic. Our CYP2C19 Pharmacogenetics report provides certain information about variants associated with metabolism of some therapeutics and provides interpretive drug information regarding the potential effect of citalopram and clopidogrel therapy. Results for SLCO1B1 and DPYD and certain CYP2C19 results should be confirmed by an independent genetic test prescribed by your own healthcare provider before taking any medical action. Warning: Test information should not be used to start, stop, or change any course of treatment and does not test for all possible variants that may affect metabolism or protein function. The PGS test is not a substitute for visits to a healthcare professional. Making changes to your current regimen can lead to harmful side effects or reduced intended benefits of your medication, therefore consult with your healthcare professional before taking any medical action. For important information and limitations regarding Pharmacogenetics reports, visit 23andme.com/test-info/pharmacogenetics 

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