Chelsea Handler's show writers, Chris Franjola, Brad Wollack, spill on workplace abuse

chelsea-lately-breakroom.jpgAnyone who watches "Chelsea Lately" knows a few things about it's host:

1. She hates redheads
2. She often berates her staff on the air
3. She's absolutely f-in' hysterical

Also hysterical, are the writers who help make her show a success. Now with E!'s new Sunday night show, "After Lately," we get to see even more of the crew behind Chelsea Handler.

Zap2it caught up with Chris Franjola and Brad Wollack, who often appear on the "Chelsea Lately" round-table and will play prominent roles in the new "After Lately." We asked them about their first interactions with the funny lady and what it's really like to work in that office.

While Franjola and Handler are old friends, meeting at a Mexican bar in Studio City nearly 15 years ago, Wollack's first interaction with the comedienne was not so pleasant.

"I was hired as a writer on her first show, as was Chris, 'The Chelsea Handler Show,'" Wollack explains. "And I don't remember this, but Chelsea has a pretty good memory so maybe she's right. Apparently one of the first things I said to her was 'I don't even know who you are.'"

There seems to be a general consensus that Wollack endures the most abuse from Handler, but if her recollection of that day is true, he's okay with it.

"I don't remember saying that," he continues. "But if I did, then I guess she has good reason to be mean to me."

Another reason Wollack faces frequent criticism from the hostess is his hair color. Being a fiery red-head isn't easy around Handler, who makes her distaste for gingers known both on-air and in her best selling books.

"She only has an issue with red-headed men," Wollack says of his misfortune. "She thinks that red-headed females can be attractive. I am ugly, though."

Adding that, "Some people do say that the reason she's so mean to me is because she's in love with me."

Based on Handler's Belvedere Vodka endorsement deal (and the photo above) we'd think there would be plenty of boozing around the office, but according to Franjola, they try to keep it to a minimum.

"We'll do Margarita Thursdays," he admits. "But we try not to drink before the show. Sometimes we'll drink after, but nothing too crazy."

There is one day, however that the two fondly remember finding a nice surprise in the office.

"One time we had to give out bottles of Belvedere to the audience, I can't remember why, but we ended up finding like 200 bottles in the office later," the two recall.

One of our favorite recurring segments from "Chelsea Lately" are the employee reviews, in which Handler deadpans on all sorts of mistakes that she believes her team is making. While many of them are irrelevant personal issues, Franjola tells us that sometimes the skits hit close to home.

"The [employee reviews] on the show started as a joke," he explains.

"Then they became real. We'd be taping and the thing she would bring up would end up being something real," he laughs. Adding, "If you don't already know your faults, you'll figure them out real quick working in this office." 

Be sure to read our review of "After Lately" over on From Inside the Box. You can see plenty of Franjola and Wollack in the premiere episode when it debuts on Sunday (Mar. 6).  
Photo/Video credit: E!
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