TV talk show host CHELSEA HANDLER has credited her arrest for drink-driving back in the 1990s with giving her the motivation to pursue a career in comedy. The 39 year old has made a name for herself as a stand-up comedienne, actress and host of her own chat series, Chelsea Lately, but she believes none of her success would have been possible were it not for an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) in Los Angeles in 1996.
She tells CNN, "I just turned 21 and I was still using my older sister's identification that my mother had given me so I would be able to drink legally. I got pulled over and I was very abstinent, not getting along with the police officers in typical DUI fashion and I think I called the officer racist - we were both white. "I had to go to Sybil Brand Jail, which is the women's jail of L.A. County. You have to go to classes. It was horrifying and humiliating, because you just feel like such an idiot for doing something so stupid." Handler continues, "Every week someone had to get up and tell their story, but I kept bowing out because I was terrified of public speaking... Finally the very last class they chose me and I told my story. Everybody was laughing and then I couldn't get off the stage. "The teacher for that DUI class said, 'Listen, this isn't a stand-up comedy club, it's supposed to be encouraging humiliation not to get a drive off it.' After that, people came up to me saying, 'I think you're really funny', and then I decided to do stand-up comedy. "It was good. It helped my career go in the right direction and luckily I didn't injure anybody on my way. I'm a responsible drinker now."