Celeb-skewering feeds late-night talker's appetite

She's a guy trapped in a woman's body looking for the next plate of fried appetizers.

Comedian Chelsea Handler says she experiences those occasionally raunchy moments that make her think of herself as more guy than gal, but she hasn't totally neglected her womanly side.

Her female flag was flying high during a phone interview from her closet, where she contemplated what clothes made her look fat as she selected her outfit for the day.

Handler, 33, is also a testament to how cable TV has successfully claimed its place as a primo spot for joyously eviscerating celebrities.

“Chelsea Lately” (11:30 p.m. weeknights/E! Entertainment), Handler's can-we-talk nightly gabfest, treats the foibles of the rich and stupid like so many wobbly pins in a bowling lane.

But Handler's skill set is not limited to skewering celebs: She's a seasoned comedian and she's the author of “Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea” (Simon & Schuster, $24.95), her new collection of sharp essays that find the irreverent fun in family, relationships and career.

While lingering in her closet, Handler spoke about her most reliable clothing choice, how she maintains a figure that won't irk the camera and how fried calamari is her kryptonite.

Q: What's your go-to article of clothing when you don't know what to wear?

A: Lacoste T-shirt dress. They're comfy, cozy and they're cute and casual. And they sent me about 50 of them, so I have quite a collection. That's why I started mentioning them.

Q: Since you're talking preppy apparel, did you grow up a prepster?

A: Well, my parents had a summer house in Martha's Vineyard, so that's as preppy as they got for me. But I really wouldn't call me preppy. I'm from New Jersey, so I don't know how preppy you can get when you're from New Jersey, being a Jew.

Q: Do you have a go-to comfort food?

A: Well, I love food. And if you could see my stomach right now, you'd know I love it. French fries. Or fried calamari — that's really my favorite.

Q: What did you have last night?

A: Fried calamari. You go and have sushi with great intentions, and then, you know, it goes downhill from there. You're like, “I'm going to have just fish. I'm not going to have rice.” And then, of course, you see fried calamari and say, “I'll order it, but I'll just have one or two.” And then, of course, the whole plate is gone and everyone at the table is staring at you.

Q: What do you wear when you're feeling fat?

A: That's a really funny question because I'm in my closet right now trying to pick out something that doesn't make me look like a steaming piece of hog meat. I usually just wear a little sweater. I have all these long, comfy, cozy sweaters. They're kind of like cardigans. They go down to your knees, and I have no idea who makes them because my stylist just picks them up from different places and takes off the tags because they annoy me. So I just always cover up.

But the baggier the clothes you wear, the bigger you feel and the fatter you look. So it's actually better to wear something tighter when you're feeling a little chunky.

Q: What are your candidates for today's outfit?

A: I'm going to put on a pair of my James Jeans, skinny jeans. Then I'm going to put on a tank top and one of my little Marc Jacobs casual jackets.

Q: You pay special attention to celebrities on “Chelsea Lately.” What bit of wisdom have you gleaned from intensely scrutinizing their actions?

A: What not to do. I think it's a good lesson. If we're all going to be so obsessed with celebrity culture, at least we should learn something from them. And now I know that I can't go out without underwear and get out of a car at the same time.

Q: Who's the next celebrity train wreck in the making?

A: I think maybe Miley Cyrus probably is a recipe for disaster. Well, she's really confident, which is good. That's a lot better than just being stupid, but when I heard her on Barbara Walters, she talked about having her own wing (in her parents' house). All of her brothers and sisters have a room, but she has a wing. Listen, I don't care if the girl is supporting the entire family and making money for everybody — once you have your own wing at 15 years old, I think it's a very slippery slope from there. I mean, would she tell her dad, “Listen, I've had enough of you, would you go to your room?”

Q: What do you do to get in shape for the summer?

A: I work out, but not as consciously as I should. As soon as you need to lean out, it's just protein, protein, protein, because if you do that for three or four days and throw in a little run here or there a couple of times a week, and you leave food (on your plate), you'll see a difference in a week.

Q: Yeah, but you're skinny. You weigh 125 pounds or something.

A: Well, this morning I weighed 128, but thank you.

Q: You know how many of our readers would slap you for saying that?

A: Well, you know what? They're not on TV. If I wasn't on TV, I'd weigh 150 pounds. I have no problem being a fat-ass. When you're on TV, you have a responsibility, especially when you're going to be making fun of other people. You have to look as good as you can. But I don't think I'm fat; I just think there are certain areas I need to tone up. Cellulite is no good for the summertime.

Q: You OK with being described in Vanity Fair as the comedian whose look is Beverly Hills bimbo, with a Borscht Belt mouth?

A: But nobody ever says anything about you that you want them to, so you get used to it after a couple of years.