Last week, I hit the road with Civilized and Chelsea Handler to cover her new tour - 'A Civilized Conversation with Chelsea Handler,' where the outspoken talk show host riffed on Donald Trump, weighed in on the #MeToo movement, dished on her cannabis use and mocked guys who jerk off into plants. 

Here are the highlights from the Western Canada instalment of 'A Civilized Conversation with Chelsea Handler.'

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Calgary, September 20

Calgary enjoys 333 days of sunshine every year, but last Thursday wasn't one of them. Cowtown was uncharacteristically rainy for the tour's first stop, but that didn't put a damper on the crowds at Mount Royal University's Bella Concert Hall.

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Fans fill the top balcony of the Bella Concert Hall.

The top fan of the evening was Andrew from Saskatoon, who drove 8 hours with his teacup poodle puppy Beatrice just to meet his idol and share some Chelsea trivia during a pre-show event where VIPs offered suggestions for cannabis strains named after Handler. "Kaslopis," Andrew suggested. "You'd have to be a fan to understand. Ask Chelsea."

No need, Andrew, Urban Dictionary has us covered.

'Alcohol and outrage don't go well together'

Onstage, Handler opened up about how Trump inadvertently helped her rediscover cannabis. "After Trump won the election, I went into work the next day, hysterical," she told the crowd. "But I realized that hysteria doesn't win a debate. It's about calmness, digesting information and having a real conversation that builds inroads with people. I wanted to harness my outrage, which is how cannabis was reintroduced to my life. I'm a drinker, I love drinking. But alcohol and outrage don't go well together: it's not a good look."

To have those conversations with Trump supporters, Chelsea had to practice something she's always hated: patience. 

"Growing up, my mother was really patient, and I couldn't stand her," she said. "I'm like, 'Fucking pick up the pace, girl, let's go.' Having the patience to have conversations with people was hard for me. But I think it's important to understand where people are coming from because there is a logic with everyone. It might not be great, but they're coming at things from their background and their nature. And it's worthwhile to understand them."

Now she credits cannabis with helping her master that difficult virtue.

"Cannabis makes me want to learn about people and understand them," she explained. "I'm very judgmental. When I don't understand something, I say, 'That's stupid.' And what you should say is, 'What is that?' and try to understand it. Then you can decide if it's stupid."

And it's helped her deal with the annoyances of daily life.

"There something about cannabis that makes everything a bit more tolerable," she explained. "It makes people less annoying, whereas alcohol just heightens the situation. Sometimes, if I have a really annoying person coming in to meet me, I go in my purse and pop an edible just to get through it."

And she thinks everyone should give it a shot for the same reason.

"You need to try cannabis to take the edge off. If you have four kids that you can't stand any day of the week, try cannabis. Or if you want to have a giggle with the girls but don't want the calories that come with drinking, try cannabis. It can help you sleep, help you calm down, help you cope. I travel all the time, so I need to get up in different timezones. Sleeping is my Achilles heel. I was trying to find an alternative to Xanax when I started taking edibles. Now I take less Xanax."

Trying cannabis isn't easy for women, though, because they are frightened of losing control and being taken advantage of, according to Handler.

"Women like to be in control of situations because they often feel out of control and in danger of being taken advantage of when high," Chelsea said, adding that age-old stigmas are also holding women back. "Women should exercise their right to enjoy their lives. You don't have to be an alcoholic to enjoy a glass of wine, and you don't have to be a stoner to enjoy some pot."

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'I'm not just gonna slap my name on a cannabis strain and make some money off it'

But Handler's not so keen on big businesses dabbling with cannabis. When a fan asked her to weigh in on the recent rumor that Coca Cola wants to enter the cannabis space, Chelsea used the soda giant to skewer the hypocrisy of the American justice system. 

"I feel like people should not talk about putting cannabis into Coca Cola until everyone who's in jail for marijuana is released."

That doesn't necessarily mean she's against big names entering the industry. In fact, Handler's contemplating potential investments in the cannabis sector. But she doesn't just want to market her name in a new space.

"I need to find a real company with real standards and a legitimate product. I want to understand the company and the product. I'm not gonna just slap my name on a cannabis strain and make some money off it. I don't want to be one of those celebrities who put their name on perfume and promote it on Instagram - unless it's called 'Regret.'"

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Chelsea Handler with Civilized Publisher Derek Riedle.

'I want to be euthanized'

Cannabis wasn't the only controversial topic discussed during the Calgary show. Chelsea spurred controversy with frank comments about women's rights and life after death.

"I hope we don't come back because I'm already so fucking exhausted with life," Handler told a fan who asked for her take on what happens when we die. A question that became a launching point for her thoughts on end-of-life care. "I want to fight for that so people can die peacefully and not in pain. We can't euthanize people in America. Why not? I want to be euthanized. We'll do it one night after a big party for a week. Nobody will tell me what's happening. We'll have a big party, then someone will come in at night when I'm sleeping and that will be it."

Handler also weighed on the #MeToo era, which she wholeheartedly supports even though watching it unfold has been excruciating for everyone involved.

"There are some days when I want #MeToo to be over so we can start to repair the damage. But we need to hear these stories because women have been ignored too long. I think it's a movement that is completely necessary and completely a referendum on Donald Trump becoming president. So when guys say, 'When are we going to be done with this?' I say, 'When you stop asking that question.'"

Those sorts of issues will feature prominently in Handler's upcoming book, in which she criticizes American culture by taking an unflinching look at her own privilege. 

"It was the first experience I've had with writing where I felt like I was actually doing something important instead of writing about one-night stands. Or going on safaris...and sleeping with all those guys too. I'm very happy that I can do something that's more intimate and real."

But don't expect her to drastically change her ways like other nonfiction authors who have paused to reassess their lives in the middle of successful careers. "I'm not going to get sober or anything, so nobody worry about that. When I'm into a book and the author is like, 'Now I'm sober.' I'm like, 'Fuck that!' If you have an issue, get it under control so you don't have to give up on drinking or drugs or fun."

Of course, she's already been accused of being no fun on Twitter by fans who feel she lost her way as a comedian after the 2016 election. "People on Twitter keep saying, 'You used to be funny. Why aren't you funny anymore?' I'll be funny again when he's not the president. It's not funny right now," she said, adding that she hopes progressive voters will have the last laugh in 2020.

"The overcorrection of what Obama did was Trump, so the overcorrection to him will be black, a woman and maybe handicapped." 

Vancouver, Sept 21

The rain followed us into Vancouver, delaying the start of the second show as late fans arrived in droves because cabs are about as scarce as unicorns when it rains in Van City. But Handler took the bad weather and late start in stride, saying it was just a relief to be up North again.

"I like any excuse to be out of our country at this moment," she quipped to start the evening at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts.

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But her sentiments for America could change following the midterm elections if the next Congress actually reflects the country's current complexion.

"We need to elect people in Congress that look like what the country actually looks like. Not 75-year-old guys. They don't need to decide a woman's right to choose, and transgender rights and whether weed should be legal. I think if you're a white male over 75, it's a wrap for you. You might as well transition or come out of the closet. Everybody's getting younger, browner and gayer. So fucking hop on board."

And if that message gets across to voters, then Handler might wind up back in her regular job by next year.

"I don't want to do activism forever," she told the crowd. "This is an emergency situation for our country. The 2016 election was really shocking and embarrassing. I can afford to take a year off to make a difference. I've learned a lot in the past year. I don't ever want to ever fucking know this much about the government again."

'You could make guns out of cannabis and they would be happy with that'

Chelsea's foray into politics might not last, but cannabis legalization will, in her opinion. Handler doesn't think prohibitionists like Attorney General Jeff Sessions have a chance of reimposing prohibition in states like California.

"It's not going away," Handler stressed. "As soon as people with money invest in cannabis, it's not going to go away. You could make guns out of cannabis and they would be happy with that. This whole cannabis movement is a total culture change."

A big part of embracing that change is recognizing what prohibition was really about. It had nothing to do with protecting kids or public safety, according to Handler. "Cannabis prohibition was just about controlling people and putting people of color in jail."

Handler also opened up about her own cannabis preferences. "It's great for you if you get a hangover," she noted. "I don't get those because I'm an advanced drinker. I started using edibles to sleep when Trump got elected because I didn't want to keep taking sleeping pills. The pharma industry is our enemy, so I didn't want to keep giving them money."

And like the night before, she praised cannabis as a the little plant that can help the whole world get along better. 

"Everything is more tolerable on cannabis. People are so much less annoying when you have a little buzz—according to my research. I definitely went a little off the deep end trying to find out if you can OD on cannabis. You should see my house. There are edibles everywhere you go. I have to lock all the cupboards when kids in my family visit. But you don't need to go that far. You just need to find your groove. You can just take a hit of a joint and make your day easier. It sands the edges down. My favorite feeling is taking an edible and forgetting I took it. Then I watch the news and I'm like, 'Wow, this is some funny shit.'"

She also voiced support for letting our furry friends have their own stash. When a fan asked about medicating dogs and cats, Handler jumped onboard.

"I want my animals to use whatever I'm using. My dog Chunk was very sensitive to cannabis until he became the user instead of the judger. Some dogs react well to it and some don't - it's just like with people. Not everyone needs to use cannabis, but if it can help you, why not? I've turned a lot of my girlfriends on to edibles. I'm very proud of the work that I've done. But obviously dogs don't need a THC high. Or maybe they do. And if they do, give them mushrooms too."

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'I'm not going to jerk off into a plant' 

But she doesn't think anything goes when it comes to plants. When revisiting the #MeToo discussion, Handler called out Harvey Weinstein's horrendous treatment of women as well as vegetation

"There's a certain level of entitlement that a woman will never know. Like, I'm not going to jerk off into a plant. I wouldn't even think that's an option at work. Like, 'Do I want to rape someone or fuck this plant in front of somebody?' If you fucked a plant, you need to go away for a while. You go away with your plant for a really long time."

If you're not a fan of that joke, don't go asking Chelsea for an apology. She made it very clear that 'sorry' isn't part of her usual vocabulary.

"If you do something, you should stand by it. I think if Kathy Griffin had stood by it [the photo of herself holding a mockup of Trump's decapitated head], she wouldn't have been so vilified in the first place. You just don't apologize. You're talking about a man who put babies in cages. You can cut his head off in a funny manner. He deserves that. He's disgusting."

But that's not how she feels toward men in general, despite what some critics say. Handler made it very clear that men need to be a part of the solution that #MeToo is trying to achieve.

"We're not trying to get rid of men," Handler stressed. "Feminism is about being equal. And any real man wants to be equal. We need you...sometimes."

But to achieve true equality, white men and women need to recognize their privilege.

"I used to think privilege related just to a certain family - like the Vanderbilts. But it's not. It's about being white. If you get pulled over as a black person, it's a different story than for a white person. I've never taken a ticket and not argued. When I was 16, 17, 18 in New Jersey, I was like, 'Do you know who my father is?' Apparently I didn't know who my father was. He was a used car salesman. How is he going to get me out of a ticket?"

Handler felt very privileged during the evening's Q&A session as not one but two fans proposed marriage. "Perfect," Handler said when the first clarified that he is gay. "Do we have to prove that we're penetrating for me to get Canadian citizenship?"

No, he said, but the marriage might be questioned because some influential comedians know about his sexuality. "Well, I don't want to marry a red flag," Chelsea quipped. "I'm already a red flag."

Her refusal encouraged another gay fan to throw his ring finger into the mix. "Oh my God, I’m being fought over by two gay men!" Chelsea rejoiced as the two suitors argued. "My dreams are coming true!"

And the third show in Winnipeg nearly ended with wedding bells as well. Check back later this week for more coverage of 'A Civilized Conversation with Chelsea Handler.' And for tickets to the Eastern Canada leg of the tour, click here.