Inside Chelsea Handler's Relationship With Chuy Bravo

If you were a fan of Chelsea Handler's E! late night series, "Chelsea Lately," chances are you remember Chuy Bravo. Bravo was best known as Handler's sidekick throughout the series' seven-year run from 2007 to 2014 (per IMDb).

Bravo had a rich life and love for comedy that led him to become Handler's right-hand man. He was born Jesus Melgoza in Tangancicuaro, Michoacán, Mexico (per Variety). He immigrated to California as a teenager, residing in the San Fernando Valley. It wasn't until his 30s that Bravo got his start in the entertainment industry. Before linking up with Handler, he had roles in films such as 2005's "The Honeymooners" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."

The two would come to meet when a mutual friend alerted Bravo that Handler was looking for a sidekick to join her on her late-night talk show. "I was working on a project back in the day and the director told me about the casting for Chelsea's show," Bravo recalled in an interview with Latina. "He said she was looking for a little person, and well, I thought, 'Why not?' He introduced us and we hit it off right away."

Chuy said life prepared him for his experiences on Chelsea Lately

Handler's show was not your average late-night affair, but Bravo said that life primed him for the wild antics that the show had in store. "I'm a person with very good and bad experiences. Both prepared me for this show," Bravo noted in a 2012 interview with Hoopla Now. "The relationship that I have with Chelsea, and have had for a long time, creates great chemistry for the show."

Bravo used his fame from the show to give back where he could. "I like to support a lot of charity events that I get invited to. I am well aware what the show has done for me, and I am a big fan of paying it forward. I'm a sucker for anything that involves kids and I also support people and organizations that work with addiction and recovery," he said, noting his 15 years of sobriety at that time. "I get invited to events because of who I am and that gives me the opportunity to support these causes."

Chuy learned a lot about hard work and giving back from Chelsea

Chuy Bravo enjoyed his friendship with Chelsea Handler, but he also learned from it. In a December 2012 interview with Latina, he shared that Handler taught him "to work really hard, not have an ego, and give back to your community." 

Bravo also revealed that Handler's generosity had a big impact on him. "She has also taught me to be humble," he said. "When I first started on her show, I drove a used and beat-up car. Once she saw me in the parking lot driving that thing she said, 'Oh no Chuy. You can't be driving around in this.' She took me to the dealer and bought me a new car. She didn't have to do that and it inspired me to also give back."

Bravo gave back through The Little Nugget Foundation. Christened with his nickname from Handler, the organization aimed to help alcoholics find a path to recover in Bravo's hometown in Mexico.

Chuy and Chelsea stayed close after the show ended

Chelsea Handler and Chuy Bravo continued their friendship after "Chelsea Lately" went off the air in 2014. Handler posted a tribute to him on his birthday in December 2019. "Happy Birthday to my OG Nugget @chuybravo. I love this picture because — not only does it look like Chuy just launched out of my peekachu, I look like a member of ZZ Top," she wrote in an Instagram caption.

Sadly, just days later, Bravo died at the age of 63 (per Variety). The funnyman was hospitalized in Mexico City for stomach pains that turned out to be a gastrointestinal hemorrhage that led to heart attack, which caused his death (via CNN).

Handler honored him almost immediately. "I loved this nugget in a big way, and I took great pleasure in how many people loved him as much as I did and do. @chuybravo gave us so much laughter and I'll never forget the sound of his laughter coming from his office into mine," she wrote

"I'll never forget him coming to Christmas with my family one year in the Florida keys, and when my niece who was 5 or 6 at the time — saw him, she ran in the other direction saying she was scared. My sister and I were mortified and were apologizing to Chuy, who told us, 'It's OK, lots of little kids get scared when they see big kids coming their way.' I love you, Chuy!"