Chuy Bravo (born Jesus Melgoza) may be known as Chelsea Handler’s “little nugget” on the cable talk show Chelsea Lately, but as the first Latino sidekick on a late-night television show he’s also proven that he’s a big deal in the business. We chatted with the television personality about surviving cancer, his ultimate Latina celebrity crush, and what inspired him to launch The Little Nugget Foundation in his hometown of Tangancicuaro, Michoacan Mexico.
Read our exclusive interview below!
How exactly did you land your gig as Chelsea Handler’s sidekick?
I was working on a project back in the day and the director told me about the casting for Chelsea’s show. 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. That was about seven years ago and we have been working together ever since.
Do you ever get offended that she calls you her nugget?
Not at all! I love Chelsea. She has opened a lot of doors for me.
It seems like you two have great chemistry. What lessons has she taught you about the business?
To work really hard, not have an ego, and give back to your community. She has also taught me to be humble. 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.
You encounter so many celebrities on the show. Which Latina star are you crushing on?
Salma Hayek is beautiful, but my favorite is Gloria Estefan. They are all beautiful, but Gloria just has something about her. She has really great energy and a special light about her. She’s my first pick for sure.
What are some facts fans may not know about you?
I bet people don’t know that I’m a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was treated right away. Thank God I’m alive and well to this date. I’m also a recovering alcoholic and I was almost homeless at one point. I have been through a lot in my life, but I’ve overcome my struggles and now I’m finally living my life.
What do you think led to your alcoholism?
I was young and trying to follow a crowd. At the time, it was what my friends were doing so I was just trying to keep up. It ended up catching up with me in the long run.
You launched The Little Nugget Foundation to help alcoholics find recovery in your hometown in Mexico. How does it feel to give back in that way?
Amazing. I know all of the problems they are going through because I lived through them. The government and the drug lords don’t help the situation either. Places like these need our help. I visit the foundation often and bring them food, clothes – whatever they need. I try to help in anyway that I can.
Chelsea Lately airs every weeknight at 11pm on the "E!" network.