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Peretti was raised in Oakland, California, the daughter of an Italian American father and Jewish mother. Peretti attended The College Preparatory School in Oakland. She moved to New York in 1996 to attend Barnard College and graduated in 2000. She attended elementary school with her Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-star Andy Samberg, and junior high school with comedian Moshe Kasher.
Peretti has written for The Village Voice, Details, Playgirl, Jest, American Theatre Magazine, as well as online publications like The Huffington Post. While in New York she made short films with Variety SHAC, a comedy troupe she formed in 2004 along with Andrea Rosen, Heather Lawless, and Shonali Bhowmik.
After moving to Los Angeles, Peretti made appearances on programs such as Louie, The Sarah Silverman Program, TruTV Presents: World's Dumbest..., and Tosh.0. She appeared as a guest correspondent on one episode of Lopez Tonight interviewing local citizens about Prop 8.
She has made several guest appearances on podcasts including Doug Loves Movies, How Did This Get Made?, You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes, The Todd Glass Show, The Lavender Hour, The Bone Zone with Brendon Walsh and Randy Liedtke, and Comedy Bang Bang. In October 2012, Peretti launched her own call-in podcast, Call Chelsea Peretti.