It pains me to type these words out, but it seems lesbian legend and comedian extraordinaire Ellen DeGeneres, affectionately known on a first-name basis to all of America, is considering leaving her beloved daytime talk show.
At least, that’s what she intimated to The New York Times in an interview that came out yesterday. But the celebrity, who featured on Forbes‘ “Richest Self-Made Women List” for her impressive $275 million net worth, also told supermodel Gisele Bundchen she was not ready to retire, in an episode that aired yesterday as well.
As an indecisive Gemini, I personally stan for Ellen’s clumsiness, but the more diligent fans of her afternoon program want to know exactly which one it is. Is she staying or is she leaving? Here’s what we know so far.
Is Ellen ending her talk show?
People thought she’d dance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show forever, but — much to the disappointment of fans who adore her moves — she stopped that practice two years ago. What I mean by this is, anything is possible.
The New York Times reported that Ellen “is considering a much bigger change, retiring from the long-running hit show that bears her name,” citing her hit game show Ellen’s Game of Games and upcoming Netflix special Relatable as opportunities that might make take her away from daytime TV.
And it seems the Aquarius (as an air sign, I feel you) is torn by the opinions of her trusted brother and her much adored other half, Portia de Rossi. Portia told the Times that her wife is “such a brilliant actress and stand-up” that she doesn’t need “this talk show for her creativity.” Meanwhile, her brother thinks she owes it to America to stay on TV, at least in this climate, “making the case that, in the age of Trump, the country needs her positive, unifying voice on television every day.”
Luckily for us, it sounds like she’s listening to her brother on this one. At least she is for the next two years: She recently took the option to extend her contract through the summer of 2020, the piece reported. Phew!
Ellen herself calls her afternoon program “escapism for what’s going on, one hour of feeling good,” and went on to say that “at the core, it’s a comedy show. But if it’s not funny, at least it feels good.”
I, for one, am ecstatic that, if we have to keep reading depressing headlines day after day, at least we can take comfort in Dory from Finding Nemo‘s voice playing in the background.
How long has Ellen had her talk show?
Name a more iconic female talk show host, I’ll wait. OK, yeah, Oprah, but Ellen is clearly the heir to her throne.
After 1998’s culture-breaking moment that was Ellen coming out on national television, most of America was supportive of the actress’ candor and bravery. But the haters, including her network ABC, which canceled Ellen soon thereafter, were definitely salty about her move.
The public opinion left her dejected, and she didn’t make her comeback to TV until 2003, when she started The Ellen Show. Which means she’s been doing the talk show for 16 years now, and at least two more seasons are still to come. The only person who’s been on the air for longer than Ellen is the buffoon we’ve come to know as Conan O’Brien.
“No other current daily host has been as successful or celebrated,” writes the New York Times of her many accolades, which include 32 Emmys and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, no big deal.
Oh, and those short game bits you see on late-night talk shows (*cough* Jimmy Fallon) all owe their inspiration to Ellen, who’s been playing them regularly with guests on her show.
Don’t miss Relatable on Netflix, December 18th.
I’m glad Ellen isn’t leaving TV anytime soon, but I’m even more glad she’s coming back to stand-up. When iPods first came out, I remember illegally downloading all of her specials and listening to them over and over on my commute to and from school.
But “Relatable,” her first first return to stand-up after 15 years, isn’t going to be anything like her old comedic routines. For one, she opens with a CURSE, after a lifetime of G-rated routines. As the Times puts it, “for a famously nice talk show host, this is risky stuff.”
The Netflix special will cover her current-day “relatability,” since her ultra-personable humor is what propelled her to comedy fame when she got her start back in the ’80s. The teaser trailer opens with Ellen relaying a recent conversation with a friend who asked her if she still thought she was relatable. “Just then, Batu, my butler stepped into the library,” she deadpans.
The actress who once got laughs for dragging inedible airplane food in coach is now much more accustomed to the lavish, more refined things in life. “You’re walking down the aisle to your seat, 10B,” she says, beginning a joke on emotional support animals. “I say, ’10B, does a plane go back that far? I’ve never been back there.'”
I’m excited to see another side of Ellen in this upcoming Netflix show. “Ellen’s a real person,” says longtime friend and co-director of Relatable, Tig Notaro. “I’m sure there’s people who think she’s kidding. Or can’t have a bad day. But she does. It’s an interesting pickle she’s in.”
Don’t miss relatable on Netflix, December 18, or The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which airs weekdays at varying times depending on your local affiliate’s schedule.
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