Last week, Ellen DeGeneres made waves on social media when a New York Times profile hinted that she was considering leaving her daytime talk show. The comedian, whose new Netflix special Relatable debuts on Tuesday, recently extended her contract to 2020. However, as the 60-year-old entertainer notes in the interview, she almost didn’t because of her brother, who has been “making the case that in the age of Trump, the country needs her positive, unifying voice on television every day.”
“She gets mad when my brother tells me I can’t stop,” DeGeneres says of her wife, the actress Portia de Rossie. In response, the latter says that Ellen is “such a brilliant actress and stand-up that it doesn’t have to be this talk show for her creativity” since “there are other things she could tackle.” In other words, why should the comic, who hasn’t released a comedy special in 15 years, relegate herself to daytime television only?
No, Ellen DeGeneres isn’t leaving her talk show to become more Relatable
The profile notwithstanding, DeGeneres opens up about her concerns with continuing the talk show in Relatable. In fact, it serves as the crux for the special’s title, which comes from a friend who asked the comic if she would even do stand-up anymore if she couldn’t be as relatable to audiences as she was before the talk show? After all, the long-running program has afforded her a great deal of fame, and much of it was her own doing.
“A few years ago I started ending my show by saying ‘be kind to one another,’” she says toward the beginning of the special. “It’s a wonderful thing, it is, but here’s the downside. I can never do anything unkind ever now. Ever. I’m the ‘be kind’ girl. And I’m kind. I’m a good person. I know I am, but I’m a human being and I have bad days. I’m in traffic like you. I drive. But I can’t do the things you do because I’m the ‘be kind’ girl.”
Of course, like most comedians, DeGeneres is simply drawing from her own life experiences in order to set up a series of jokes for her audience’s amusement. She does this here, in this moment, while talking about being labeled for her “be kind” statement, and she does it at the very beginning when she jokes about whether or not she’s still relatable.
Yet that doesn’t negate the truth behind these claims, funny and otherwise. For as her New York Times profile revealed, DeGeneres almost turned down the chance to extend her contract to 2020. That is to say, her daytime talk show almost came to an end before the profile, Relatable or anything relating to it was ever made public.
When viewers tune in this afternoon to check out the latest episode of Ellen, however, DeGeneres, her producer Andy Lassner and the screaming audiences members will still be there. Positive social media stories will still be highlighted, checks and gifts will still be distributed and celebrity guests will still be scared. The talk show is here to stay, for now, and the new comedy special is here to give DeGeneres another outlet. As for how long this arrangement can last… who knows?
Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable release date
Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable streams Tuesday, Dec. 18, on Netflix.