There’s one key difference between Daytime Ellen and Stand-Up Ellen.
“Ellen on the show gives stuff away, and Ellen on stage doesn’t,” deadpans DeGeneres, 60, who returns to her comedy roots with Netflix’s “Relatable” (streaming Tuesday), her first stand-up special since 2003’s “Here and Now.”
Most of the material in her hour-long set would be equally at home on her syndicated daytime talk show: observational humor about vacation expectations vs. reality, prescription-drug ads and exchanging funny pet videos with her wife, actress Portia de Rossi. There’s even an extended bit in which she ardently twerks to Juvenile’s “Back That Thang Up,” although she nixed her now-famous dancing on TV.
But there are also refreshing moments of candor. DeGeneres emotionally details how the death of a former girlfriend led to her first stand-up material, and her years-long battle with depression after she came out as gay and ABC canceled her sitcom, “Ellen,” in 1998. She drops a rare F-bomb, too, while jokingly bemoaning the holes in her favorite socks, earning deafening cheers from the crowd.
Ellen DeGeneres: No, not at all. I didn’t even think about it, and my agent said, “What would you think of doing stand-up again?” And I was like, “I don’t know. I have no idea what I’d talk about.” It was sort of like, why would I decide all of a sudden to host the Oscars? It’s something (different to try) if I feel like I’m getting complacent and not creative enough. The show is great, but it’s a well-oiled machine, and we pretty much have it down. I just wanted to challenge myself.