The NY Times has a profile and interview with Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen has a standup show coming to Netflix on December 18 called Relatable. You can watch the trailer here, it looks cute and I laughed a few times. (Netflix is killing it with their original content. While I wonder how sustainable it is I do watch it constantly.) Ellen riffs on the fact that she’s considered too rich to understand how the rest of us live. She also tackles the rumors that she’s difficult to staff despite her sunny approachable persona. She gets into her dark period after being one of the first celebrities to come out as gay in the late 90s. Ellen is a trailblazer, she’s a workhorse and she’s been getting celebrities to open up for years. She’s not sure how much longer she can continue that. In the Times, Ellen reveals that her partner, Portia de Rossi, is trying to get her to leave the show after her contract ends in the middle of 2020. Her brother wants her to stay and she’s just not sure.
On rumors that she’s difficult: “it’s an outright lie”
DeGeneres said her wife also had a note about this interview. “Portia said: Just remember, the nicer they are, the more they are going to screw you,” DeGeneres said, smiling disarmingly.
Unsure how to respond, I replied awkwardly: “That’s good advice.” Then I started feeling self-conscious and several minutes later, asked my least-nice question, about the tabloid stories featuring anonymous complaints that she isn’t always kind to those she works with. “That bugs me if someone is saying that because it’s an outright lie,” she said. “The first day I said: ‘The one thing I want is everyone here to be happy and proud of where they work, and if not, don’t work here.’ No one is going to raise their voice or not be grateful. That’s the rule to this day.”
Ellen is trying to decide whether to stay past 2020
DeGeneres recently took the option to extend her contract — until the summer of 2020 — although she had been close to declining. On the question of leaving, she changes her mind all the time. Her brother has been an advocate for staying on, 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 said, glancing over at de Rossi to see if she’s gone too far.
“I just think she’s such a brilliant actress and stand-up that it doesn’t have to be this talk show for her creativity,” de Rossi said. “There are other things she could tackle.”
It sounds like Ellen isn’t ready to leave and like this is Portia’s idea because she wants more time with her. Ellen gives the impression that she wants to be challenged professionally but keep her day job. As for the rumors that she’s difficult, it’s telling that she’s saying people have to be grateful and happy at her workplace. That comes across like she doesn’t tolerate dissent or being questioned. As a control freak I get it, but some of the best work comes from people who take initiative and ask for change. Maybe if they do it nicely Ellen doesn’t mind though.
Photos credit: WENN, Backgrid and Netflix Press