For her first stand-up special in 15 years, Ellen reminds us all what we’re missing by having her host TV’s most popular talk show, rather than doing what she was truly born to do. In fact, in interviews to promote this special, Ellen has been very candid about her wife, Portia De Rossi, encouraging her to quit her show and go back to stand-up. Let’s hope this is the warm-up.
Now, to be clear; this is not a fall down, stomach hurting, guffaw-fest. This is hardly modern day Joe Rogan or Bill Burr funny that leaves your face hurting. But it is enjoyable, and it is worth an hour of your time. Ellen begins by embracing the irony of the title of her special by clearly acknowledging how out-of-touch many aspects of her life are; only to quickly and comedically remind us that no matter how much money you have or how big your house is, you face the same comedic and serious, quandaries, struggles, and challenges every day. She ends the show on a poignant note, rather than a funny one, by bringing it all back to all of us essentially being the same, while each of us being on our own path.
In classic Ellen fashion, she compares being gay to having dandruff or dry-eye, pokes fun at a few common expressions, and drops a total of one “F” bomb; perfectly times at the most random moment. Of all the times she could have chosen to curse, the moment she chose was so seemingly over-the-top and unnecessary that it was hysterical. She also did a nice job of ripping off my routine about all Prius drivers sucking, but I’ll let that go. It’s not like she backed up her empty dump truck A la Amy Schumer and stole all of her material, after all.
Refreshingly, there are no political jokes or references at all, save for one vague, non-partisan jab at how scary the news of the day is, which could be taken any way, if you notice it even at all. She talks a lot about coming out and being gay, but not in a way that is overbearing to the special, unless you’re a homophobe to begin with (In which case, I assume you’ll be avoiding this special for other reasons).
There’s some great physical comedy, a very little bit of help from the video screen, and a few moments where you can tell she’s literally just trying stuff out and saying to herself “eh, I haven’t done this for 15 years…not all of it is going to be great.” This certainly as real as I’ve ever seen her, and most importantly, it left me wanting more. Get back to writing and touring, and give us more Ellen!