I would not have guessed that nachos take up more time in the mind of Ellen DeGeneres than dancing, or even Oprah, but I guess my telepathic powers do not apply to Ellen.
There she was last night on Late Show with David Letterman, delivering a special edition of the Top Ten list with things that have been on her mind recently. DeGeneres also, according to a trade publication, made a "surprise" visit to Broadway. Which, considering the Late Show is literally on Broadway, is hardly a surprise. Anyhow. Roll it.
I know people are split on the very notion of America's favorite lesbian also being America's favorite dancer, and we all know there can be only one Dancing Boy, so what are we to make of Ellen DeGeneres showing up to dance on the season finale of So You Think You Can Dance? Well, she had to learn choreography. And as they show a clip of the guy she replaced in the routine, you can tell that they slowed it up a bit for her. Otherwise, you'll have to judge for yourselves. Roll it.
A lot of people thought Ellen DeGeneres seemed uncomfortable as a judge last season on FOX's American Idol, including DeGeneres, who just put out a statement late today that she would not return to the series.
A couple months ago, I let FOX and the "American Idol" producers know that this didn't feel like the right fit for me. I told them I wouldn't leave them in a bind and that I would hold off on doing anything until they were able to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next. It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for. I also realized this season that while I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings. I loved the experience working on "Idol" and I am very grateful for the year I had. I am a huge fan of the show and will continue to be.
Related: One of the things keeping her busy is her own record label, which she announced she was starting this summer after pre-teen Greyson Michael Chance's videos singing and playing the piano blew up on YouTube.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? That's the lesson you might seem to get from the Daytime Emmys, which handed out awards over the weekend to a lot of the same shows they did last year.
Ellen DeGeneres won for outstanding talk show (entertainment division).
Ben Bailey's Cash Cab on the Discovery Channel once again won for outstanding game show, but this time around, Bailey himself also grabbed the individual prize for game show host!
Clean House on the Style Network, with comedian co-hosts Niecy Nash, Matt Iseman and Trish Suhr, won for outstanding special class special.
In her fourth variety special for TBS, and second filmed from the Just For Laughs Chicago comedy festival, Ellen DeGeneres welcomes back Nick Cannon as her DJ, and also showcases the quick-change artists seen previously on America's Got Talent, acrobats, a magician, a heartfelt audience Q&A that -- since today marked Gay Pride Parades around the country -- seems more than fitting for DeGeneres, and a guest stand-up performance by Chicago native John Mulaney.
The Mulaney clip isn't online yet -- Ellen's Somewhat Special Special debuts at 9 p.m. Eastern tonight on TBS -- but includes his observations on how old crimes could easily become Cold Case Files, and a rephrasing of his routine on what he'd do with the big budgets for blockbuster movies.
Here, though, is a sneak peek at Ellen's opening monologue, with observations about Chicago, names, and and an appearance by the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks.
It's not that unusual for your local TV news to be a little more carefree in the morning hours and take plenty of minutes away from delivering the news to entertain and delight you. But when Ellen DeGeneres comes to your town, she gets upgraded to your main evening news. Such was the case last night as Ellen already is in Chicago working on and promoting her "Somewhat Special Special" on Wednesday -- her second annual televised variety show from Just For Laughs Chicago. The folks at NBC 5 in Chicago pretty much let Ellen be Ellen and said the news can come later. Here's the footage:
Ellen's Somewhat Special Special will include The Catwalk Acrobats, Dominic Lacasse, James Galea, Matrix Ping Pong and DJ Nick Cannon. It tapes Wednesday at The Chicago Theatre and airs June 27 on TBS.
Here's that clip of Eddie Murphy appearing as a guest on Friday's telecast of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Murphy reiterated his intention to mount a comeback as a stand-up comedian (as Murphy told Jay Leno this week), saying he has begun writing new material, and figures he may have a good 15-20 minutes. But he acknowledged that it'll take a while for him to regain his stride and shake off 20 years of rust, telling Ellen and her viewers that it would be a good year before he'd be ready to tour again. Oh, he also admits to having a fetish for funny women (I hear that!), and says Ellen smells really nice. Aww. I'd love to be in Los Angeles when Murphy decides to start dropping in clubs and trying out the new stuff. Roll the clip.
Is there any crossover between Aziz Ansari's fan base and that of Ellen DeGeneres? Would you be surprised that I'm even asking that question? Either way, Ansari sat down for a chat with Ellen that airs today (4 p.m. in NYC, check your local listings), and she recognized just how big he is blowing up these days. In this clip, Ansari doesn't work any of his usual stand-up into panel, but he does have a couple of clever tricks up his sleeves. Roll it.
For its second year in the Second City, Just For Laughs Chicago is bringing back Ellen DeGeneres for another TV variety show, recording a special with Cedric The Entertainer, and welcoming Aziz Ansari, Russell Peters, Denis Leary's "Rescue Me" tour, a Nasty Show hosted by Greg Giraldo with special guest Jim Norton, and a daytime sketch show for kids produced by Bob and Naomi Odenkirk.
There's much more to come for the Just For Laughs Chicago 2010 schedule, happening in various theaters and clubs around the city from June 15-19, 2010, including a third TV special to be announced later.
But here is the initial slate of headlining acts. Tickets for all shows go on sale March 29.
THE CHICAGO THEATRE
Ellen’s Somewhat Special – Wednesday, June 16, at 7:30 p.m. (Taped for TBS)
Cedric The Entertainer’s Urban Circus (working title) – Friday, June 18, at 8 p.m.
Featuring comedians, sketches, music and more. (Taped for TBS)
The Rescue Me Comedy Tour with Denis Leary – Saturday, June 19, at 8 p.m.
Featuring Lenny Clarke, Adam Ferrara and music with The Enablers and the Rehab Horns. Portion of the proceeds benefits the Leary Firefighters Foundation.
Russell Peters - The Green Card Tour - Saturday, June 19, at 8 p.m.
THE VIC THEATRE
Aziz Ansari – The Dangerously Delicious Tour – Thursday, June 17, at 7 p.m.
The Nasty Show hosted by Greg Giraldo with special guest Jim Norton – Friday, June 18, at 7 and 9:30 p.m.
Lucha VaVOOM – Wednesday, June 16, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – 21+ only show
Featuring Mexican masked wrestling and not-so masked burlesque.
The Not Inappropriate Show – Friday, June 18, at 4 p.m. and Saturday, June 19, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Made especially for kids ages 6 and up, this sketch comedy show stars Bob Odenkirk and Kate Micucci, along with some of Los Angeles’ hottest sketch performers. The show, which is being produced by Naomi Odenkirk, will feature a collection of specially chosen sketches and songs designed for kids who love great comedy.
On Friday's live edition of Oprah Winfrey's show, Jay Leno spoke to Oprah via satellite about his first two weeks competing in primetime on NBC. Oprah also turned the tables on Leno with her own silly 10 questions segment.
But about The Jay Leno Show? When Oprah asked him how he was coping with the increased scrutiny, Leno defended himself, noting that "numbers that make you number one now would have gotten you cancelled 10 or 15 years ago," and accurately pointed out that his second week was also the debut week for ABC and CBS, making this "probably the hardest week of the whole year for us."
The numbers bore that out. His first week at 10 p.m. E/P (9 p.m. C/M) earned him plenty of eyeballs, while the second week revealed a steep drop-off. In millions of viewers, Monday-Friday, it looked like this:
Week One: 18.4, 11.1, 13.4, 8.8, 7.6
Week Two: 5.7, 6.8, 6.4, 5.0
Why worry, though? "I'm 59 years old. I'm in a young person's game. I have a lot of fun with this. I'm just glad to come to work and tell jokes," Leno told Oprah. "My goal is to make show-business money and lead a normal life..."If it's a hit, that would be great. If not, oh well, I did the Tonight Show for 17 years. And that's that. Any other attitude and you go crazy."
He said he'd like to eventually rank second among the three networks at 10 p.m. (Fox airs local news), and score some number ones "when the other shows are all in repeats."
That said, Leno clearly has a lot of work ahead of him and seriously should consider retooling his primetime show to be, well, a little bit more enjoyable to watch. The live and taped pieces from his many comedy correspondents are all over the map, quality-wise, and a lot of that seems to result from a lack of quality control from the top. The funnier comics who have experience with producing their own segments and sketches are coming off a lot better than those who don't. And Leno's show, for all of its new gimmicks, still comes off like an even tamer (if that was possible) and lamer version of his Tonight Show. It's not all bad. But it's not all good, either. The New Yorker weighed in with its own scathing review this week. The other day, I saw an episode that seemed to get the idea of putting "more comedy" into the variety hour, with Christina Applegate telling a story about the Emmys, a guy chipping golf balls into another guy's helmet, Vince Vaughn presiding over a quiz with audience members tossing coconuts, a product-placement gimmick, and audience members cheering, screaming and dancing. Yes. I watched Ellen DeGeneres. Would Ellen's syndicated daytime show get anywhere near the viewers Leno attracts? I don't know that answer. I'm not Nostradamus. Or am I? The point is, she has figured out how to host and present five hours of comedy/variety every week. There's no reason why Leno cannot find his own way to do it at night.
Just when you were thinking, the only way American Idol ever could replace Paula Abdul would be to find someone who is deliberately funny, well, they did done gone did that. Ellen DeGeneres announced the news last night during the taping of her daytime talk show that she had been named the new fourth judge on Idol. Click here for Ellen's Twitter announcement from last night, as well as the clip from Ellen that'll air today.
DeGeneres is known for loving to dance, but is not a musical comedian. Does that matter? She said she hopes to be "the people's judge," which means we could be in for a lot of that-song-had-a-good-beat-I-could-dance-to-it quips, but hopefully not. I'm sure it'll get people to tune in. But isn't the whole point of the show to have the people be the ultimate judges by calling and texting millions of votes each week? I suppose if Ellen got an actual vote on who stayed and who left, then it'd be worth debating in more detail. Instead, I'll just post some related videos for you.
Here's one from TMZ (of all places), trying to act like actual investigators by digging up this clip of Ellen chatting with Idol's Simon Cowell in May about the prospect of job openings on the judging panel.
And here's a clip from back in the day of Ellen singing on her old sitcom. (via Dlisted)
Ellen DeGeneres took questions from the audience at the end of her latest variety special, which taped last week in Chicago at the Just For Laughs fest, and Ellen's Bigger, Longer and Wider Show debuts tonight on TBS. Not all of this footage from the Q&A makes it into the special. So if you'd like to hear Ellen talk about her marriage to Portia de Rossi and more, watch this:
I was at the taping, so if you'd like to know what happened, read my behind-the-scenes review of Ellen's Bigger, Longer and Wider Show. The show featured a live performance by Chicago's own Kanye West, a taped routine with David Blaine, stand-up comedy from Boston newcomer Joe Wong, and a variety of amazing acrobatic and just plain silly human tricks.
Ellen DeGeneres taped her third TBS variety special last night as part of the inaugural Just For Laughs Chicago comedy festival -- Ellen's Bigger Longer & Wider Show will air at 9 p.m. Saturday, June 27, on TBS, but I can share some insight with you already.
During a post-show question-and-answer session with the audience, Ellen's wife, Portia de Rossi, emerged from the wings to wave hello when a fan asked, "Where's Portia?!" Here is a backstage pic of Ellen and Portia with Chicago's own Kanye West, who performed his hits "Stronger" and "Heartless" to end the show. On the best part of being married, Ellen quipped: "Well, I'm finally off the pill!" And on a more serious note, when a gay man from the audience couldn't contain himself demonstrating his support for Ellen and wondering what the gay and lesbian community could do in the wake of California's Prop 8, DeGeneres offered that "we shouldn't be separate" in terms of the law. "Just remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others."
Everyone really does love Ellen these days. Gay men, lesbians, young women, middle-aged women, and other straights went crazy for her last night in Chicago. After a 40-minute warmup session (did it have to be that long?) of dance contests and karaoke contests that hyped up the crowd in a mini version of America's Got Talent, it only made sense to introduce celebrity guest DJ Nick Cannon, who is hosting this summer's version of the NBC talent show. Cannon had no qualms hyping his stint on the show, telling Ellen during the taping: "We're going to get our American Susan Boyle! Boyle and beyond!" OK.
Remember when Ellen DeGeneres came out of the closet and America got Hollywood scared enough to shut down her sitcom, but then she came back to host a daytime talk show and American ladies of all sexual orientations suddenly were not afraid but instead loved her and wanted to share her dance card? Well. Kinda wondering how people will react to the news that Ellen is going back into her closet -- to auction off her wardrobe. Ellen's eBay auction is ongoing, with proceeds helping The Humane Society. Bidding already is up to $150 for this plaid shirt Ellen wore when MSNBC talking head Chris Matthews groped her. (via Hollywood Fail)
Society often tells us that women love a sense of humor in a man, and yet to hear many stand-up comedians onstage, all we ever hear about is how that's not exactly so in real-life. Rock stars, models, actors, directors, producers, even the key grip and just about anyone else with money beats out the comic, it would seem. And yet. Sometimes it is true: The comedian can get the girl! Christina Ricci's reps confirmed yesterday that she had gotten engaged to stand-up comic Owen Benjamin (who himself will be seen this week online in a new CBS online comedy, Heckle U). Congrats to them both!
As Owen Benjamin announced on Facebook overnight: Thanks for all the best wishes everyone. our goal is to one day have normal sized children. 6'7 plus 5'0 = normal kids. psyched
The couple met on the set of their upcoming romantic comedy, All's Faire in Love.
But Benjamin's not the only comedian to land a famous actress as a real-life love interest. Check out these other couples...
Here are some additional clips from Ellen DeGeneres and her variety show, Ellen's Even Bigger Really Big Show, which taped last week at Caesars Palace and airs this Saturday, Nov. 29, at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific.
Ellen DeGeneres has competition next week in the TV variety showcase business -- Rosie O'Donnell plans "Rosie Live" next Wednesday, Nov. 26, for NBC -- so DeGeneres really had to deliver on her promise for Ellen's Even Bigger Really Big Show on TBS, which airs Saturday, Nov. 29. And in a very Vegas way last night, DeGeneres delivered.
Ellen learned a lot from the lessons of last year's show, which was a really big mess, with live improvised bits that went nowhere, production issues and too many things thrown into the pot. Perhaps her reluctance to ruffle any more feathers during last year's Writers Strike had a hand in that. Or maybe it was just a rookie mistake. Regardless. For her "even bigger really big show," Ellen kept things simpler by just giving the people what they want. More Ellen, for one thing. It's not as if she doesn't know how to host a major TV broadcast, whether it's her own daytime syndicated talker or the Oscars. So. She opened the show with a strong monologue about Vegas (I've got a clip), joking how she wore her lucky thong ("Ironically, it's a straight!") and noting that Sin City has become more family-friendly, offering "amusement parks, arcade games and younger hookers." In a taped sketch, Ellen pranks the audience across the street at Imperial Palace by posing as "Chrissie Stewart" impersonating Ellen in the celebrity impersonation show with fake Madonna and fake Janet Jackson. The audience seems to have bought it.
Anyone who doubted whether TBS could or would pull together a full slate of A-level comedy talent for its first edition of The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas without HBO as a partner, well doubt no more. Over the weekend, TBS unveiled its first look at the official schedule for Nov. 20-22 at Caesars Palace, which includes Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Dane Cook, Katt Williams, Jim Breuer, Kids in the Hall, Russell Peters, Jim Norton, a roast of Cheech and Chong, David Alan Grier, Jeff Dunham, Laffapalooza hosted by Tracy Morgan, Andrew Dice Clay, Mike Epps, John Oliver, and Caliente Comedy with Gabriel Iglesias, Pablo Francisco and Anjelah Johnson. The network also says it'll have 25 up-and-coming stand-up and sketch acts performing in a separate LOL Lounge. Full sked after the jump!