Ellen DeGeneres on Netflix stand-up special, depression battle: ‘It took a while to shake’

Ellen DeGeneres on Netflix stand-up special, depression battle: ‘It took a while to shake’

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. 

“Relatable” was filmed during an eight-night stand-up tour last August in San Diego, Seattle and San Francisco. She chats with USA TODAY about the special and more. 

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