Can we still identify with Ellen DeGeneres?

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After 15 years and a lot of professional success, Ellen Degeneres returns to the stand up comedy format asking if her audience can still identify with her

Can we still identify with Ellen DeGeneres?

Ellen DeGeneres returns to stand up after 15 years of not doing it. For this, she debuted on the Netflix streaming platform with the special Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable.

The last time we had seen her on a stage had been in 2003 with her routine Here & Now for HBO. That same year The Ellen DeGeneres Show premiered, the morning talk show directed by Ellen that has given this comedian international fame. Since then, the recognition and fortune of DeGeneres have grown exponentially, so it is definitely not the same as it was 15 years ago.

Leer en español: ¿Nos podemos identificar aún con Ellen DeGeneres?

What is it about?

Precisely, on this reflects her new stand up: the comedian wonders if she still has stories with which the public can identify. This, at first, is a reflection on the comedy itself, which is about telling stories with which the public identifies and can, therefore, laugh. Now, after so many years of talk show, money, and international fame, Ellen wonders, then, if she can still stand up. Around this question rotate her routine this time.

Ellen, very aware of herself and her privilege, makes many sarcastic jokes during the first part of her stand up, mocking herself and showing what stories we would not feel identified with: the jokes about her butler, the house in which she lives, and the places where she goes on vacation are recurrent and show how much his life has changed in the last 15 years.

Ellen's self-awareness goes beyond knowing that her life has changed and that she is different from most people in the audience. She is aware of the character she has created of herself around the daily talk show and laughs at this. Thus, we can see how her figure begins to be more accessible: she talks to us about how she is sometimes in a bad temper or wants to insult someone who has crossed him in the street, like all of us, but he cannot because she must maintain her character as she is a public figure.

She also talks about how fame has changed her life, not only in a good way, and how it sometimes makes her feel uncomfortable and inhuman. Although the public can not identify with these stories (no one is as famous as she is or in the same way as she is famous), they can identify with the situations of daily life that Ellen has to deal with differently, because she's famous, so she still gets some laughs.

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The critics

The Netflix special by Ellen DeGeneres has generally had a good reception. It has a score of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes based on the opinion of critics. However, the public score, which in the case of the stand up is very important because it is the one who reacts, that is, who laughs or not, is only 47%.

It is that many times when Ellen tries to show that we can still identify with her with her jokes about her mansion and her vacation in Rwanda, she achieves the opposite effect: she reminds us that her life experience is very far from ours. According to Forbes, Ellen makes about $ 294,000 per minute and has built her entire empire from making us feel identified with her.

She says: "It's exactly this tension that DeGeneres wants to explore in her first hour on stage since 2003: she's just like us, but she's also one of the most powerful and influential people in entertainment today".

So the stand up moves in this contradictory tension between making us laugh and feel DeGeneres closer and show us how she has changed since she has the talk show.

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Robyn Bhar, who writes for the Hollywood Reporter, says: "After witnessing the gutting rawness of Hannah's Gadsby's Nanette, it's hard not to view DeGeneres' jokes about lesbian stereotypes as being part of the self-effacing "model minority" clownishness Gadsby rejects".

In this way, while DeGeneres can tell stories with which many of us can identify, it also establishes a barrier created by the many references to its privilege. It is already the spectator who can judge whether he is victorious or not.

Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable is available on Netflix Latin America.


LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Rodríguez Pabón

Translated from "¿Nos podemos identificar aún con Ellen DeGeneres?"