Of all of the comedy comeback specials in 2018, Ellen DeGeneres delivers the most fascinating and funniest take.
In case you’re keeping track, the other stand-up comedians who returned to the stage after a long break (10 years or more) with new hours for Netflix this year included Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and Adam Sandler. They’re all still delightfully funny, thank goodness.
But DeGeneres did something completely different from those three funny fellas. She not only went back to some of her earliest jokes to revisit them in newer light, but also faced up and fessed up to her own feelings about fame and the personality we’ve helped bestow upon her.
As I wrote in my review for Decider:
DeGeneres says we’re all “looking for validation that we’re on the right path” when “we should be on our own path.” She retraces her own path in her most personal stand-up yet, talking about how she almost died as a child because her parents raised her Christian Science, not believing in doctors, medication or vaccinations. Her parents divorced when Ellen was a teen, and they were obsessed with celebrity. So even though Ellen never expected that life for herself, perhaps her path was meant to lead her there.
And she expresses some regrets. Telling her audiences to “be kind to one another” suddenly meant Ellen herself could never act unkind in public. “That and the dancing. That was a mistake,” DeGeneres admits. “I did it the first day as a joke.”