Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard - Ellen DeGeneres


Hello, welcome to the armchair expert.

I’m your host.

Zach Braff today.

I’m speaking with a good friend of mine.

Ellen DeGeneres.

You’ve probably never heard of her.

She’s mostly unknown.

I mean, she does have a daytime show.

That’s pretty popular.

She’s had many sitcoms.

In fact, she is such a Powerhouse.


I think she even has a game show.

That’s very popular.

So it’s hard to get a few minutes with this woman and she was gracious enough to give us some of her time.

This is a shorter episode than you’re used to because of her.

Challenging schedule and limited window of opportunity.


So you might notice, I’m going a little quick through here.

I’m kind of trying to take you from Soup To Nuts in an accelerated way and you’ll just have to bear with that because she is so worth it.

Ellen DeGeneres.

He’s not change because I have you from for such a short period, I’m going to jump right, jump in.


Okay, then.

Alright, I’m gonna just tell you that, I very much was interested in stand up when I was younger and I used to watch every single stand up on like Comedy Central wherever they showed it back then.

And I really, really liked you as a comedian when I was younger.

And the thing that I think is defined you you could differ, in this opinion, is your Embrace of silence and your commitment to your pacing was very, very unique.


Yeah, and Seinfeld was on stirring the other day and he was talking about the the comedian’s, he’s most drawn to him, has the most amount of respect for it.

It’s the ones that can Embrace that scary period, where you’re just waiting.


And what how can you do that?

Why were you so confident did that evolve?


Or did you Art, was that your brand of stand up right out of the gates?

No, not at all.

No, my brand was really bad corny puns and like, really silly, really silly things.

Like knock-knock.

Jokes are no.

Like, I would, I would just like, bring out different fabric.


I would hold up like, morning laughing and I’m just show the audience just quietly.

I would just, I would just show people Fabric and then I pick up something else.

Now would show them and then, I mean, I did that for a while.

But I’d say, I was just trying out some new material, and I would do like, I would, I used to pass out my autograph because I would notice that big celebrities.


You had to wait in line.

And and so I wanted to be thoughtful ahead of time.

So I passed out my autograph and people just leave them on the tables, you know, when they left.

And I just did a lot of a lot of props tough to did you like, Andy Kauffman or said, was there anyone that you were?


Yeah, I never saw him and I but I heard about his stuff.

But now you know, Bob Newhart was a big influence of mine, on Woody Allen and Steve Martin and know I think that as I got a little more confident, a little better and had material.


I was happy with the silence.

The biggest silences I had were the phone call to God.

That was the phone call that I was waiting on for the other empty side of the conversation which was really dangerous to do at a club Portia.

Showed a clip of that at your birthday.

Party, right?

Was that the clip?

That was shown in the little video package phone call to God.



What did you do that?

On Carson?


That was my first appearance.



I think I think so, but it was like it’s when you do phone call to God like it is literally, you’re just waiting for people to scream and fill in that whatever the other side of the conversation is, but that was my fear when I started doing the talk show is that I wouldn’t be able to have because you can’t have too many silences on on television.


Yeah, it’s different.

Yeah, and I thought I’m going to Ruin my entire kind of, that’s my rhythm is just having pauses, and I can’t do that on the show.

But you still, do you have this still bizarre confidence in silence, which is just, it’s very rare and unique.



I love it when you did, I do want to ask you when you were on Carson and for people who don’t know, the big thing with Carson was, if he really, really liked you, right?

He invited you over to the couch.

So you go into that performance, knowing that he’s going to call me over, to the couch or not, and I’ll know whether I see.


Doctor did great.


What is that experience?


Well this I’ve told this story before but I’ll condense it a little bit.

I my girlfriend was killed in a car accident.

When I was like, 20 years old and I wasn’t doing comedy.

I was I think I was probably waitressing someplace at the time.


I was living with her and when she was killed, I couldn’t afford to live where we were living together.

And so I moved into this tiny little basement apartment.

That was assistant Orleans.


Okay, I was so, I moved into this basement apartment that I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and it was infested with fleas, and I was just thinking, I just, and I used to write all the time.


I wrote poetry and songs and stuff.

And I thought, why is this beautiful 21 year old girl, just gone and fleas are here and I just thought it would be amazing if we could just pick up the phone and call up God and ask questions and actually get an answer, right?


And so I started writing and I just thought, you know, it rings a long.

Time because it’s a big place.

I’m put on, hold right away and it just, it just it just unfolded.

I just wrote the entire thing and when I finished I read it and I thought, oh my God, that’s hilarious.


I’m going to do this on Johnny Carson and I’m going to be the first woman in the history of the show to be called over to sit down and thought that yeah, and I’d never done stand-up.

I owe you hadn’t even done stand-up, but it came to you.

Like, I’ve heard hit songs be described like where the writer just gets kind of the whole song.


Going out of nowhere.

It’s like they pined over it.

Feel like I just wrote it, just came out.

Came out of this pain.

That was moving on the page prior to that.

Did you deal with what order are you and your family?

Are you middle child or no?

Just me and my brother and you’re older or younger younger.



So we’re you lightening the mood in your house with comedy.

He left when my parents divorce.

It was just me and my mother.

Okay, and that’s a bizarre split.

That’s unconventional.


He went on the road.

He was a And so he just left.



He was old enough to leave.

Not really.

He was like 15, that’s not old.

No, we don’t advise that.

He left.

Okay, he’s gone.

And then it says you and Mom is just me or did you feel like you were lightening the load with her?

Did you get try to cheer her up?

Yeah, that was sort of where it started started.



This is how it happens.



I was a middle child in case you’re curious.

Yeah, I was gonna ask ya.

What does that mean?

Something being the middle child?

It does because Generally, there’s a baby in the mix.

So the baby’s fucking nuts and they’re, they’re stressing mom out.



And then the older kids getting the do other shit in my scenario.

The age gets were big.

So it was a teenage boy in a baby and who both of them drove my mom.


And so my role was, don’t ask for a thing.


I could be on fire.

I wouldn’t ask her for water and try to lighten the mood about this chaos in her life.


I think that’s where it started.


In dyslexia that in there, too.


So your started with Mom.


It totally hijacked your story.

So you you wrote this thing and you actually thought I’m going to start doing stand-up and I’m gonna end up on Carson.

He’s gonna invite me to the couch, but you somehow knew people got invited to the couch.

So you follow comedy already.


Oh, yeah.

I mean, I was a, I was a huge fan of of stand up and, and, you know, yeah, but they’re yeah, and my brother, at that time, I think he was already on Saturday Night Live.

He created, mr.


So he was mr.

Han, you’re kidding me?


I didn’t know that.


Yeah, another thing I love when I was younger.

Yeah, so he He was mr.

Hands, and he was on Saturday Night Live.

I think that.

I don’t know if he had started that then, or but he was, he was The Talented one.

He was a musician, and he was funny, and he was creative, and I was just kind of around around nothing.


Do you think him having a measure of success said, well, this is possible.

I live in a world where this is possible.

I could leave New Orleans and things could happen.

No, no.

Okay, so I didn’t think well, yeah, you told me the other night that you did you thought you were likely to die before sixth grade was out, right?




Yeah, I didn’t think I was going to live to be a, an adult, right?

Yeah, and here we are.

Yeah, so you wrote that and then did you immediately start performing that?


No, I don’t know what happened.

I think there was no comedy club in New Orleans at the time.


I don’t know.

I don’t know the sequence of what happened, but then I started doing stand-up like, I don’t get coffee houses.

And you know, people ask me, I didn’t go searching for it.

I didn’t go where, how can I get on stage?

And then And then I slowly had a, you know, I was an MC at a club that opened up out of nowhere and I started working on material there.


And then I started touring you would introduce people that were coming up.


And do and do like five minutes and then it was 10 minutes.

And then I built up to where I could go out on the road and do like as an opener like 15 minutes.

And yeah, so but I, you know, it took it took a while and it was slow because there was no club.


Like I said, so it was just a few months of just me performing where I could.

And how do you end up on Carson?

I was living in San Francisco and I won.

I actually didn’t win.

Sinbad one.


I lost by like, a tenth of a point.

That was a big idea of the right outfit.

I’d he help me shop by the way.

He did, he did he loves clothes right.

Big baggy.

Baggy, balloon pants, parachute material.

He has.

We became, we were really good friends.

He won this contest.


That is the San Francisco comedy.

It’s a big deal, and I came in second and people from NBC.

Me and and I really should have one like I was doing really really well and he won by like a a such a crowd pleaser.

Like yeah.

So anyway Mungus Personality.


Yeah, and I was still kind of not confident.

And anyway, I got to and I ended up in New Orleans because a lot of people saw me and said you should move to, you should do a sitcom.

And so I moved to LA and I was still doing stand-up at The Improv and different places.

And and so the guy that book The Tonight Show saw me at The Improv and book me.


Were you scared?

Yeah, of course, you had done that routine at that point a thousand times.

Yes, but and I can’t, you can’t say that because there’s one of the lines in there.

Like, you know, reason I’m calling.

Is there certain things on this Earth?

I mean, Jesus Christ, not that we’re still talking about that, but like, I can’t say Jesus Christ on television, right?


So I had to remember to, you know, there are certain things on this Earth that, you know, I don’t like you.

No, no.

Not Charo.

And you know, like, you know, you don’t even know who Charo is.

It was a singer?


Dated South Can singer.




Platinum, like some kind of coochie coochie.




Yes, sir.


It was an old I did in the 80s.


Yeah, I was really nervous.

And then because and every time you can imagine Roseann was on Tonight Show and she killed and I was like no no no and he didn’t call her over and who know Carol Leifer was on Paula, Poundstone was on everybody.


I would watch.

I was just like, you know, I really have you really never called over a woman.

I was in still at when he retired.

I was the only Only woman he called over on the first appearance.

It was like five men and me.

So when I did it and I knew I was doing really, really well, but I didn’t look over at him.


I looked over at Doc Severinsen and at McMahon I looked over and then finally I looked over and he was just kind of like, you know, signaling me to come over and he had been doing that for a while, but I didn’t look at him because I was.

So if you look at that appearance, I was like my boys was really hot when you go sit on the couch.


I was I just wanted to come out and snuggle you.

You’re so little you’re so little bit in that moment.



I don’t know if the same for you, but for me, it was Letterman.

I love Letterman so much.

And the first time I did Letterman, I had to keep reminding myself.

Like don’t just be staring at him, like I got ear to ear smile.



Your this is real.

You’re really on the show.

Do you feel that way about Carson?

Yeah, of course.


Yeah, he was, he was Letterman before.

I mean, Letterman felt the same way about Carson.

I mean Carson.


Was the the, you know, Pinnacle of As a comedian.


And then of course, it became Letterman, but Johnny Carson was the guy and he could change your career overnight.

Yeah, it’s crazy to hear the stories about people going on there because at that time, what did he had 20 million viewers or something insane?


That doesn’t exist now, right?

Look, one in three people are watching it.

So let me they literally overnight.

There were no, you know, there weren’t the amount of Late Night show to watch Cops.

No, at 11:30.

I couldn’t watch any.

I think it was, it all went off the air at midnight or something like, There wasn’t anything other than Carson there was not another late night.


There weren’t competitive shows when they be great to be in show business where you just knew.

They’re gonna have to watch me.

Yeah, For Better or Worse.

That’s the only thing that was on.

Like it’s changed so much.

It’s crazy to think about that.

There was no competition.

Yeah, it’s really kind of a testament to anyone who’s succeeding currently.


The it’s crazy.

You could me shout something that’s successful.

So in did overnight, did you get a sitcom?

Is that what happened doctor?

Oh God.

No, no.

The sake of our time, could you say over the next morning?

You went straight to the lat?

It’s recording your sitcom.


I didn’t get, I got everybody else was getting their own sitcoms and I got a line on a show.

I think the first show, I think I had.


Okay, but somehow I made it very funny.



It was the people kneel and Carol Marlins, and they had created The Wonder Years and growing pains.

And so Did the show and I was not the lead.

I was just in my brother was like, why are you taking that?

Like, you know, literally Drew Carey has his own show?


And, you know, Tim Allen and everybody and other people that?

I can’t remember that.

Don’t even have anything right now.

Yeah, they had their own shows and I just, I just thought they’re great people, they’re smart and maybe they’ll see something in me and and develop something for me and sure enough.


That was who developed my sitcom.

Oh, really in.

But the appearance at least get you a Huge bump in how many people would come see you when you talk weird?


So now I would imagine after that.

Like you’re making pretty good money at that point.


I was making like five thousand dollars a week.


That’s pretty great though.


When you’re sure that was yeah.

That was a lot for me.

I mean I was it’s a tricky thing about money just keeps changing.

Yeah, there’s never the amount that you, whatever you think it, but then I started doing, you know, theaters and you know, like larger venues and it started becoming five thousand dollars for one night, you know.


It was, but then I had a night then I stopped doing clubs all together in just did theaters and right.

So, yeah, then it was.

And then, every time I was on, I thought I was going to walk around the next day after I did, because he calls me over.

So I’m like a big star now, right?

So, the next day I was in San Diego because I was playing The Improv.


I was just looking around like, waiting for people to run up to me, like no one recognized me.

Not what I was like, how is so many people watch this show.

How do people not right, you know, and everyone watched it.

And, you know, it takes a lot of appearances for people to recognize you, but I assumed I was going to be mobbed the next day.


Also show business is just the perfect occupation for anyone like myself who has swings of total self-loathing and then total Grandeur.

So it’s like, oh my God, I’m gonna I barely be able to walk out of my house from morning and then you’re immediately back to oh, no, that’s right.

I’m a piece of shit.

I remember.


Well, I didn’t think it was a piece of shit, but I just I don’t know about you.

I went.


Yeah, that’s why I had to self-medicate.

But when you Um, when you got your show, when you eventually started doing your sitcom, was it what you wanted it to be?


I thought it was really funny.

I thought it was, I got to do physical comedy.


It was very different when we first started it.

But yeah, it was it was a lot of because I was a big fan of Lucille Ball.

So I kind of Incorporated, a lot of physical comedy into it.

And, yeah, I think you enjoyed going to work and doing that was, it was great.

I couldn’t wait to stop stand up because I had been doing it.


You know, it’s hard, I think for anyone to tour and be in a hotel room, much less.

A woman.

Like I was.

Yeah by myself.

It’s not like I had friends.

I could afford to put up with me or like, you know, and I wasn’t flying private.

I was flying, you know, commercial all the time and changing planes and I hate flying.


I get anxiety when I fly so I couldn’t wait to stop touring.

Yeah, and there’s ways people deal with that.

I think the male comedians just go out and try to get laid, that becomes how you do I.T.


You did a bit of that.

But yeah, that seems to be like the male response to that is like I feel lonely and awkward in this hotel room.


All Least go out to a bar and you have an apple, you have some kind of medicine.

You can write pursue and when you’re staying in a condo, which sometimes happen with these two strangers, these two males.

So if I’m the headliner or the middle, I’m with the opener and, you know, like I was with two guys and we’re all so I’d see them bring home, you know, Kingdom for Life.



It was, it was gross.

It was like, you know, you were scared to sleep in that bed.

And who was there before?

And you know, yeah, what’s in the rug that kind of thing?


Yeah, sure.

And he said we’re living with dudes.

It’s touch and go even if you love that.

Yeah, it’s hard.


We’re not the best creatures to cohabitate with.

It may have influenced my decision as a direct role in life.

Yeah, absolutely.

Because you had had boyfriends.

I’ve heard you say that right?

You’ve had.

Oh, yeah.


Yeah, but I was gay at that, when I started doing stand-up, I was was because my girlfriend had been killed in the car accident.


I was already seeing women.

But yeah, I had boyfriends all all the way through the end of high school.

I didn’t realize and I think you were largely spared.

When we get gross’s, which is as we get older, I was just describing earlier like the throat clearing and all the things I do that like my grandpa did and my dad.


Did I now do in front of Chris tonight?

And I don’t even hear myself an occasional alcohol.

Oh Jennifer, I think Larry myself for like two minutes and I’ll look at her and I’ll say, God bless you that you can stand next to me at the sink.



We just get worse and worse and worse.


Yeah, you made the right.

The fork in the road.

You chose correctly.

I made the right decision.

I don’t really know it as well.

As I should, but your show ended in an ended.


Because I came out.

Okay, and, and then the network said, okay.

Well, that’s a different show or now that your public Persona is such.


That’s, this is a long long story.

But but they really didn’t want me to come out.

Just so, you know, I don’t even want the juicy details.

I mostly want to know how you dealt with the Heartbreak of that whole situation.

That’s what I’m most interested in.

So I’m not trying to get any juicy details of who was a motherfucker and he’s no, no.


I know.

But it’s like they didn’t.

Me to come out.

I wanted to come out, they kept saying, you know, I said it’s my life and I want to come out.

I want the character to come out, it’s the time and and they and I said, I’m going to lose the career.

Like, you can just put another show on.


It’s my show to lose.

So even though it wasn’t my show, it was, but they, they finally, let me come out and then they didn’t really, and it was a huge success.

The night of it was huge.

It was celebrated, it was, you know, No, 45 million people that watched and and then they just stopped promoting it because everybody was scared, ABC Disney didn’t want to because of their sponsors were giving him a hard time.


We were losing sponsors.

So they were just acting like we’re just letting it Glide.

We’re not going to touch it.

So I got no more advertising.

I got no more promotion.

I got so it just, you know, so they cancel it.

Yeah, so and during that time because there was so much talk about it.


I was just sick of it.

And even though I had only done the cover of Time Magazine, a prime-time special with, Diane, Sawyer and Oprah.

Those are the only three places.

I talked, people were reporting on reports and reports and reports and even Elton John said, shut up already, you know, you’re gay, be funny and I’d never met him.


And I thought, what kind of support is that from the game?

Personally, but everybody assumed I was just non-stop talking about it.

Yeah, so I was just it hurt my feelings.

I was making, I was Um, jokes made at my expense on every late-night show.


People were making fun of me.

So I was really depressed, and, because of that, and because the show was cancelled, I was looked at, as a failure in this business.

So, no one would touch me, right?

So I had no agent.

I had no possibility of a job.

I had nothing and I was, and I didn’t have money saved because I wasn’t making that much on my sitcom.


I wasn’t making what Jerry Seinfeld made or right?

Tim Allen or, you know, I was making Drew Carey.

Yeah, georgiou carry, so he made a I heard.

Yeah, and I didn’t make that much so I didn’t have money saved.

Stay with us for more armchair expert after this message.

That’s what is incredible to me about your journey is when that all goes away.


How on Earth do you find?

Like this career?

That I’m saying?

I’m suggesting is really defined by confidence.

How on Earth do you find in that law?

Like, fuck that?

I’m writing this story.

I can still do something like this show was next, right?

Would you just celebrated 15 years?


Well, no.

I mean, I had to, I had to come back for so I Drew a couple of years.

Like three years.

I didn’t work and I just thought I’m not going to work again unless I do stand-up, you know, I mean, that’s I got to do stand-up.

So I wrote the beginning, which was my HP.


I thought.

Well, at least I can do stand up right?

That’s what I do.

And I didn’t want to do it because I was done with it, but I wrote the beginning because it was beginning again and it’s how I began.

So I wrote the beginning and I went on tour and and it was people still loved you.


It was gay.

People still love me.

I had very few straight people showing up to those because they thought they assumed, I was just doing gay comedy.

So it was really hard for me to get a crowd again.

You know, it’s weird.

I’ve been guilty of this, it’s hypocritical and it’s paradoxical.


I’ve thought, when I found someone was gay.

I thought, oh, well, I’m am I going to be able to believe them in a role where they’re in love with someone of the opposite sex.

Is that going to get in the way my knowledge of domingue?

Well, I think in these things oh, but they don’t really like that.

It was until I was probably watching.


Like two straight, dudes, play gay, guys, and I’m totally invested.

And I believe they love each other where I realized.

Oh, this is so fucking hypocritical.

And but I was susceptible to that that for whatever reason I don’t know.

Why is like you think somehow that you’re not going to be able to bind to this fairy tale because you know, too much about the person.


Well, yeah, but you’re just talking about like, you know, being at home watching a movie or going to a theater.

Like these are people that are scared to stand in line.

Go and people are going to think I’m gay if I’m here.

Like so I got you.

So I was like and so I ended up making a joke about it in my special like that.


We’re all here for the same reason, we’re all gay.

And then I was like, you know, and now the street people are like do they think I’m gay.

I’m not gay.


And so I do this whole long thing you’ve thought about it.

I haven’t thought about it.

Like so I thought this because it really was I was kind of looked at is the new leader and I didn’t want to be a leader and I didn’t want to be political and I didn’t want to be an activist.


I just wanted to be free from a secret, a secret and that’s all I So it was really hard to go out on tour again and see that I only had and sometimes like really, you know, the gay community.

It’s like a really difficult like line to walk.


Like some people thought you’re not gay enough and you’re not doing enough for our community and and there are so many people who have done more and it’s like I didn’t say I was your leader and I didn’t say I had them and there’s as much diversity in the gay community as there is in any Community or I tell you there’s this assumption that you guys.


Are somehow on the same page about something but you’re right.

You’re just all unique people that, but that’s what I’m saying.

But there are a lot of, like, really militant gay people that get really angry, if you’re not like, just and it’s like, I don’t, I just want to be a comedian, and I just happened to be gay and I just and, of course, I’m going to, you know, speak up and I think I’m doing a lot just by being a, you know, physical presence of, you know, hopefully a representation not of the entire gay community.


But of somebody at home going.

Oh, there’s someone whose gaze anyway, it was really tough because there were a lot of gay people.


But thought I wasn’t being, you know, active enough and and political enough and gay enough and then, you know, if I then the straight people were like you’re into gay and if I even mentioned like yeah, like how big I think I’m the right amount of gay for me.


It works.

It’s working.

I found it to be a very yeah, feeling.

So anyway, it was a really it was a really tough time.

So was there, was there some relief, accompanying, the, the depression of having the show, go away and all that, right is the A of having the secret out.


Is that quantifiable?

Do you feel that you feel like ah, this is a big burden released.

Of course you are, but then you’re also dealing with something that’s very hard to deal with, which is this LOL in your career.

It was a high and it was celebrated and then it was a complete flow and then, you know, so it was, it was and, you know, I never thought I’d even be successful enough to have a sitcom in the top 10.


So to me I had reached the Pinnacle of success, right?

And then I get No, the cover of Time Magazine because I’m the first, you know, person to be the first gay person in America.

Yeah, but on a sitcom like it to, you know, so there’s all this attention on me for that, so that gets a lot of attention.


So I’m thinking, you know, that’s the Pinnacle and everything is just now taken away from me.

And now how do I start over on a millionth of that?


I can relate to having been honest, about being molested in interviews.

And then that always becomes a very big story.


Ori, right and then I always I get this fear.

People think I’m promoting this right where I was just maybe being honest in the moment.

When someone asks me what’s all in this bag of tricks that led to X Y or Z and it is a it’s so tricky because I remember being young and seeing certain people say stuff and magazines and then I thought, well, that’s weird.


You’re bragging about that, you know, and I come from that place and it’s prevented me from doing things.

And then when I do them, I just eventually I have to go who gives a fuck if someone thinks I’m trying to Not that, right.

I can only just be honest about my own story.

And then just whatever.

If people think I’m trying to get attention for this, a weird way to get attention.


But okay, okay.

I just can going to have to live with that.


So, I mean, I understand somewhat, I feel like, yeah, that weird feeling of like, hey, I’m not promoting.

I’m just being honest, right?

The difference.

Yeah, you just have to just trust that.

You know, there’s going to be haters out there.


Now, you have a achieved far more success than you thought you were going to write.

Has it healed and the Emotional stuff for you.

Oh, yeah.

I mean I let go of all that a long time ago.

It I held onto like bitterness and anger for a little while but you know, I’m really grateful for it.



I’m actually really grateful for it.

I think it’s, I can’t believe that I was able to achieve what I achieved lose it all, and then get to this point in my life at 60 years old like to start over at 45 and no women start.



Nobody starts over 245 in this business.

Much less a woman and so I’m really grateful that I had that experience and it made me a stronger person.

Did you have a mentor during that time or anyone?

Whose advice you were seeking her know a lot of people reached out to me, like, Madonna reached out to me and Oprah reached out to me.


Is it hard for you to ask for help or guidance?

No, it’s just that I wasn’t like in the these were people that literally made it, you know, like Madonna literally made a phone call to me.

Like I didn’t even know her and she reached out and said, you know you You are brave and trust that that’s going to come back to to be the best thing that ever happened.


Yeah, and certainly, there’s probably no one ahead of you.

That navigated this all beautifully that you could call up.

You know, I think every lesbian was looking at me like meerkats, like they were just like their heads were what’s going to happen and then they all went back in their holes and then they’re like, never mind.


I mean, I know Porsha has said that to me, like, people really were watching.

Like, should I come out?

Let’s see how this goes.

I was the litmus test.


The canary in the coal mine.

So yeah, it was it was definitely something.

That was like I said and when it was really celebrated, I think a lot of people were like, oh and then it took a while for other people to decide to do that and I have to assume people tell you in real life all the time that they must.


Thank you for all that.


That’s the one thing when it when it first started happening because I was closeted.

I wasn’t part of any kind of, you know, gay organization, like glad or the Trevor Project or anything.

I was not a part of the gay world.

And so, when I came out, I got letters from like kids that were literally about to commit suicide, and I saved their lives.


And, and so, when I saw the impact, and then Matthew Shepard was was killed right after I came out.

And I went to the steps of Washington and spoke out.

And basically, in tears was saying, this is why I did what I did to hope that this would change the world.

I mean, I was so it was stupid and naive of me to think that I could actually make that kind of impact in the world, just by coming out.


But when Matthew, Was killed it, broke my heart.

Yeah, because I just thought this is going to stop now and people have an example and so I would I learned a lot about, you know, how much impact having a presence, you know out there and being and instead of saying my career and my money is more important.


I realized that that actually making a difference in the world and and just being honest about who you are whether it’s if you were molested or whether it’s that You’re gay or whatever it is because whatever your secret is.

There’s lots of other people out there that have the other that same secret.


Well, yeah, and I bet that’s why I’m so attracted to you is that I don’t think it’s helpful for people to see other people with some crazy skillset.

They’re never going to have, but I think is super helpful, is to go like, oh, I have the same secret.

I’m carrying the same.



I really like that person.

I’m I must not be as bad as I think I am because I know they’re not like that.

I think that’s so helpful to people.


And I think that you feel better about yourself that you’re actually, you know, I know that I am not just a famous person.


I’m someone who’s actually making a difference in the world for a lot of different people and I’m really proud that I’m openly gay and I get to talk about and say the word wife.

I mean, the fact that that was never talked about on television, but that it’s becoming part of the vernacular that someone can hear wife.


And and that there, it’s at least it’s digesting, you know, slowly into society and and that I can, you know, talk about my, my amazing incredible life with another woman is, is I think doing something.


Yeah, it’s pretty incredible.

When you took on this show.

Did you feel like the stakes were super high?

Like, oh, God, if this doesn’t work.

Now, what I’ve done a sitcom, I’ve done a talk show.

Did you feel that pressure of this?

Got a fucking work?

I may have but I don’t I don’t really remember that pressure.


I remember, just thinking it was going to be fun and I had high hopes for it.

Well, I think the amazing thing that you’ve done with the show is the same thing.

I loved about your stand up, when I was young, was it’s in a box.

We all recognize which is daytime talk show, but it is 100%.



If you want to be talking about animals, you do it.

If you want to talk about any kind of social issue, you make room to do that and you don’t seem to worry about what the outcome of that.

Going to be, you’ve somehow stay very, very true to who you are.

And I think that’s just an incredible accomplishment for someone to just bet on exactly what they are in for it to work out and it’s really, really impressive.


And I really am glad that I know you.

And I were friends.

I feel the same way about you.

All right.

Thanks for doing this.

I love you.

I love you, too.

Will kiss someday.



Well, we kiss a lot but now we don’t make out, but we didn’t even have to be a mega, just like a longer longer kiss.

Yeah, like one more, people are like, are they going to stop this?


I don’t think that’s going to happen.

You say that now but you know a lot of things ahead of us.

Yeah, I’m a relapse.

We may do Ecstasy together some point out.


Yeah, it’s very unlikely.

You but just there is a world in which that could happen.


I don’t want to, I don’t want to end this on a bad because it was so good.


Your I can always cut it out.

None of that’s going to happen.

I love you.


Stay tuned.

If you’d like to hear my good friend and producer, Monica Patman point out, the many errors in the podcast.

You just heard Monica, this was a short episode.


So I I like to think that you’re lifting was like this week was, it was there’s only there’s only a few things.


Some of that was just clarification.

Not even, not even someone was wrong or egregious.

You were wrong one.

Okay, at least once.


Okay, good.

Ellen, talks about how she started out as an MC and a club in New Orleans and that is Clyde’s.


Comedy Club.

Oh, climb Clyde’s.

Comedy club.

Is it still around?

We do not remember.

That’s a hard thing to remember.

Yeah, and then you guys were talking about Sinbad’s clothing.

Okay, and your you were just referring them as big baggy pants, but they have a name Harem pant.


Oh, yeah.

He he wore a lot of harem pants, which is super fitting for someone.

With the name, Sinbad ride to your choice.

Did not have a choice.

He could have never worn overalls, been Sinbad, although he probably could have pulled them all.

He probably had Harem overalls super billowy at the bottom tight on top.


Top a lot of loud colors to.

Did I tell all I didn’t have time to tell the story because it was such a short interview and I knew it but I was shooting a movie.

I can’t even explain how deep in the valley.

I was.

And if you’re not from Los Angeles, you know, the the further away from the center, you go, you’re just deeper deeper deeper Valley, you know, the concentration, obviously of movie stars out in that, the Deep recesses of the valley, they fall off pretty dramatically.


And we were shooting this movie at a carpet store that we had bought out the afternoon for they shut down in.

Sinbad showed up while we were shooting and he was not happy that his carpets are shut down.

It was one of the weirder celebrity sightings I’ve ever had because I just couldn’t understand why Sinbad a was shopping for carpet beat.


Why was he shopping for carpet there?

That’s interesting.

And he I’m sure he had come become accustomed to the star treatment and he couldn’t believe.

They weren’t going to open up the carpet store for him.

And let me also say I may be filling in the blanks there.


He may have taken it.

Well, it appeared from My point of view that he was, he was there for a while, long after he learned that it was shut down for the day.



It was very interesting and he wasn’t dressed as loudly as I would have liked him to have been.


No, it’s not.


Like I saw a huge burst of color walk through the door then looked and it was Sinbad.

It was more.

I noticed it was Sinbad and then there was no real accoutrement to back up the Persona really a bummer God.

I hope I’m right.

That it was Sinbad.

Are you, are you?


This could this be defamation of character to have been accused of shopping for carpet deep deep valley in the middle, the afternoon, I like it because it shows that we all need carpet.

Even Sinbad needs carpet.

That’s right.

Well, he special again and keeping needs of flying Magic Carpet.


Maybe he was to try fashion.

His own man.


Okay, what else?

Okay, Ellen, brought up Charo.

And you said she was South American and she She said she was Latin American.

I just want to clarify.

She’s from Spain.

Okay, so neither, yeah.



Yeah, right, although, if she said, Latina did she say Latina?

No, I don’t think so.


May, I don’t Espanola.

I just want to put into context.

Ellen getting the nod of approval from Johnny Carson because there are so many huge comedians who did not invited to the couch.


Yeah, like Jerry Seinfeld unimaginable, right guys, Gerald Seinfeld.

Of the most accomplished comedians in the history of the art Farm.


And not get called over.

Yeah, Jim Carrey A really quick.

Do you think that this cuz Carson was an anti-semite?


Wait, are you?

Um, I’m just trying to start a terrible rumor.

Oh, okay.

I thought is trying to, you know.


We’ve talked about this, you know, we try to make sense of things.

After the fact, when things don’t we are not actively.

Yes, we’re uncomfortable with things not having made sense.


So when I hear Gerald Seinfeld was not invited to the couch, I think There has to be an explanation because it sure as fucking that, he wasn’t funny.

Yeah, that’s true.

So I go straight to Carson was an anti-semite, which of course, is not true at all.

Not true.

All these comedians when they go on our at the beginning to come deal.


Some people don’t know them yet, but then often the next day, people would know that because they get huge 12 million people are watching or whatever is that one of the facts are going to bring up because I think I took a stab, ya.

So anyway, yeah.


When I was saying it.


Oh, Jim Carrey didn’t get invited over.

Wow, so maybe he hated tall people.

Yeah, we got to figure this out.

We got to explain these anomalies may be off night.


That’s the other thing.

If you’re putting all your eggs in this one person little finger waving you over.



Yeah, be bloated.

He could have diarrhea that day and he wants to get the fuck off that stage deal with his business.


Also, you know, some people’s comedy really lends itself?

Well, to a Because they don’t give you any time, which is almost shocking that Ellen’s went so well because she has a very paste cut.


Casual delayed.


Or Chappelle.

I think of Chappelle trying to go on a talk show and be funny in 3 minutes.

It’s not uni.

He needs to kind of like bring you into his world for a little while before you that’s true.


Are on your ass.



So here it is.

You said, Carson had 20 million viewers.



I was really out on a limb on that one.

And then you said, why don’t they?

People were watching it, which would be 20 million, right?


Because there were two hundred and fifty, six million people in the US and 1992 have been 84 million.


So it would have been about 1 in 13 people.

Okay, but do we even know how many people were really watching them?

The final week of his run in 92 average 19.4, 30 million.

Oh my God, that’s the final week.

So we can, we can assume that that was inflated.

I tried to find average numbers in microphone couldn’t be done.


I should have gone up.

Box Office Mojo.


I don’t think anyone had a maybe TV by the Numbers.

That’s another website.

I like to go to to check up on things.


TV by the Numbers, you guys were talking about how much other comedians were getting paid for their shows around that time.


And you said you’d said, like, oh Drew Carey made a lot o on his.


Is his Network show Carey Show.


I had heard, 250 million.

Did I say that out loud during?

I don’t know, but according to my research now, I feel nervous.

Said 750,000 per episode.


Well, right, but that, that’s not any of the money.

Those guys made the way a TV contract works, right?

He was getting 750 Grand show up in film the men.

He was getting a residual when they re aired it, but way more importantly, is he owned a significant percentage of that show and when it got sold into syndication, for example, the 70 show, which I don’t think was as big as The Drew Carey Show, their first cycle of syndication went for like seven hundred and eighty million dollars the Seinfeld catalogs gone four billion.


Ian’s of dollars.

That’s how Jerry Seinfeld ended up with.

Yeah, whatever.

He’s rumored to have 100 million or whatever.

So yeah.

I only meant that Drew Carey ended up with 250 when they sold his show, or whatever.

You said, 250 million.

I have always heard that he made 250 million dollars.


I don’t think you said that on this podcast, but but not from his fee for acting, but from his ownership, once it was packaged and sold 50,000 and episode is good fucking money down.

No one makes anything like that.

No, yeah.

Okay, that’s all.


Oh, great.

Well, did you like sitting with her?

You we’re on the way there.

We were discussing.

The fact that you’re regularly around a lot of famous people.

And that, and I’m not a famous person and you’re not a famous person, right?

You have been in movies, but whatever.

And that you’re never really.

I’m not Stars.

You’re not stars for at all.


But then when we left, there you go.

I felt a little nervous on the couch.

Yeah, right.



It was weird.

We were, yeah, we had just been talking about it.

And I’d said it’s so weird because I’m not, I’m not nervous around anyone anymore.

Not Starstruck, I don’t think there’s anyone.

I could meet now that I would besides Maybe Barack Obama being the only exclusion your politics out of this podcast.


I love him.

So, how do you do?



I was just noting that and then we got there and we were sitting, we were, we were waiting a little bit as, as we were setting up building the tension.

Yeah, because she’s a very busy lady, as you said, and we had such a short window and I started to get nervous that she was going to be in our presence.


And then I just had to Throw out my whole, my whole thesis from earlier.

You think any of it had to do with the fact that she’s such a powerful woman that like being in the presence of someone that has accomplished so much as a woman.

Do you think that was a aspect of it?


Oh, that’s interesting.

Maybe yeah, because I think like, I think part of Oprah’s power is not just that she was that success for that.

She made a billion dollars, but that she did it as a black female.

There’s something that is just quadruple.

E impressive about That’s yes, I mean, yeah, it’s overcoming much more odds, but I don’t think that’s registering for me as much as she’s a lesbian female.


Yeah, again, but that’s still not.

I feel I feel like are you allowed to say, I just said that word out loud and I felt like, I’m not supposed to say it anymore.

Can we still say lesbian?



It just felt weird coming out, you know, sometimes you know, like I feel like my grandparent.


Yeah, we haven’t like my grandmother thinks she’s being very respectful when she She says someone’s colored like because that her childhood that was as good as you could do, right?

So she thinks she’s being really respectful and it is rough when you’re at a restaurant.

And she’s talking about the colored people in her neighborhood or whatever.


And I just want to go.

Like guys she really thinks she’s doing the right thing, African-American, right?


I think it’s okay.

That you just said that.

I think she said it, but this is a weird thing to say, maybe it’s not true.

But when you meet men in your woman, There’s more involved than just like, taking them in at face value.


There’s like other things that come into play when you’re meeting men, like whether you’re attracted them or not.



Nothing to say why.

I don’t know you’re an animal and animals.

Number one job is a procreate.

So subconscious idea that none of us are not thinking about it. 24/7, a fucking joke.


So yeah, the one thing we’re here to do is eat, but it’s not intentional.

I think it’s it’s not like you meet someone in your think, am I attracted?

It’s just there’s there’s a subconscious thing happening.

You’re evaluating.

And a little bit more different way.

Well, Anne in a weird sense.

Now that you’re saying it that does put a little bit of the power in your lap because you’re like, well, I’m making a decision.



What I’m attracted to this person or not.

So you are you at that moment are kind of in the driver’s seat.

Yeah, so we could write sighs.

They’re absolutely power.

But when you meet Ellen, that’s not there.

So it is you’re just confronted with just her at face value and yeah, and her power and all of her skills, and it’s a little Intimidating.


Yeah, absolutely.

So I’ve been kind of wanting to do this for a while and I’m going to attempt to do it off the cuff because I think in this podcast, we’re going to have time on this one because she was short.

I often reference the 12-step program that I’m a part of and I say that I do think there are some elements in that program that could be very useful to all people alcoholic or not.


And let me also say this sometimes you’ll hear me reluctantly, say a and I prefer to call it a 12-step program and that is because in the Opals of the program, we are supposed to remain anonymous at the level of press and media, and I have broken that and I’ve made a very, it was a, you know, a well thought out or not.


I put a lot of time into whether or not, I would break my own anonymity publicly.

I ultimately lean towards the fact that I think more good can be done than harm.

If I’m honest about it.

And someone might think, you know, that I’m someone they might want to emulate and then they might find sobriety.


And so, you know I’ve pissed off.

Probably a lot of people in a by talking about it.

The more important reason that I don’t generally say a specifically is because I’m a relapse.

I’ve been sober 13 years, but I just as likely to relapse tomorrow maybe as I was on day 15 of this.

And so I do not want to be the face of a a because if it fails, if I fail at my sobriety, it is not a failure of a 8 as a failure of me.


I’ll have stopped working it.

The way it needs to be worked.

So I just want to be very clear about.

I am hesitant to talk about it so much because I don’t want to be the poster child.

And I don’t want if I fail for it to be a A mark against a.

A with all that said I want to tell you about my interpretation of the four-step because I feel like it is the most breakthrough kind of thought process.


It’s changed my life tremendously.

It’s a really clever in the way.

It’s constructed because it gets you to do something that you probably wouldn’t be able to do if constructed any other way.

So the very first thing that they ask you to do is just make a list of people that you’re resentful towards, right?


So you might say, I hate mrs.

Glenn D.

She was my third grade teacher.

She always Put me in the back of the class.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah outright.

So mrs.


He’s on the list.

Then you might have an ex-boyfriend on the list.

You might have someone you work with, you know, this is this list can vary.

I’ve gone over many guys, four steps with them, you know, some people put 15 people on this list.


Some people have 150 people.

It doesn’t really matter.

You do want to get at least, you know, I think around 20 people on this list and it’s throughout your whole lifetime.

So it’s just a list of people, you’re resentful towards are angry at so that’s on the left column and then you make another column and you say so Jerry, I resent.


What is it?

You resent about Jerry.


So the next column is, he’s always trying.

And to get me fired, he’s always telling my boss.

If I’m late, or I didn’t turn in something, right.

So that’s easy to answer.

Why, the why do I hate Jerry?

Well, here’s why he’s always trying to get me fired.

And then in the third column, you’re going to say, what fear of yours is being triggered by this.


So if Jerry’s always trying to get me fired, well, that threatens my sense of Economic Security, right?

So I’ll write down my fear of economic insecurity and then ultimately what you could then think about is.

Well if I’m never late, there’s really nothing for Jared tell my boss, right?


So I I do play a role.

All in this minimally.

If I don’t turn in my shit late, there’s nothing to report on me.

So I do play a role in this.

The me hating Jerry.

I’m part of this but way more importantly.

And I encourage anyone to try this if you make a list of 30 people or 120 people or whatever, you will start to see so quickly that all these people you’re upset with trigger the same three fears over and over and over and over again.


So for me, I have a huge fear of economic insecurity growing up kind of poor at the beginning.

So there’s a Lot of people on my list that they just trigger the same fear over and over again.

And then I have a fear of my status.

I’m so worried about this person was trying to make me look stupid or it make me look less than or whatever.


I’m mad at Mary because she said this or that.

So I have a big fear of that.

I won’t be high enough status or that I’m less than.

And then I have a fear that people think I’m stupid.

I’ve talked about that on here and that comes from being dyslexic, or whatever.

And, so, when I’m done with this whole four-step list, I now have a sense of These three fears that are basically running my life because I am, there’s people I hate because of these fears.


I’m certainly doing a lot of my Character defects or probably to support this fear, I have.

And now, I have a roadmap of what to attack, because if I don’t have any fears, I’m not gonna have any resentments.

Did you really can’t be triggered by people that aren’t triggering?

Fears of yours?


The example, I always like to give is, you could put 100 people in a room, put me on a stage and every one of them could be shouting Dax.

You’re too short.

You’re too short.

Or embarrassingly small.

You’re just a midget.

You’re so embarrassing, Lee short, I could withstand that for 10 hours and it would always be comical to me because I know I’m 6 2 or 3.


I have no fear of being short and it just will have no effect on me.

But if you put me in a room with just one person who’s saying, you’re egomaniacal at times and narcissistic and you talk too much, you need everyone’s approval.

That’s going to get on my nerves right quick because those are real character flaws I have.


And I act those ways to try to elevate my status.

That is because I have a fear status or to overcome this.

That people think I’m stupid again.

If I can get my arms around the things, I’m afraid of it’s incredible.

How much Downstream business?


It takes care of, and there are steps you can take to confront your fears.

If I have a fear of Economic Security, then I should do some real Financial Planning and I should really crunch the numbers and find out what it takes me to stay alive for a year or support my kids, and I should have a real number not one that I just never.


Feel safe, you know, I should really put some effort into going what’s worth being afraid of and what’s not and then, you know, my status a thing I like to do is to confront that fear of mine is to just every time I start comparing myself to someone else like an alarm in my head will go off going.


Here we go.

This is you, you’re always going to feel worse.

When you compare yourself to somebody and you’re not going to feel like your higher status at the end of this in, your really only entitled to compare yourself to an older version.

Have yourself a previous version because really, your only, your only goal is to make yourself better.


And that’s something I can do.

I can also help other people who need my help.

Because when I’m engaged in that activity, I kind of stopped thinking about status and I start recognizing the truer and more meaningful things about being a human on this planet.

But anyways, let’s just a tip.


I thought, I’d throw up this way.

You don’t have to go become an alcoholic, just to join a a, to learn, how to do a four step, but it is fun, especially in a relationship.

If you start talking about a topic.

And you feel your heart rate accelerating in your blood pressure Rising.

It’s a good time to go.


I better fears being triggered and I know what fears I have.


So which one of these fears is being triggered, my fear of Abandonment, my fear of you know, this or that it’s very helpful.

When you start to fight with a loved one to take 15 minutes, go into a room and really get honest about what fears being triggered and recognize that this is something from childhood and it’s not real in the moment right now and then go out and tell your loved one.


You know what?

When you said that, it really triggered, my fear of Abandonment and that’s what I makes actually fearing.

I don’t care.

If you go on a trip to Spain, I just that I felt that way and then your loved one could tell you.

I will never abandon you and that may solve everything.

So that’s my two cents on that and maybe I’ll tell some other steps if that was of use or value to anyone else.


I’m glad you shared that.

Oh, I really am.

Because I feel like getting to know you over the past couple of years has really changed the way I think.

About those things because you talked about that so often.

Yeah, we’ve had fun.

Kind of like going through things, if they’re hot button topics for you in the moment.


Well, kind of dissect them and it’s fun, right?

Yeah, and it’s very helpful.

All right.

I love you.

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