If Ellen knows one thing it is where the zeitgeist is
Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable (2018): 7 out of 10: Ellen DeGeneres’ first stand up special in fifteen years proves to be a fun, refreshing collection of stories and jokes. One part one-woman show, one part callback to her stand-up sets of the nineties, and one part greatest bits from her talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show; Relatable mixes and matches these various elements to keep her diehard fans on the edge of their seats.
There is some edge to the one-woman show sections of this stand-up with Ellen talking about the death of a young lover or about losing all her friends and becoming depressed. Ellen, though, has such a nice demeanor that these stories come across without the bitterness one would expect. This takes some edge off the individual stories, but the overall effect fits better with the rest of the show.
She also does some bits I assume are from her talk show. Showing pictures of cute cats and dancing like an elderly white person to rap music. These have an America’s Funniest Home videos kind of feel to them. They are okay but I had already forgotten them the next day and had to look them up for this write-up.
Her actual stand up bits are both the most pleasant surprise and a bit of a trip down memory lane. Simple, well crafted observational humor of the type Ellen was well known for when both she and Paula Poundstone ruled the female comic roost. Some jokes are familiar (A junk drawer bit really?) but all the observations are very relatable which conveniently is the title of her piece.
For a second opinion, my wife laughed out loud and seemed to enjoy herself even more than I did.
Ellen seems to ride the same wave that Jim Gaffigan has been riding recently with simple and pleasant observational humor making a comeback against the Sarah Silvermans and the Bill Burrs of the world. If Ellen knows one thing, it is where the zeitgeist is.
Even though she dresses as if she were Steve Jobs, Ellen comes across as a person who is being nice. This differs from being a nice person, mind you. I have the feeling she wanted to tear into some people, places, and things, but she contained her rage cause it was off-brand. That is a shame. As pleasant as her observations are about too slow drivers or mirrors in shoe stores, one wonders what an Ellen off the hook would be like. I hope we don’t have to wait another fifteen years to find out.