Despite having not performed as a stand-up since she began hosting The Ellen DeGeneres Show 15 years ago, Ellen DeGeneres still draws quite a crowd. In a new hour-long special, she performs in a giant, beautiful theater, and lights up the stage the same way she does the one on the Warner Brothers lot where she can be seen every weekday. But this was a different kind of experience. So where was the Ellen Degeneres Netflix special Relatable filmed?
The idea for the comedy special came from a discussion with a friend about whether or not the now-infamous talk show host could still be considered “relatable.” Back on the stand-up comedy scene for the first time since 2003, she had very different experiences to draw from than in the past, and given her current wealth, they’re not as familiar to the likes of you and me. But her special was able to find a middle ground where she balanced jokes about being rich with the expectations put on her as a talk show host, as well as some of her legendary dance moves.
DeGeneres’ comedy special was filmed at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. The concert hall is known for being the place where the Seattle Symphony performs regularly, and is located in the downtown area. It’s been around for 20 years, but isn’t necessarily a regular location for comedians, unlike Largo. The prestige, grandness, and seating capacity of Benaroya Hall may have been what drew DeGeneres (along with directors Tig Notaro and Joel Gallen) to the location, which is interesting given the subject matter and overall idea of Relatable.
The special marks what could potentially be a turning point in DeGeneres’ career. While few would ever express doubts that she’s still hilarious, she doesn’t share all of her personality as a talk show host. As DeGeneres told The New York Times, she has to put on a little bit of a front in order to host the show. She expressed this a bit in the special, saying that she has to be extremely nice at all times in public, even when it’s hard. So being able to show a little bit of bite and comedic critique must have been a relief.
Fans of the special will likely want more of this more open DeGeneres, and there’s always the possibility that they’ll get it. Though she will be continuing as a host until at least 2020, this is one constantly working entertainer, and Netflix probably wouldn’t hesitate to invite her back. For now, this entertaining special is a treat, but maybe in the future, she’ll film another special in a different city. I’ll definitely be trying to get tickets for that one.
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