(Interview with W Magazine, Feb 07)
W Magazine: Let's talk about the show. Did you expect daytime television to be so grueling?
Ellen: Every single day, it is my stamp on everything—it's my name—so I have to answer every question. I have to make every decision. I have an amazing team, I have amazing producers, I have amazing writers, but at the end of it, it's me making the decisions on the writing, the tone, the editing…. I want the show to reach people and to be something positive. Because the world is full of a lot of fear and a lot of negativity, and a lot of judgment. I just think people need to start shifting into joy and happiness. As corny as it sounds, we need to make a shift.
W Magazine: It has been suggested that it was just that attitude that got you the Oscars, because the show had gotten too nasty and satirical.
Ellen: For whatever reason it's just the right timing for me.... It is a difficult thing because no matter how popular you are as a stand-up—you can go out and fill a 10,000-seat arena and be smart and funny—it's delicate to host an awards show and know where your place is and know that it's not about you, that it's about the people who are nominated, and respect that, but at the same time have your moment to show them who you are.
W Magazine: Why do you think that so much comedy is so mean-spirited?
Ellen: It's easy. I mean, it's not like I don't do that sometimes, around my friends; it's not like I'm being duplicitous. It's just that I think that there's a time and place for something to be funny at an expense. But I don't think you do it publicly. When there's somebody at the other end of that joke, it's not fair.
W Magazine: What do you think of Kathy Griffin?
Ellen: Very mean... I know she had a big thing about wanting to be on the show, and we didn't book her. She did a whole thing that I banned her from the show. I didn't ban her from the show, because first you have to be on the show to be banned.
W Magazine: What about Sarah Silverman?
Ellen: I think she's hilarious. I think she's raunchy as can be, not my kind of comedy, but I think she's brilliant. Smart counts for a whole lot to me.
W Magazine: Borat?
Ellen: Sacha? I think Sacha [Baron Cohen], again, is brilliant. He's a friend of mine. I think he's hilarious. I haven't seen Borat, so I can't really speak [about it] yet. I don't like bathroom humor and I know that there's some pretty gross stuff in there. But some of the stuff he does is hilarious—as long as everybody is clear on the fact that he's pointing out how scary a lot of people are.