You could say that Diane Keaton has made a career out of appearing, well, endearingly goofy. She's a smart, successful, Oscar-winning actress to be sure -- but on talk shows and in movie roles alike, she often comes across as being at least metaphorically pixilated.
On "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Tuesday, that may have been literal: She held a big glass of red wine on ice while discussing her new film, "The Big Wedding," and things got goofier from there.
Her character in the film is interested in Tantric sex, and Keaton was hesitant about talking about that on the show, but DeGeneres encouraged her: "Let's try it. Let's see how far you're going."
"I don't want to get taken off the air," said Keaton.
DeGeneres laughed. "You're going to be in jail for profanity, public drunkenness...."
Keaton began: "The character I played was somebody else, so I'm not going to be blamed for this," she said, noting that her "Wedding" character had an interest in Tantric sex. "The definition is something like when you have Tantric sex you go for a long time and you have that thing called the orgasm for nine hours.... That's ridiculous!"
It may have been a bit of a strain on the 67-year-old actress: "I'm glad this movie is over," she laughed. "It's too weird." Then she had to fan herself "to calm down" and noted "the wine is not helping. I think I gotta go.
But Ellen DeGeneres wasn't letting her get away with that so easily, asking her about her relationships and the fact that she's never been married. "Oh, I'd like to get married," said Keaton. "What happened was nobody ever asked me."
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming ... until Nov. 25, 2015, when "Finding Dory" will swim into theaters everywhere. Ellen DeGeneres announced on her talk show April 2 that Pixar is finally making a sequel to the 2003 animated classic "Finding Nemo." The new film will center on DeGeneres' character, Dory the short-memoried regal blue tang who befriended Nemo's dad Marlin in the original.
"They say I'm one of the top five contenders to play Dory again," DeGeneres joked on her show. She went on to confirm that she would be voicing Dory again, and that she had read the script. "It's hilarious, it's fantastic, it's warm, it's everything you want it to be," she told her audience.
"Nemo" fans know the original film well, and they're certainly hoping DeGeneres is right in her enthusiastic endorsement of the sequel script. Here are seven things we'd like to see in the new flick.
Dory's memory loss It just wouldn't be a film with "Dory" in the title without that character's infamous short-term memory loss. She managed to keep "42 Wallaby Way" in her cute little blue head, but very little else. We're imagining her memory loss is what leads to her getting lost in the first place. We wouldn't mind a reprise of "Just keep swimming" and possibly Dory's famed whale imitation, either.
Pixar / AP
Ellen DeGeneres will return as Dory in a 2015 sequel to the beloved "Finding Nemo."
Nemo and Marlin It's called "Finding Dory," but who's going to be hunting for her? We're guessing her clownfish pals Nemo and Marlin will try and return the favor in appreciation of Dory's good-natured -- if sometimes bumbling -- help in the first film.
Dory helped Marlin find Nemo, so will Nemo and Marlin team up to help find Dory?
The Tank Gang Oh yes, those lively characters Nemo met in a dentist's office tank have to come back, don't they? At the end of Nemo, they'd all escaped into the ocean, only to discover they couldn't get out of their plastic bags. We're going to assume Bloat, the porcupine fish voiced by Brad Garrett, popped his own baggie with his spines, then freed the others.
John Ratzenberger The "Cheers" mailman has been called "Pixar's lucky charm," and he always voices a role in any Pixar film (so far he's done 13). In "Nemo," he voiced an entire school of moonfish, who formed arrows and other items to help and entertain Dory and Marlin. His scene was short but memorable -- maybe he'll get a little more voice time in this film.
Crush and Squirt Dudes, we totally need a return of the gnarly sea turtles who speak like surfers, Crush and his son Squirt. Gimme some fin, dude! But no hurling on the shell, just waxed it.
Crush and Squirt, the sea turtles, were a beloved part of the first movie and should return for the sequel.
Seagulls Yes, they're annoying as anything to Marlin, but the seagulls, who mindlessly bop around chanting "Mine! Mine! Mine!" and hunting for grub are a part of "Nemo" legend. And speaking of the birds of "Nemo," we wouldn't mind seeing the Aussie pelican Nigel (voice of Geoffrey Rush) making a comeback.
Nemo's school chums Marlin was apprehensive about sending his only son off to school, but Nemo seemed to be having a ball with Mr. Ray and the rest of his fishy classmates. Maybe we can be reunited with the schoolyard gang once again, even if briefly. We'd love to see one of their classes -- maybe teach them not to swim after a boat this time.
Ellen DeGeneres with one of her People's Choice Awards.
By Randee Dawn, TODAY contributor
It's been 10 seasons since "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" first aired, and audiences can't get enough of it. And it looks like they won't have to give up their favorite dancing talk show host any time soon -- the series has been renewed through the 2016-17 season by its core syndicated group, Ken Werner, president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution and Valari Stabb, president of NBC Owned Television Stations, announced in a statement Monday.
"Ellen" is the No. 1 nationally syndicated talk show (it is tied with "Dr. Phil") for the past season, and has seen a surge in ratings this past season. The show has 38 Daytime Emmy awards, and 13 People's Choice Awards. In recent months, celebrities have used their appearances to discuss a bed-wetting childhood and a decision to go commando, among other things. Degeneres is considered by many to be one of television's favorite talk show hosts, though she's not admired as much by the group One Million Moms, which was upset by her ads for JCP.
"Ellen is quite simply the best," said Werner in the statement. "Day in and day out she and her team produce a unique and compelling hour of entertainment which is appointment television for legions of women."
DeGeneres regularly gives out "Ellen Show" underwear to guests, and displayed a photo a reader had sent in of McGraw with the waistband of his "Ellen" undies peeking out. After McGraw teased her for only giving him one pair in nine show appearances, she presented him with an entire box, and then asked if he was wearing them currently.
"These pants are too tight to put underwear on," McGraw said, blushing. "Now I've really embarrassed my daughters."
But McGraw also told DeGeneres he'd wear the new pairs "with pride and honor."
McGraw's latest album, "Two Lanes of Freedom," was released Tuesday.
Ellen DeGeneres arrives for the the Mark Twain Prize ceremony in Washington, DC, on Monday.
By Patrick Rucker, Reuters
WASHINGTON -- Ellen DeGeneres received the highest U.S. award for achievement in comedy on Monday.
Receiving the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center, the national showcase for arts, DeGeneres was praised as a pioneering female comic whose edgy variety show has helped define the format for daytime television in recent years.
But several guests also highlighted the comedian's groundbreaking decision 15 years ago to go public with her sexual identity in a career-rattling move the comedian said was a necessary step for personal dignity.
"I did it for me and it happened to help a lot of other people and cause a big ruckus," DeGeneres, 54, told reporters before the tribute, summarizing her decision in 1997 to come out publicly as gay in tandem with her on-screen character in a move that sparked controversy and prompted some advertisers to flee.
The Twain prize, named after the 19th century satirist, is the nation's highest honor for achievements in comedy.
A native of New Orleans, DeGeneres spent her 20s as an itinerant comedian on the Los Angeles nightclub circuit until prominent spots on late night television led to her own prime time sitcom.
The original show, "Ellen," featured DeGeneres in the lead role as a bookshop owner in an idiosyncratic neighborhood. While the show got a boost after the star came out of the closet, it was over a few years later.
She later returned to the standup stage, and hosted the 2001 Emmy awards, which was postponed twice after the September 11 attacks -- a somewhat subdued celebration that allowed her to try to lighten the national mood.
Several guests said that DeGeneres brought a compassion to her comedy that is rare in the field.
"The rest of us comics come from really messed-up, dark childhoods. She might have come from that, I don't know. But it's not what she puts forth," said John Leguizamo, who joined the tributes. "She just puts out this beautiful goodwill."
In the last 10 seasons on television, DeGeneres has left her mark with a daytime variety show which she often uses as a way to promote a commitment to gay equality.
"For a lot of people, Ellen is their only homosexual friend," said late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.
DeGeneres is the fourth woman to receive the award since its inception in 1998.
Comedian and actor Will Ferrell won last year. Past award winners have included Bob Newhart, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby.
Monday night's ceremony will be broadcast on PBS on Oct. 30.
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi haven't changed their minds about starting a family.
When DeGeneres, 54, appeared on the "Tonight Show With Jay Leno" Sept. 6, the daytime talk show host was asked about ongoing rumors that she and de Rossi, 39, are in search of a sperm donor to start a family. (The women wed at their home in the summer of 2008, during the brief period when same-sex marriage was legal in California.)
"I heard you and Portia are having a baby," host Jay Leno, 62, told DeGeneres. "Is this true?"
"I'm here for your sperm," DeGeneres deadpanned. "That is not true. I don't know why people want this. I've said it so many times: We are not going to have a child. And they say that we're looking for the right donor. Although, you would be a good donor, so I'll keep it in mind, just in case. I mean, it would have beautiful blue eyes, and a good sense of humor, and a good shot at a NBC show. We would do well."
"I don't want to have one. I don't want to have six. I don't want to have any," the funnywoman said. "They're precious to look at and I love them; we have nieces and I love them very much. [But I] don't want 'em."
In her 2011 book, "Seriously...I'm Kidding," DeGeneres made light of the pressure to procreate, writing that "people are constantly asking Portia and me if we are going to have children. We thought about it. We love to be around children after they've been fed and bathed. But we ultimately decided that we don't want children of our own. There is far too much glass in our house."
All those laughs have definitely paid off. Fans — including Ryan Seacrest and Jimmy Kimmel — cheered as funnywoman Ellen DeGeneres was honored with the 2,477th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today.
"I'm getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today at 11am," she tweeted. "Come watch me! Also, I'd love a ride home. 6270 Hollywood Blvd."
Once she arrived, Ellen was more than thrilled to see the crowd of people who wanted to experience this moment with her. She tweeted, "So excited to see fans here at the W Hollywood to see me get my star on the Walk of Fame! Come down if you can!"
During her speech, DeGeneres did what she does best — crack jokes. "It is amazing. I spent my entire career trying to conduct myself in a certain way making sure no one walks all over me only to get to a point where people are going to walk all over me. It means so much to me that everyone showed up."
WASHINGTON -- Ellen DeGeneres, who broke ground in 1997 as the first lead character on prime-time TV to reveal she was gay, is winning the nation's top humor prize.
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Tuesday that DeGeneres will receive the 15th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. She will be honored Oct. 22 with a lineup of star performers in a tribute show that will be recorded for broadcast at a later date.
In a written statement, DeGeneres said receiving the same award as past honorees Bill Cosby, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell makes her wonder, "why didn't I get this sooner?"
It was 15 years ago -- just before the humor prize was created -- when DeGeneres came out on Time magazine's cover and as her character on the sitcom "Ellen" to a record 46 million viewers. The popular show began losing viewers, though, and was canceled a year later. DeGeneres said at the time that ABC caved in to fear and abandoned the show. She faced tough questions over whether the sitcom was "too gay" and if she had torpedoed her career by pushing a "gay agenda."
"When I'm accused of becoming political, I'm showing love," DeGeneres told ABC's Diane Sawyer in a 1998 interview. "How is that political to teach love and acceptance?"
The rejection was enough to send DeGeneres into a deep depression.
"Ellen" paved the way, though, for future shows to also break the taboo of showing gay characters. "Will and Grace" would follow, along with "Glee," "Modern Family" and others.
DeGeneres bounced back with movie roles, including as the voice of a lead character in the animated film "Finding Nemo." She also has a hit talk show now in its ninth season, best-selling books and had a stint as the fourth judge on "American Idol."
Cappy McGarr, an executive producer for the Mark Twain Prize show and a Kennedy Center board member, said DeGeneres has a special style of observational humor in the tradition of Twain. She also makes people laugh across political lines.
"She's not just a comedian," he said. "She's really a miracle worker. She got the president to dance, the first lady to do pushups and (Republican) Tom Delay to laugh."
The New Orleans native got her start as an emcee at a local comedy club in her hometown. In 1982, a videotape of her club performance won DeGeneres Showtime's "Funniest Person in America." By 1986, she appeared on "The Tonight Show" and became the first female comedian summoned to Johnny Carson's desk to chat about her performance.
Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres said she was "proud and happy" that retail store J.C. Penney had stood by her in the face of a conservative anti-gay campaign, and said there was no such thing as a "pro-gay bandwagon."
Breaking her silence on the furor, DeGeneres, one of America's best known gay celebrities, also poked fun at the One Million Moms group who had urged J.C. Penney to drop her as a spokeswoman because she is a lesbian and said they would boycott the store.
"For those of you are just tuning in for the first time, it's true. I'm gay. I hope you were sitting down," DeGeneres told viewers of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
"They (One Million Moms) wanted to get me fired and I am proud and happy to say that J.C. Penney stuck by their decision to make me their spokesperson," she said.
The group, a division of the socially conservative American Family Association, claimed that J.C. Penney was trying to gain a new target market by "jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon" with its hiring of DeGeneres to revamp their clothing and household brand.
"Being gay or pro-gay isn't a bandwagon. You don't get a free ride anywhere. There's no music. And occasionally we'll sing 'We Are Family' but that's about it," she said.
She also noted that the One Million Moms group "only have 40,000 members on their (Facebook) page. So they're rounding up to the nearest million and I get that."
DeGeneres, who has some 9 million followers on Twitter, said she preferred to avoid talking about such matters on her show "and normally I try not to pay attention to my haters, but this time I'd like to talk about it because my haters are my motivators."
DeGeneres made her comments at a taping on Tuesday for the show that will be broadcast on Wednesday.
Ellen DeGeneres, right, and her wife, actress Portia DeGeneres.
By Kurt Schlosser, NBC News
J.C. Penney is turning its back on One Million Moms, a group which called for the retailer to dump talk show host Ellen DeGeneres as its national spokeswoman because she is gay.
In an emailed statement to Yahoo! Shine on Friday, J.C. Penney confirmed it "stands behind its partnership with Ellen DeGeneres."
One Million Moms, a project of the American Family Association, earlier said that "DeGeneres is not a true representation of the type of families that shop at their store. The majority of JC Penney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there." The group claims to be "the most powerful tool you have to stand against the immorality, violence, vulgarity and profanity the entertainment media is throwing at your children."
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) applauded J.C. Penney's decision to stick with DeGeneres.
"This week Americans spoke out in overwhelming support of LGBT people and J.C. Penney’s decision not to fire Ellen simply for who she happens to love,” said Herndon Graddick, senior director of programs and communications at GLAAD.
GLAAD says it has received nearly 25,000 signatures on a website dedicated to showing support for J.C. Penney and DeGeneres.
LOS ANGELES -- One Million Moms -- a project of the American Family Association -- is very angry at JC Penney.
No, not because it sells sweater vests (heck, Rick Santorum is a fan of those), but because the Texas-based department store has hired Ellen DeGeneres as a spokeswoman.
And DeGeneres is -- cue the scary music -- gay, and open about it.
"Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families," the million (or so) moms write on their website. "DeGeneres is not a true representation of the type of families that shop at their store. The majority of JC Penney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there."
One Million Moms is asking people to call JC Penney to complain.
With this campaign, One Million Moms, which claims to be "the most powerful tool you have to stand against the immorality, violence, vulgarity and profanity the entertainment media is throwing at your children," is going after one of the country's most-beloved television hosts.
The moms want JC Penney "to replace Ellen DeGeneres as their new spokesperson immediately and remain neutral in the culture war."
Fat chance, says the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
"A vast majority of Americans today support Ellen as well as their LGBT friends and family members," Herndon Graddick, a GLAAD spokesman said in a written statement. "Selecting an out performer who has inspired and entertained millions, is not only a smart business practice, but a reflection of how LGBT Americans today are an integral and valued part of the fabric of our culture."
DeGeneres' daytime talk show has more viewers than the American Family Association has moms. Between Jan. 16 and Jan. 22, "Ellen" averaged 3.38 million viewers -- or 2.38 million more people than the AFA has moms.
American Family Association did not return a request for comment.