Portia De Rossi Cautioned Wife Ellen DeGeneres About Returning to Stand-Up: ‘I Was Really Wrong'
"I was kind of discouraging her from going back to stand-up. Not because she is not brilliant at it, but she has a job," Portia de Rossi told PEOPLE
“I shouldn’t say this, but the truth is, I was kind of discouraging her from going back to stand-up. Not because she is not brilliant at it, but she has a job … right?! And it is a full-time job,” de Rossi told PEOPLE at the GENERAL PUBLIC x RH Celebration in West Hollywood on Wednesday. GENERAL PUBLIC is de Rossi’s new art company, which uses 3-D technology to create prints of paintings.
“She is so busy, and I knew that having to write her own material for an hour stand-up special, and travel with it, was going to be exhausting,” added the Arrested Development star, 45. “So I was suggesting that she put it on hold until she was done with her talk show, but, my wife is very impatient, and, a little like me, once she has an idea she just can’t shake it, and she just has to see it through.”
Luckily, de Rossi doesn’t mind admitting she’s wrong — in fact, she’s glad she misjudged the situation.
“I am happy to say that I was wrong,” she continued. “I was really wrong, because it has given her energy, it has invigorated her, and I had actually never seen her on-stage and doing stand-up before, I’ve seen her specials, but never in the flesh, and she is really good.”
DeGeneres, whose last special was 2003’s Here and Now on HBO, will kick off her 8-show run in August, visiting San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.
However, de Rossi does have one complaint about her wife’s return to stand-up: DeGeneres “never” works on new material with her.
“I beg her! I say ‘Just practice. Just say it! Say it out loud!’ ” de Rossi told PEOPLE with a laugh.
She added, “She is brilliant at it! Of all of the things that I have ever seen her do, I am like, ‘Oh my God, This is your thing!’ ”
De Rossi also went on to share how DeGeneres “was fully supportive” about her decision to quit acting and make GENERAL PUBLIC her full-time gig.
“She was very encouraging because she knew how passionate I am about art,” she explained, adding that while she still loves acting, “I just wanted to get into the ’new’, and really challenge myself, to see what it would be like to go to an office every day, and to manage a staff, and to figure out a ‘growth strategy’, negotiate ‘deal points’, and to work with artists, and to work with these great, crusty-old printing guys that have never seen anything like this before. “
“I just wanted to come up with an alternative that could bring some of the elements from fine art and make them more available to more people,” she added.
During an appearance on DeGeneres’ daytime talk show in May, de Rossi opened up about why she decided to quit acting and start a business.
“I kind of knew what acting would look like for me for the next 10, 20 years,” she said, adding that she made the decision “about 18 months ago” when “Shonda Rhimes wrote me off Scandal.”
But after a conversation with Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz, she decided to make one exception.
“I called Mitch Hurwitz, who’s the creator of Arrested Development and I said, ‘If there is a season 5, I won’t be doing it because I quit acting. And he seemed really understanding and he totally got it. We had a great conversation, and then he wrote me into five episodes,” she said. “Don’t know how it happened, but yes, I am on season 5.”