The Hollywood Reporter Unveils Comedy Class of 2013
If DeGeneres no longer is getting "paid in drink tickets," as she says of her stand-up days, and Harvey has long since given up sleeping in his car, the dues each paid on the club circuit have been invaluable in their current gigs.
"My start in stand-up allowed me to get comfortable performing in front of people and helped me develop a sense of timing," says the ICM-repped DeGeneres, 55. Her show is up 13 percent this season (tying Dr. Phil as the top talker) and is renewed through the 2016-17 season.
Meanwhile, Harvey, 56, stood out in a lackluster fall class (fellow daytime debutantes Ricki Lake and Jeff Probst were canceled) and is the No. 1 new talker among women 18-to-49; both shows run on NBC stations. "I come on right before Ellen, so up until then, I'm the funniest person on TV," says Harvey, who famously retired from stand-up in August with a sold-out Las Vegas performance that proved a pay-per-view hit.
Although he occasionally has to restrain himself from reverting to his more profane self on set, he says, "Stand-ups make great hosts because their objective usually is to have a good time." Counters DeGeneres: "Steve's objective is to get rich. The upkeep on his mustache alone -- do you know how many people work on that thing every day?"