In 1980, a young Ellen DeGeneres was devastated when his girlfriend died in a car accident. In her twenties she was in love with someone who awakened Dagenais to the fragility of life.
It also culminated in her famous “phone call to God” routine, as she wanted to find out why her girlfriend had left when the fleas were still around. When she wrote Bit Danares was a runaway comic living in Louisiana, but she was certain that the material would give her a breakthrough moment in a comedy career – and that turned out to be right.
The night of his girlfriend’s death, Dagnes ignored him at a concert.
In 1980, a 22-year-old DeGeneres was living in New Orleans with his 23-year-old girlfriend, Kat Paroff. When there was roughness in their relationship – reportedly due to Perkoff’s infidelity – the younger woman walked out. Although the Degeneers did not want to end things for good, they needed some time before they could reconcile. So when asked to talk to Perkoff, when they met on DeGeneres’ brother’s band’s performance, DeGeneres made excuses that she couldn’t hear him.
A rebel Perkoff left the scene. After a while, DeGeneres headed home. On the drive, he saw a car that broke down in an accident, but did not stop at the crash site (sirens indicated emergency personnel were already on their way). The next day, Dagenais finds out that Perkoff had fallen victim to that accident.
The loss was ‘catastrophic’ and the grief of the DJNers prompted her first comic monologue
Perkoff’s death affected DeGennes’s world. In 2015, she explained on Oprah’s master class that she felt guilty if her girlfriend’s fatal ride could have been prevented if the two were together, or if she should have stopped at the time of the accident. Dagness was not public about her sexuality in 1980 (she came out in 1997). Speaking to Terry Gross on Fresh Air in 2002, he said of the situation, “It was hard even because I didn’t really grieve or accept how devastating it was for me.”
In addition, DeGeners soon had to move in, as she could not rent for the space she shared with Perkoff. He ended up in an uncontrolled cellar that was colonized by the flea. In 1994, the New York Times said, “I am thinking about this beautiful girl, thinking that this beautiful girl of 23 years who has just gone,” I lay on the floor. “So I started writing. God and ask why fleas are here and this person is not.”
Although DeGeneres had never written a comedy skit before – her early comedic forces focused more on brief jokes and props, such as when she displayed a piece of clothing on stage because she “wanted to try out some new material” – The sketch flowed out of him.
In 2018, on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert Podcast, Degeners said, “It just surfaced, I just wrote the whole thing and when I was finished, I read it and I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is fantastic Is. I’m going to do. It’s on Johnny Carson and I’m going to be the first woman in the history of the show to be called to sit. ‘
‘Phone Call to God’ earned her a coveted seat on Johnny Carson’s couch
In his “Phone Call to God” sketch, Degeners came to grips (God had many cases to attend, the waiting music was “Onward Christian Soldiers”) He was right about his appeal – the audience enjoyed it and related to the routine.
“Phone Call to God” helped Dagenaars win a showtime contest in 1982 that awarded him the title “Funniest Person in America”. In 1986, she joined The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson to perform the skit as part of her stand-up routine.
At the time, a spot on Carson’s show was the best way for a comedian to take his career to the highest level. And to be one of the few comics invited by Carson to join him on the couch, instead of retreating backstage after the set, was a special honor.
When DeGeneres finished his assignment, he saw that his prediction came true: Carson was signaling him to get on the couch. She was the only female comedian to receive that invitation during her first appearance on the show. After The Tonight Show, the Degeners were soon to star on the sitcom. In 1994 she became famous with her own sitcom, Ellen (originally in Friends of Mine), which appeared in the 1997 April episode.
Before DeGeneres publicly acknowledged her sexuality, the death that led to the “phone call to God” was presented as her best friend, not the woman he loved.