The last name “DeGeneres” is often associated with the famous daytime talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres; however, her older brother, Vance, is also a prominent figure in the comedy and entertainment worlds. He has years of on-camera experience and is now an executive producer for Inside Comedy, as well as movies including Crazy, Stupid, Love.
In an interview with The New York Times, Ellen revealed that she has considered quitting The Ellen DeGeneres Show. While her wife, Portia de Rossi is in favor of this decision, her brother has been encouraging her to stay with it. Ellen told The New York Times that de Rossi “gets mad when my brother tells me I can’t stop,” to which de Rossi replied “I just think she’s such a brilliant actress and standup that it doesn’t have to be this talk show for her creativity. There are other things she could tackle.”
Here’s what you need to know about Vance DeGeneres:
1. He Was the Co-President of Steve Carell’s Production Company
In Politicon’s bio of Vance, which he wrote “in the third person so that he doesn’t sound so braggy,” it says that he “spent six years as the co-president of Carousel Productions, Steve Carell’s production company at Warner Bros.” Now, he says he “currently has a TV development deal with Telepictures Productions and AVGP.” Movie Insider credits Carousel Productions as producing Crazy, Stupid, Love and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Movie (which starred Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi), and lists a handful of movies that the company has in development.
2. He Was a Correspondent on ‘The Daily Show’
According to IMDB, DeGeneres has appeared as a correspondent on The Daily Show in a total of 137 episodes. He was a regular on the show from 1999-2001; after leaving the show he came back for one episode in 2003, and for “Jon Stewart’s Final Episode” in 2015. He also served as host and co-host for two episodes of the show in 2001.
Uproxx reported in 2014 that DeGeneres’s career was “one of the five least successful” of the many former correspondents (they gave him the #5 position on the list). They based this on the fact that “his career in front of the camera basically ended after The Daily Show,” though they did acknowledge the success he has found as a producer since then. Other Daily Show correspondent alums include Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Ed Helms, John Oliver, and Olivia Munn. Steve Carell’s wife, Nancy Walls, was given “honorable mention” on Uproxx’s list.
3. He Was in a 1980s New Wave Band
Vance DeGeneres is credited as one of the five members of the New Orleans-based band, The Cold. According to The Advocate, he was the band’s bassist, and was first recruited by bandmates Bert Smith and Keven Radecker to co-write music. The band debuted in late 1979 and were very popular in New Orleans and nearby cities and states until the band “[ran] out of steam, frustrated in part by not being able to land a record deal” in 1985.” At their peak, they were performing 150 days out of the year. Of The Cold’s legacy, The Advocate says: “With a mesmerizing frontwoman, a refined melodic sense and high-octane shows, The Cold defined the New Wave era in New Orleans, packing local clubs and touring the southeast.
In October 2018, The Cold was honored for their “place in New Orleans music history” by being inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame. After the event, DeGeneres’s wife, Joana, shared photos with her husband on Instagram, writing “I’m so proud of my amazing husband @vancenotvance and his band @thecoldnola for their induction into the Louisiana Music Hall of fame last night @thewillownola it was an amazing evening and a huge honor for a really deserving band #myhusbandisinthehalloffame.”
4. His Wife Joanna Is a Headshot Photographer
DeGeneres was married to Mimi DeGeneres in 1990, but they divorced in 1991. He then married Joanna Brooks (now DeGeneres) in 2013, at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in California. Radar Online reported that his second wedding was small, with only 15-25 people in attendance. The guest list included Ellen and her wife, Portia de Rossi, Vance and Ellen’s mom, Betty, and Steve Carell. Photographer Trisha Alonzo shared photos from the wedding on her blog.
Joanna works as a headshot photographer in Los Angeles and was formerly an actress; according to IMDB, she played a waitress in Crazy, Stupid Love, and was “Valerie” in an episode of How I Met Your Mother. According to her photography website, “Joanna’s photos have been featured on 4 episodes of the Ellen DeGeneres Show, People Magazine, The New York Times and many other online publications.”
5. Vance & Ellen’s Mom, Betty, Is a LGBTQ Rights Activist & Cancer Survivor
Betty DeGeneres has appeared numerous times on Ellen’s talkshow, and is an LGBTQ activist and ally. In 2018, she received an award from the Human Rights Campaign for her work, Time to Thrive’s 2018 Upstander Award. According to the Human Rights Campaign, “she was named the first non-gay
spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign’s National Coming Out Project” in 1997, shortly after retiring from her job as a licensed speech pathologist.
Betty has written two books in honor of motherhood, entitled Love, Ellen – A Mother/Daughter Journey and Just a Mom. In 2007, Ellen spoke to USA Today about their mother’s battle with cancer in the 1970s, saying “The fact that she had a mastectomy was not spoken of. She tried to shield me from it a little bit, but she needed my help with recovery and physical rehabilitation. It bonded us even more.” Ellen also shared that the breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment was part of the reason why her mother’s second marriage ultimately ended.