I was listening to the news when I heard Ellen Degeneres was coming out.

Ellen Degeneres

I thought to myself “Well, that’s old news.” She came out to Oprah on National Television 1997, creating a nationwide uproar and paving the way for millions of LGBT people all over the world to finally have a spokesperson that people couldn’t help but like.

Of course, I hadn’t heard the newscaster’s whole report because I was brushing my teeth so loudly. I realized that he said Ellen Degeneres was coming out with a new book. I almost choked on my toothbrush with excitement.

If you’ve been living in a cave somewhere for centuries, then you’re probably a caveman vampire, and you most likely don’t know who Ellen is. Ellen Degeneres is an American stand-up  comedienne, actress and  host of The Ellen Degeneres Show. She’s also the voice of Dory, in Disney Pixar’s Finding Nemo.

Dory (Finding Nemo) voiced by Ellen Degeneres

Her newest book, “Seriously…. I’m Kidding” is just as hilarious, entertaining and inspiring as her two previous books “The Funny Thing Is…” and “My Point…And I Do Have One.”

The book is published by Grand Central Publishing, a division of the Hachette Book Group, and is filled with snippets from Ellen’s life, and tons of funny quips, tips, advice and stories.

Here’s an excerpt from “Seriously…. I’m Kidding”, in case you want proof of just how funny Ellen is:

Writing This Book

Over the last year or so since I decided to write this book, people have been asking me how I have the time and why I chose to write it. The truth is, last June I was driving through a tunnel while I was on the phone with my agent and my cell service was spotty. I said, “I just got a great Ikea table for my breakfast nook.” My agent thought I said, “I’ve got a great idea for my newest book.”

By the time we figured out our hilarious misunderstanding I had signed a whole bunch of papers (who has time to read all those words?!) and I was under contract to write a book. Similarly, a few years ago, I told my agent, “I think I got some fudge on my lapel,” and he thought I said, “I want to be a judge on American Idol.” Since then I got a new phone. And I found out my agent’s name is Marvin, not Blarvin.

But the real truth is, I’m glad I decided to write this book. I love writing and I do feel like I’ve learned a lot about life and love and other “L” words since I wrote my last book, and there are things I want to share with the world.

– Ellen Degeneres, from her book “Seriously…I’m Kidding.”

See how funny she is?

So when I heard she was having a book launch at Barnes & Noble, The Grove (where all the famous stars and big authors have their signings), I told my booksigning buddy Lena, who is also a big fan of Ellen. Big book signings like these is one of the perks of living in Los Angeles. We decided that this was one event we didn’t want to miss.

Event wall at Barnes & Noble, The Grove, L.A.

October 4, 2011 Tuesday

Since Lena had 70+ hours left of time off, and since she needed a break anyway, Lena decided to take the day off so she could be one of the first people in line to get a wristband for Ellen’s book signing. (We’d learned our lesson from Rick Riordan’s book signing last Sunday, and didn’t want to miss out this time).

Lena got to the Grove at 7am and there were already 20 people waiting in line to get into Barnes & Noble. When it opened at 9am, Lena used my Barnes & Noble membership card and purchased 3 books (there was a limit on as to how many you could buy for the event.)

Since I was a B &N member, and since she had bought 3 books, Lena got 3 Silver (priority) Wristbands. Naturally, I invited Bon and his mom Ludy to come and join us for the signing. Lena also drove to another Barnes & Noble in the area to buy 6 more books so that we would have 3 books each to get signed.

Ellen’s signing was at 7pm, but we arrived early at 5:30pm and got in line. Since we had silver wristbands, we were part of the priority queue. We stood closest to the signing stage and we were actually 10th in line to get our books signed.

Waiting in line with Lena

Waiting in line with Bon & Tita Ludy

The area was quite calm when we first got there. There were a couple of security people near the stage and a few B & N employees managing the line.

Signing area at Barnes & Noble before Ellen Degeneres arrived

Ten minutes into our wait, the line got longer and longer. It snaked all the way down to the second floor of the 3 storey B & N building.

Barnes & Noble, The Grove

It was all very quiet–that is, until Ellen Degeneres arrived. The crowd started screaming and clapping and calling out to her.

Ellen Degeneres waltzes into the signing area

Ellen had on her trademark suit and smile. She looked out at the line of people  waiting to see her up close.

Ellen Degeneres looking out at the line of people

She was probably trying to figure out how she’d be able to sign at least a thousand books in one night.

She got her game face on,

“Wow, there’s more people than I thought.”

Sat down and took a long drink,

“I can do this. I can sign a thousand copies in two hours.”

And got to work.

“All right, let’s get this over with.”

“I hope that photographer’s getting a good picture of me signing this book.”

As soon as Ellen sat down, camera crew, photographers and security people swarmed around her like bees.  Bon had taken up the role of photographer since he was the tallest of us (and we had only 3 wristbands).

Ellen Degeneres being swarmed by people.

Even with Bon’s height, he couldn’t get a good picture of each of us getting our books signed. The line moved fast and Bon had 3 seconds to snap a fuzzy picture of me getting my books signed:

Me getting my books signed by Ellen

The four of us had waited in line for an hour, and we were out of there  five minutes after Ellen arrived.

Ellen couldn’t personalize the books because a lot of people were waiting in line. By the time we got downstairs, we saw that the line had snaked up to the second floor.

We only got to see her for a few minutes, but it was worth it.

I love Ellen Degeneres. She is a constant ray of sunshine.  I DVR her show (because I can’t exactly watch TV while I’m at work) and watching it always brings a smile to my face. She’s genuinely lovable and her humor is just an innate part of her.

The thing I really love about her stand up acts is that she is never offensive. Most of her jokes are based on things she observes from real life (such as how people try to fix wedgies while they’re walking and try to hide it by taking great strides or making funny movements). She makes fun mostly of herself, or of people she personally knows would forgive her anyway (like her wife Portia De Rossi or her mom Betty Degeneres).

Getting to see her in person was indeed a great treat.


As an added bonus, we got to see actor and musician Jack Black .

Jack Black and some friends

He and musician Stephen Stills had a concert to raise awareness for Autism the same night at the Grove.

Jack Black and Stephen Stills Concert to Raise Awareness for Autism

Jack Black certainly had fun rocking out on stage that night.

Jack Black rocking out

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11 Responses to ““Seriously… I’m Kidding”: Ellen Degeneres Book Signing at Barnes & Noble”

  1. Susan Oloier says:

    Very cool, Nutschell! I love how you take advantage of all the great opportunities in the LA area.

  2. Shelly says:

    You are a lucky-ducky. Great pictures, too!

  3. Great post here today, loved reading it.
    DeGeneres is VERY FUNNY.
    Thank You.

  4. tababs says:

    kasuerte mong bata ka… lol! all you folks not speaking this language, figure this out..loL!!!

  5. Ate Zamm says:

    wow!! what a great day for you – celebrity-double-treat! 😀

  6. Jenn says:

    Too cool, Nutschell! You never miss a signing. How does Lena have so much time off? Maybe we should go to the Ren Faire during the WEEK to avoid the crowds next year – since Lena has all that time to spend. 😉

  7. HOW DARN FUN—thx for sharing!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE her!

  8. Hi, I am visiting from the pay it forward blogfest. our blog came highly recommended. There is a lot to read and you seem like my kind of writer. I will be back after I visit more blogs from the blogfest.

    It is nice to meet you.

  9. I love your captions. :) Such a fun post. It was wonderful that you got to meet her.

  10. Arlee Bird says:

    Sounds like a great event to have attended. You got some excellent photographs. Gosh, how cool it would be to have a book signing with that kind of turn out, eh?

    Tossing It Out

  11. You’ve been everywhere!

    Ellen is funny. I’m sure her book is too.

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