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Video: Ellen comes back to the Big Apple

TODAY contributor
updated 8/30/2007 10:35:19 AM ET 2007-08-30T14:35:19

Hillary Clinton may find herself in a debate, rather than an interview, when the U.S. senator and Democratic presidential hopeful appears on the season premiere of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Sept. 4.

As it turns out, the show's host is also running for president — at least that's what the comedian told TODAY co-host Matt Lauer during an interview Thursday on the Plaza at Rockefeller Center.

“I’m going to run for president,” DeGeneres dead-panned. “This is my announcement I decided right now I’m going to run for president, and I stand for joy and laughter for all. If you’re not for joy and laughter, I’m not your girl.”

On a more serious note, DeGeneres said the fifth season of her daytime talk show will be dedicated to Merv Griffin, the late talk-show host who also created game shows like "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune."

“I grew up watching that show,” she said. “I’d go home in the afternoon and it felt good. I like Johnny Carson, I like Merv Griffin, I like Mike Douglas, I like Dinah Shore; I like those really feel-good shows that you kind of forgot about everything going on in your life for just an hour. That’s sort of what I hope to do every single day.”

DeGeneres, 49, who grew up in Louisiana and Texas and began her entertainment career as a stand-up comic, got to meet and become friends with Griffin, who had appeared as a guest on her show.

“I gave him his lifetime achievement award at the People’s Choice Awards. He was so sharp, so funny,” she told Lauer.

On the road
DeGeneres’ show is based in Los Angeles but occasionally visits New York, where it will debut this year. Clinton, who has frequently visited talk shows aimed at female audiences, has appeared on the show before, most recently in New York in 2005 (Clinton gave DeGeneres a Metrocard for trips on the subways and a city map).

The show has been moved from its 4 p.m. slot on NBC opposite Oprah Winfrey to 11 a.m. ET. It will follow the fourth hour of an expanded TODAY Show.

Like school kids, DeGeneres takes summer off.

“It’s weird when you work all the time to do nothing at all,” she said. “I’ve done nothing all summer long and now I go back to work.”

She’s filled some of that time by doing a blog. The blog includes videos, and one clip aired during her appearance on TODAY showed her dancing in a performance that looked almost ready for YouTube.

She also danced with the audience on the Plaza and watched clips of her hamming it up with the Alvin Ailey Dancers.

“They are dancers who are modern dancers, and I am a dancer of the future,” she said.

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