Michael Keaton And Ellen DeGeneres Bond Over Their Shared Comedy Roots

The "Dumbo" star said he "was so in love" with the stand-up scene during his early years in New York.

Michael Keaton boasts acclaimed films like “Birdman” and “Spotlight” on his Hollywood résumé, so fans might be surprised to learn that the actor’s career almost took a very different route.

Keaton dropped by “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Tuesday to chat about his role in the live-action reboot of Disney’s “Dumbo,” which hits theaters on March 29. The two connected over their shared background on the stand-up comedy circuit.

“I really wanted to be an actor, but I was so in love with comedy and I was starting to write a little bit,” Keaton recalled of his early days in New York.

His stand-up stint didn’t last long, however. “I thought I really, really only want to be great at something,” he said. “So I threw the focus kind of into acting as opposed to stand-up.”

Keaton’s own absence from the live-comedy scene made him all the more enthusiastic about DeGeneres’ return to the stand-up stage in 2018. After a 15-year hiatus, she hit the road last year for a tour, “An Evening With Ellen DeGeneres,” which was captured for posterity in the Netflix special “Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable.”

“It knocked me out,” he told DeGeneres of her performance. “It was really, really impressive.”

The pair went on chat about the new “Dumbo,” which also stars Colin Farrell and Danny DeVito and was directed by Tim Burton. One of the talking points about Keaton’s character, V.A. Vandevere, was his memorable silver coif.

It’s a wig, which Keaton suggested and then regretted because of his aversion to spending large amounts of time in the makeup chair.

“I hate sitting in the makeup chair,” he said. “And I’ve worked with some nice, unbelievably talented people and I enjoy their company, but I just don’t like being there. I just want to show up and go to work.”

Unfortunately for the actor, Burton loved the hair idea.

“I thought, ‘Shit, now I gotta wear a wig,’” Keaton quipped.

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