"Oh, man, I love my job," DeGeneres said Friday night during the ceremony at Radio City Music Hall. "It's basically just sitting there and listening to people talking. It's like a bartender."
DeGeneres even learned she had a fan from another generation when Merv Griffin, standing next to her as he accepted a lifetime achievement award, whispered: "I watch you every day."
Her talk show has won five Emmys this year overall.
"Jeopardy!" — with a boost from Ken Jennings' 74-game winning streak — was honored as best game show.
"This just adds more luster to what has already been a shining season," said Harry Friedman, the show's executive producer. He didn't mention Jennings, whose machine-like mind caused a sensation before he lost in November.
"General Hospital" won a record-setting eighth Daytime Emmy as the best drama series. Another veteran, Erika Slezak of "One Life to Live," won best actress in a soap and Christian Jules LeBlanc of "The Young and the Restless" was named best actor.
The Daytime Emmys, which were televised on CBS, have lost wattage over the years after losing story lines like Susan Lucci's long losing streak. Its ratings last year were less than half what they were in 1997.
Slezak won her record sixth best actress Emmy. She's been on the show since 1971, and last won an Emmy in 1996. Eight actresses were nominated for the award, and Slezak said they all lunched together the day before.
"I am so thrilled and humbled," Slezak said.