"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.
"All My Children" had the best haul of any daytime drama with five Emmys on Friday and last week at the non-televised awards. But its only major award on Friday's show was Eden Riegel, who has left the show, as best young actress.
Stockard Channing added a Daytime Emmy award to her prime-time Emmy and Tony awards. She performed in "Jack," a children's special on Showtime.
"I thought nighttime was supposed to be hot," Channing said. "But daytime is where it's at."
Greg Rikaart of "The Young and the Restless" and Natalia Livingston of "General Hospital" both won their first Emmys for supporting actors in a soap opera.
David Yago of "The Young and the Restless" won an Emmy as a young soap actor. Wearing a purple velour jacket as he accepted his award, Yago tested the CBS censors. The audio was silenced for part of his acceptance speech.
"Oh, my God," he said. "I should have been fired years ago."
Let's settle it in the kitchen: Chefs Bobby Flay and Michael Chiarello finished in a tie for the best service show Emmy.
Former newswoman and "The View" host Meredith Vieira won her first Emmy as best game show host for "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."
"It's great to give away millions of dollars that's not your money," she said.
The voice of Elmo on "Sesame Street," Kevin Clash, was honored as best performer in a children's series; Oscar the Grouch accepted the award for him. Coupled with Emmys given out at the creative craft awards last week, "Sesame Street" won four times.
Henry Winkler also wasn't on hand to pick up his first Emmy for his voiceover work on "Clifford's Puppy Days."