Ellen DeGeneres revels in what her morning show has brought viewers in its nearly two-decade history: a combination of absurdity, seriousness and, particularly in recent years, a reprieve from tough times.
She also acknowledges that who she is counts for a lot: a charismatic TV presenter who is a lesbian and married. But she would like to see the distinction become irrelevant.
“It should be no different than someone who has a talk show who is a straight person. But it means something, and I’m proud of it. I’m really thankful,” DeGeneres said.
The host decided it was time to put an end to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” after 19 years and, before dancing off the stage, she will be celebrating with high-profile guests such as Jennifer Lawrence, Mila Kunis and Bruno Mars, as well as Jennifer Aniston. , Billie Eilish and Pink in the final episode on Thursday, May 26.
With filming recently wrapped, DeGeneres could take advice from another famous former talk show host, her friend Oprah Winfrey, in the episode that airs Tuesday. Winfrey suggested to DeGeneres that she take a break.
“Define ‘free time,’” DeGeneres said wryly. Now busy with one of her passions, home remodeling, she will travel to Rwanda to visit an impressive birthday present from her wife, actress Portia de Rossi: the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s recently completed Ellen DeGeneres Campus, a expanding for the gorilla conservation project named for the late scientist Dian Fossey.
DeGeneres has production deals and ideas she wants to develop, said the actress and comedian, who has worked on movies like “Mr. Wrong” and “Finding Dory” and on television, including his groundbreaking 1990s comedy series “Ellen,” the first broadcast network show with a female lead. gay or lesbian
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), praised DeGeneres’ contributions then and today.
Her legacy “is rooted in her being one of the most influential trailblazers in the entertainment industry when it comes to LGBTQ visibility,” Ellis said in an email. DeGeneres has invited viewers “to get to know and understand LGBTQ youth, transgender people, and in doing so, reminded millions of people that our community still faces many challenges and inequalities.”
DeGeneres recently spoke with The Associated Press about why her show worked, a meeting with very young fans, and reflected on its influence. Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
AP: Oprah said you’ll never have a moment like this and referred to her show and time on the air as “the glory days.” How does that sound to you?
DeGeneres: I’ve also had glory days on my sitcom, the last ones that I really savored and enjoyed. I think one can have many glory days, I hope, because I have had them. She was right; in a sense, that will never happen (again). Then I will create new ones.
AP: Did you look for your daytime talk show to offer something that hadn’t been seen before?
DeGeneres: We were ridiculous. Those moments on ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ when Harvey and Tim (Korman and Conway) would just lose their temper and laugh so hard, just plain silly… That’s what we did with the games, what we did with other segments. We had a great mix, interesting people and interesting conversations. Some people were celebrities and other spirit guides. We also helped people who needed it and were doing amazing things. We put music. It was a combination of everything. People said that the program could have been broadcast at 11:30 at night. I am proud that we have given so much in each episode.
AP: Are you satisfied with having viewers of all ages who find what you do attractive?
DeGeneres: The other day I stopped by to see if some girls who had crashed their bike into a wall were okay, there were three of them on the bike, which was ridiculous. And they were laughing and I was laughing. I said “Are you okay?” and they said “Are you Ellen!?” They were between 11 and 12 years old. I have (spectators) who are grandparents, who are men, who are women. I am so proud that I was able to reach so many different people with my humor and personality, not a specific demographic. I hope to represent pure fun, because God knows we all need a break right now.
AP: When the show started in 2003, attitudes toward LGBTQ+ people and rights were different, and the divisive theme has flared up again. Without mentioning it on the show, you were a gay woman American viewers could relate to. This is important?
DeGeneres: It’s not, until I see that there’s so much hate or discrimination and I realize that I’m on TV every day being myself and that should reach people. I am so grateful that I became a talk show host, that I get to be myself every day instead of just continuing to act, playing different roles all the time. I wouldn’t have been able to explore and see myself grow as a person. And, like you said, just by being there I hope I’ve sent a message that I’m really no different from anyone else.