Ellen DeGeneres quits Daytime TV: ‘When we started this show, I couldn’t say ‘gay'”
After 19 years of gifts, games, and yes, groove, Ellen Degeneres ended its long-running talk show on Thursday. She began her final episode by assuring viewers that their relationship would not be over forever. “It’s more of a little break,” DeGeneres said. “You can see other talk shows now, and I can see another audience once in a while.”
DeGeneres devoted her final monologue to talking about the societal progress we’ve seen since Ellen launched in September 2003. “Twenty years ago, when we were trying to sell the series, nobody thought it would work. Not because it was a different kind of show, but because I was different,” DeGeneres said. “When we started the show, I couldn’t say ‘gay.’ I wasn’t allowed to say ‘gay.’ eat for our gay breakfast?’ or “Pass the gay salt”, “Has anyone seen the gay remote?”, but we couldn’t say “gay”. I couldn’t say “we”, because that would imply that I was with someone. Of course, I couldn’t say “woman,” and that’s because it wasn’t legal for homosexuals to marry.
“Now I say ‘woman’ all the time,” she continued, as the camera showed her wife of nearly 15 years, Portia de Rossi.
“Twenty-five years ago they canceled my sitcom because they didn’t want a lesbian on prime time once a week,” DeGeneres recalled. “So I said ‘Okay, I’ll be daytime every day. How about that?'” She then joined her longtime DJ, tWitch, aka Stephane Boss, for one last dance to “Best of My Love.”
A trio of performers joined DeGeneres for her final episode, which was filmed in late April. Jennifer Aniston, the very first Ellen guest, dropped by to advise DeGeneres on wrapping up an iconic series. “I got divorced and went to therapy,” Aniston said of the ending Friends after 10 seasons. “I made a movie called Breaking. I just leaned on the end. Billie Eilish acknowledged that the show was a regular presence in his household. “You started this show the year after I was born,” she said. “It was constantly at home. Every day. I walked into the kitchen and my mother watched you. So Pink, who wrote EllenThe theme song for , performed his 2017 hit “What About Us” after chatting with the host.
The end of Ellen was first announced last year, about 10 months after a BuzzFeed News article in which former employees of the show accused the show of allegedly having a “toxic work culture”. DeGeneres acknowledged the allegations as “devastating,” but said she felt the moment was “orchestrated” and “felt very misogynistic.” Following the article’s publication, DeGeneres announced the departure of three of the show’s producers, although an attorney for one of them called the BuzzFeed article “deeply flawed” and claimed that his client was “the scapegoat”.
At the end of her final hour on daytime television, DeGeneres reflected on her show’s outward philosophy of kindness. “If I’ve done anything in the past 19 years, I hope I’ve inspired you to be yourself, your true authentic self,” she said. “And if someone is brave enough to tell you who they are, be brave enough to support them, even if you don’t understand. They show you who they are, and that’s the greatest gift anyone can ever give you. By opening your heart and your mind, you are going to be much more compassionate, and compassion is what makes the world a better place. Thank you so much for taking this journey with me. I feel the love and I send it back to you.