The Truth Behind the Ellen Degeneres Show
The Ellen DeGeneres Show is one of the biggest talk shows on television right now. Between A-list celebrity guests, stellar musical acts, inspiring human interest stories and Ellen's seriously great dance moves, the show is a fan-favorite. But what viewers don't get to see is what happens behind the scenes.
Let's take an inside look at the unknown side of the The Ellen DeGeneres Show that fans don't usually get to see. Read on to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the hit show.
Not Everyone Gets In
If you do manage to get into the show, count your blessings. Even showing up early doesn't guarantee you a seat, especially if you only have stand-by tickets. Those who arrive late are also in jeopardy of missing out on the live experience.
You Might Not Sit with Your Group
Workers at the show try their best to accommodate viewers. However, you may or may not be able to sit next to your family or friends during the taping. Between VIP, guaranteed ticket holders and stand-by ticket holders, the show is constantly (and purposely) overbooked in case people don't show.
In 2009, The Ellen DeGeneres Show found itself in hot water for not clearing "well over 1,000 sound recordings owned or controlled" by record companies like EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group. The labels banded together to sue the show for failing to get permission to play big songs like Michael Jackson's Thriller and the Beach Boys' 1966 classic Good Vibrations during the dance segments.
Guests Must Be at Least 14
Anyone who has watched the show knows that it’s very family-friendly. In fact, Ellen regularly has young guests on the show alongside their parents. However, minors have to be at least 14 years old to be a part of the audience.
A Mean Ellen?
The popular TV host is known for her sunny disposition and amazing sense of humor. However, rumors have popped up over the years that she is quite different in real life. It was reported that the lovable comedian does not actually stick to her daily "Be Kind to Each Other" mantra. In fact, some claimed she was bossy and difficult to work with on set.
The Human Side
Ellen may be an A-list celebrity like her guests, but she is still human like the rest of the world. Unfortunately, that means she is also susceptible to illness and injury like the rest of the world. That was proven when the host threw out her back in 2007. She had a great reason to cancel the show and was technically supposed to be on bed rest. However, she came up with another idea.
Patience Is a Virtue
Once you actually snag your free tickets, getting in as an audience member for The Ellen DeGeneres Show involves a lot of waiting. Before guests actually make it to the set, they can expect to wait for at least a few hours before checking in with security and stagehands.
Forget the John Hancock
Guests shouldn't bother to show up with a notebook or any other items for Ellen to sign. They won’t get a chance to get that personal autograph. Unfortunately, due to time constraints and the number of people that are accommodated per show, the show states up front that Ellen is unable to provide anyone with autographs or hugs.
No Pictures, Please!
Naturally, fans who actually get to be a part of the show's audience would love to have a photo to remember the special moment. However, The Ellen DeGeneres Show doesn't allow actual cameras on set.
During an interview with Ellen, Kristen Bell opened up about her interesting obsession with sloths. She even brought a video to prove her loyalty. The actress' husband, actor Dax Shepard, recorded her reaction after he surprised her with a visit with a sloth in real life for her 31st birthday. In the unforgettable clip, Bell breaks out in full-on tears, having what she called a "full-fledged panic attack."
Back to Civilian Life
Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have made quite a few appearances on Ellen's show. One of the most hilarious moments was when the First Lady made an appearance in 2016, shortly before the Obama administration came to an end.
Plenty of Fun Games
Ellen typically has her celeb guests (and sometimes audience members) participate in outrageously fun games on set. Some of the games have included Never Have I Ever, Giant Jenga and Ellen's own popular guessing game app, Heads Up. Sometimes, Ellen goes head to head with her guests in the games. Of course, the host's jokes during the games make the experience even better, especially for the audience.
The Pranking Champ
If you’re a guest, it's highly likely that Ellen will try to prank you. The host typically has a stagehand dress up in some over-the-top costume, sometimes related to a holiday or a guest's real-life fear. That person usually jumps out of a box or something else on stage or sneaks up behind them for a good scare. Sometimes, the prank takes place backstage, but it’s still caught on camera for the audience to enjoy.
Anyone who watches Ellen's show regularly or watches clips online knows Ellen's executive producer, Andy Lassner. Why would you know him? Because Lassner gets regularly pranked by his boss. He scares very easily, and Ellen always uses that to her advantage.
Dancing It Out
Dancing is a huge part of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She even has her DJ, Twitch, on stage to drop beats at the beginning of the show and during breaks. The show's stage manager is there to help with directions and slight choreography to ensure everyone — no matter how uncoordinated you are — is dancing and clapping in sync.
The Dance Row
On set, there is an assigned dance row where Ellen may end up going to dance. Before every show, staff members will usually let audience members know if Ellen will be dancing through their particular row. However, there are extra requirements to be a part of that sanctified row that gives you a chance to dance a little with Ellen.
No Advance Knowledge of Guests
Unfortunately, audience members don’t get to know in advance which celebrity guests will be appearing on their specific show. Details about guests change all the time due to packed schedules. It's possible that a celebrity may have to cancel or reschedule an appearance due to a shift in their plans.
Security Checks All Gifts
Ellen DeGeneres probably has everything she could ever want — or at least has the means to get it — but her fans still like to bring her things to show their love. Fans are actually allowed to give Ellen gifts. However, for security reasons, they aren't allowed to personally hand Ellen gifts in person.
Guests Get One Freebie
What some may not know is that audience members usually get a freebie from the show as a small souvenir. This could be a mug, cup or some other small token of Ellen's appreciation for coming. Typically, souvenirs are laid on a table where guests can snag them before going on set.
Paying It Forward
Although Ellen's show focuses heavily on laughter and fun, it's also about showing love to people who are making a positive impact in their communities. The host regularly features normal people from all over the country who are doing great things in their neighborhoods or schools. Ellen typically pays it forward by presenting a check so the guests can continue their efforts.
In addition to guests doing good deeds, Ellen also features guests who have had adorable or funny moments in real life that have gone viral. The show does have several forms online to submit stories about pretty much anything. Cute kids and animals, people with funny videos and photos, social media influencers and entrepreneurs have all been featured on the show.
Sophia Grace and Rosie
Cousins Sophia Grace Brownlee and Rosie McClelland rose to fame following their hit 2011 YouTube video, where they performed Nicki Minaj's Super Bass. At the time, Sophia was eight and Rosie was five. After the video went viral, Ellen brought the English duo on her show, where they met Nicki Minaj herself. The two made several appearances on the show after that.
Kalen Allen made waves in the entertainment world in 2017 with his viral video critiquing a "7 Up Salad" food video. Allen's hilarious reaction caught the attention of Ellen, who brought him on the show. Allen was such a hit that Ellen continues to work with him to this day.
The show asks viewers to dress in business casual or upscale trendy attire for the show. They prefer for everyone to wear bright colors instead of just black and white. The requested fashion rules give the audience a fitting aesthetic with the vibrant set and ensure high energy and happiness.
Late-night talk shows don't technically condone cursing. However, celebrities get away with it because most kids are in bed by the time the episode airs. Ellen's show airs in the middle of the afternoon, so her viewers are mostly parents at home with their young children.
Although Ellen is a funny and respectful host, she still has a job to do as an interviewer with celebrity guests. That means digging into her guests' personal lives, from their dating lives to social media posts and possibly even problems they’re currently facing.
Ellen hasn't shied away from her support of the LGBTQ community. In fact, she regularly uses her platform to discuss issues within the community as well as her own personal life with now-wife Portia de Rossi.
A Surprise Proposal
Ellen has helped pull off a few proposals on the show, but one between members of her staff really took the cake. Wardrobe assistant Jennifer Schoening and field producer Aaron Pinkston had been dating for some time. During a taping of an episode in 2010, Ellen was Skyping with Aaron, who was filming a segment in Chicago. However, the audio and video began cutting out.
Another big surprise involved Missy Elliott superfan Mary Halsey. She caught the attention of the internet with a cover of the rapper's hit track "Work It." Halsey even described herself as Elliott's "funky white sister."
Ellen celebrated her 60th birthday with a two-part event on the show. Of course, de Rossi made a special appearance to show the host some love. However, both the audience and Ellen were stunned by de Rossi's extravagant gift, which pertained to Ellen's love of animals.