We were incredibly excited to welcome Ellen DeGeneres for her first appearance today ahead of the 13th season of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," which kicks off later this afternoon. Howard and Ellen spent nearly an hour together in a fascinating look at her career and life. Check out some highlights below!
At First, It Was Difficult
While Ellen may be on top of the daytime television world now, that same world was not always so accepting of her back in the day.
The host and comedian remembered when they couldn't even sell the show in the beginning. She was forced to perform standup so that the network executives could be persuaded that "women at home with kids would watch a lesbian on TV."
Moreover, Ellen said she was recently reminded of when she had to film fake test interviews with people like Alanis Morissette and Tom Hanks at her home to prove "if a lesbian would have some kind of thing in common with straight people."
Howard was appalled that as a seasoned entertainer, she was forced to do that.
Ellen Can't Stop Dancing ... Even If She Wants To
If nothing else, we learned there is at least one guaranteed way for you to annoy Ellen. "I don't like when I'm out in public and people start yelling at me to dance like I'm a monkey," she lamented.
She does love dancing though and it has of course become a staple of her image, almost taking on a life of its own.
"You're trapped. You have to keep the dance going," Howard agreed.
"At some point, I'm not going to retire because I want to. It's because I can't dance anymore … because I have a broken hip or something," Ellen joked.
Caitlyn Jenner's Marriage Equality Stance
A Phone Call To God
Anyone who has heard the iconic standup bit that cleared the way for Ellen to become the first female comedian to be invited to sit on Johnny Carson's couch can attest to its hilarity, but you may not have heard the heart-wrenching backstory.
The joke originates from one of Ellen's first girlfriends who would cheat on her constantly. Ellen wanted to teach her a lesson and ignored her at a club one night, only to find out later that she had died in the car wreck that Ellen saw on her way home, not even realizing it. The incident caused her to ponder why things like fleas get to survive, but this young woman had to die and subsequently what it would be like if she was able to call God directly.
Initially, the joke was a huge hit. But after writing it, Ellen said she just knew it would be the one.
"When I finished writing it, I literally was on that mattress on the floor in that apartment with no money and had just lost my girlfriend and I thought, 'I'm going to do this on Johnny Carson and he's going to call me over and I'm going to be the first woman in the history of the show to sit down on that couch.'" And that's exactly what happened merely years later.