Ever since debuting in 2003, The Ellen DeGeneres Show became a household name that cemented host Ellen DeGeneres as both a pop culture icon and a beloved celebrity. As the show continues with its 16th season and with possibly more to come, Ellen continues to surprise both viewers and guests alike with her antics and gifts.
Over the years, Ellen invited many guests and showcased lots of gimmicks, making it easy to miss out on a few of the most interesting and heartwarming details. From the story behind her bedridden episodes to some of the weirdest things that appeared on her stage, here are 10 Easter Eggs and things about The Ellen DeGeneres Show that you may have missed.
10 Ellen Was A Dog
Since she’s best known for being a talk show host, Ellen doesn’t talk much about her career’s early days. Before she became the pop culture icon she is today, Ellen taught a young Dr. Dolittle about the importance of smelling butts.
Specifically, Ellen voiced the dog in the prologue of Eddie Murphy’s Dr. Dolittle, where she explained to the kid why dogs sniff each other’s behinds. It would be a few years before she’d host her own show, so a bit role in an Eddie Murphy family comedy was as big as it could get back then.
9 Why Ellen Missed One Episode
Since 2003, Ellen has hosted almost every single episode of her talk show, famously appearing on set on a hospital bed because of her back problems. On January 2, 2014, however, Ellen missed her one and only episode after contracting a bad case of the flu.
In her stead, Ellie Kemper (best known for portraying the eponymous Kimmy Schmidt on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) hosted the episode and interviewed guests Neil Patrick Harris and Hunter Hayes. The following Monday, Ellen returned and interviewed Kemper.
8 Ellen’s Back Injury
Years after her famous bedridden episodes aired, it may be easy to forget why she hosted a few episodes on her back. In reality, Ellen threw her back in the most mundane and silliest way possible.
After a bad jump, Ellen picked up her dog only to tear a ligament between her spine’s vertebrae. Even after cancelling a couple of pre-scheduled shows, Ellen carried on with her show – albeit under the influence of pills and on a bed. She also interviewed her doctor in the episode, although there was (obviously) no dancing.
7 Ellen’s Robot
In 2018, Ellen was given a robot version of herself for her birthday. The robot was actually a part of the Ellen’s Energy Adventure ride in Disneyworld that Ellen inspired, although it looked more like Anabelle’s mother than the host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show
After 21 years of operation, Ellen’s ride was shut down to make way for a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed attraction. As miffed as Ellen was about the closure, she was still reunited with her uncanny twin that she now uses for pranking purposes.
6 Ellen’s Talkative Habit Landed Her The Role Of Dory
As a talk show host, Ellen is known and loved for losing her train of thought. It’s specifically because of this that the creators of Finding Nemo and Finding Dory created the character of Dory.
After noticing that Ellen habitually started approximately five topics before finishing a sentence while he was in the audience, screenwriter Andrew Stanton wrote the adorably forgetful blue fish with Ellen in mind. He (and Pixar) loved her performance so much that they made an entire sequel just to conclude Dory’s arc. That, and they finally capitulated to her relentless on-air campaigning for a Dory movie.
5 Why Ellen Stopped Dancing
As of this writing, Ellen has hosted more than 3,000 episodes. Currently 61 years old, Ellen understandably got tired of dancing and so the dancing was slowly but surely passed on to the audience.
However, this extends to more than just her age and decreased stamina. According to Ellen, the happy-go-lucky dancing host is an idealized version of herself. The real Ellen who’s a bit more relaxed and frank can be seen in Netflix’s Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable, where she parodies her wholesome public persona by hearkening back to her stand-up roots.
4 Ellen Was Taylor Swift’s Easter Egg
When Taylor Swift dropped by to promote her new album Lover, Ellen and the pop star made a crack about how the host should cameo in the upcoming single "You Need To Calm Down." Audiences thought this was just another joke, only for Swift to tell them that she dropped a major Easter Egg in Ellen’s interview.
As it turns out, Ellen herself was the Easter Egg. Ellen is just one of the many celebrity cameos in the music video, where she’s seen getting a tattoo. Fans freaked out in excitement, with Swift saying that the egg “hatched.”
3 Ellen Gave More Than $10 Million To Her Audiences
Besides dancing, Ellen is known for being extremely generous with her guests. Over the years, she’s given many prizes and surprises that include appliances, cars, and luxury vacations to her audiences. Overall, these gifts cost around $10 million… at the least.
Given the show’s massive budget and endless list of sponsors, it’s not that surprising that Ellen has a lot of cash to burn. Thankfully, she uses the massive income to pay it forward to her loyal viewers. At least that’s what she does when she’s not using her funds to prepare an elaborate prank.
2 The Lucky 13
Every now and then, Ellen would mention The Lucky 13 when she talks about her previous guests or the stuff she gives to lucky audience members. As their name implies, The Lucky 13 are a group of former guests who were lucky enough to be invited to sit beside Ellen on one of her episodes.
Each member of The Lucky 13 had their lives changed for the better after Ellen helped them out. They first bonded on and off the set of one of Ellen’s special reunion episodes and remain close friends to this day.
1 The Lisa Jarmon Chair and Charity
If you’re new to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, you may have noticed an audience chair that has a plaque with “Lisa Jarmon” on it. This is a tribute to one of Ellen’s most beloved guests who sadly passed away due to breast cancer.
Lisa was a lucky audience member whose boundless energy caught Ellen’s attention. After being interviewed by Ellen, Lisa became a favorite recurring guest who Ellen helped out whenever she could. Following Lisa’s passing in February of this year, Ellen (and The Lucky 13) honored Lisa with the aforementioned chair and The Lisa Jarmon Fund.