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Ellen DeGeneres delivered her final show on Thursday after 19 years.
The comedian opened the series finale with a montage of her previous show entrances throughout the years before going into her monologue and reflecting on the societal progress she feels the world has made as it relates to the LGBTQ + community of which DeGeneres has long been a part of .
“20 years ago, when we were trying to sell the show, no one thought that this would work. Not because it was a different kind of show, but because I was different,” DeGeneres said. “When we started this show, I couldn’t say ‘gay’ on the show. I wasn’t allowed to say ‘gay.’ I said it at home a lot. ‘What are we having for gay breakfast?’ ”
“We couldn’t say ‘gay.’ I couldn’t say ‘we,’ because that implied that I was with someone, “DeGeneres continued. “I sure couldn’t say ‘wife,’ and that’s because it wasn’t legal for gay people to get married, and now I say ‘wife’ all the time.”
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The camera then cut to DeGeneres’ wife Portia de Rossi, 49, who was sitting in the audience during the final show taping.
“Twenty-five years ago, they canceled my sitcom because they didn’t want a lesbian to be in primetime once a week. I said, ‘Okay, then I’ll be on daytime every day. How about that?'” She added through tears before calling her longtime pal and co-executive producer Stephen “tWitch” Boss, 39, “for the last time, dance with me.”
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“If you don’t mind me saying this, your show is a reflection of what the world actually looks like. Not what’s in the headlines,” lamented Boss. “You look out and you see people of various colors, shapes, creeds, whatever, all showing love to each other. It’s been that for 19 years, and we thank you for that.”
DeGeneres, 64, then brought out her first guest, actress Jennifer Aniston. Aniston, 53, was DeGeneres’ inaugural guest when the show premiered on Sept. 8, 2003. Aniston’s Thursday showing her 20th appearance on “Ellen.”
Aniston joked she and the funnywoman “set the tone” for the future with their conversation about which way to set the toilet paper roll – over or under. “
DeGeneres pressed the actress on how she handled the conclusion of “Friends” after 10 seasons in 2004.
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“Well, I got a divorce and went into therapy. And then I did a movie called ‘The Breakup,'” Aniston said, seemingly referencing her divorce with Brad Pitt. “I just kind of leaned into the end.”
After asking for suggestions on what she should do after the show ends, Aniston said she would love for DeGeneres to get back into performing stand-up comedy – to which DeGeneres said she will certainly be getting back on stage. DeGeneres released her “Relatable” Netflix special in 2018 and owes the streamer one more deliverable.
Aniston then presented DeGeneres with a parting gift: a welcome mat that read “Thanks for the Memories.” It was a reference to Aniston’s welcome mat she gave to Ellen way back when.
DeGeneres quipped that in her life after the show, she anticipates having a hard time not talking in five-minute bursts before heading into a commercial break.
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DeGeneres’ brought out Billie Eilish as her second guest. The “Bad Guy” songstress, 20, made her daytime debut on the show in 2018 at age 16 and explained to the host that she was “so scared” as she recalled the moment.
“You started this show the year after I was born. This was in my house constantly. Every day. I would walk into the kitchen and my mom would be watching you.”
“I love you Ellen, are you OK ?,” Eilish asked the host. After a brief banter in which Eilish explained that she still felt nervous about appearing on the show even on its final air date, DeGeneres said after years of calming her nerves she’s searching for the feeling of nervousness that one might get when they experience something for the first time.
DeGeneres would introduce Pink as the show’s final interview and musical guest.
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“I love you so much, it’s dumb,” Pink told the host.
“This is a very strange feeling for me because I’ve known you for so long, and you’ve meant so much in my life, personally, but in everybody’s life,” the “Truth About Love” rock star, 42, said . “I wanted to be a singer because I wanted to grow up and change the world and make it a better place. You’ve done that in so many ways. Maybe I help people find their pain. You help people find their joy. And we need that so badly in this world. “
“You gave me a skateboard. You gave me a bicycle made for two, I almost killed you. Look at that body,” Pink joked after looking at a throwback video of what she used to look like back when she made her initial appearance in 2003.
Pink gifted Ellen with a homemade sourdough starter, birdwatching binoculars as well as jumbo knitting needles and yarn.
“I can teach you how to knit,” she told DeGeneres before the show headed into another commercial break. After returning, Pink performed “What About Us.”
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DeGeneres then expressed her thanks to all involved in making the show over the years.
“I want to thank my staff and my crew once again, but most importantly, I want to thank Mary [Connelly]Andy [Lassner] and Craig [Peralta]DeGeneres said of her executive producers and longtime chief of staff during her final signoff.
DeGeneres told the audience: “If I’ve done anything in the past 19 years, I hope I’ve inspired you to be yourself. Your true, authentic self. 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’re showing you who they are, and that is the biggest gift anybody can ever give you. And by opening your heart and your mind, you’re going to be that Much more compassionate. And compassion is what makes the world a better place. Thank you so much for being on this journey with me. “
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“I feel the love and I send it back to you,” she added. “Bye.”
DeGeneres announced the end of her show in 2021 after a year of brutal headlines involving a toxic workplace scandal. She started the final season of her show by addressing the accusations of a toxic work environment and sexual misconduct allegations at the show that plagued the host’s reputation in 2020.
“I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected,” she said in part. “I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power and I realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”