Ellen DeGeneres used the final monologue of “The Ellen Show” to reflect on the challenges she faced as a gay celebrity in Hollywood when she first embarked on her day-time journey. After 19 years, the comedian offered up a look back in hopes of brighter future.
On her final show on Thursday, DeGeneres observed how different the cultural landscape is today from when “The Ellen Show” first premiered in 2003 and how a growing acceptance enriched her time on TV.
“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,” she said. “When we started this show, I couldn’t say ‘gay’ on the show. I was not 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,” she 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.”
In reflecting on her career, DeGeneres expressed a desire to help people during tumultuous times in their lives. Before ending the monologue with one last dance with her DJ, Stephen Boss aka tWitch, she talked about her goals throughout the show and what the series has meant to her.
“What a beautiful, beautiful journey we have been on together. If this show has made you smile, if it has lifted you up when you’re in a period of some type of pain, some type of sadness, anything that you’re going through, then I have done my job. Because of this platform, we have been able to change people’s lives and this show has forever changed my life. It is the greatest experience I have ever had, beyond my wildest imagination.”