Comedian, turned actor, turned talk show host has been entertaining people her entire life. In the 1990’s she became a household name through her popular sitcom, Ellen. The same year as she voiced the lovable fish Dory in the Pixar film Finding Nemo, she also became the host of her own talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. It’s hard to believe, but that was over 15 years ago.
For over a decade and a half Ellen has entertained and informed audiences thanks to her personable, fun-loving hosting style, and ability to get both celebrity and non-famous guests to share about their lives. It’s no wonder that Ellen has won 30 Emmys and 20 People’s Choice Awards for her work.
While a day on The Ellen DeGeneres Show may seem easy and breezy, there are several rules and expectations set to help keep a consistent quality of content, day after day. After all, Ellen is a professional and it’s her job to ensure that her show remains popular. Guests on the show are prepared in advance so they can give the fans, and Ellen the right experience. These are 20 rules that Ellen DeGeneres forces her guests to follow when they appear on her show, no matter how famous they are.
20 Don't Follow The Rules? Get The Boot!
As a stand-up comedian Ellen understands humour, but that doesn’t mean that she’s going to allow it to interfere with her principles. In 2011, Vince Vaughn delivered some homophobic jokes in his film The Dilemma, and Ellen wasn’t having any part of it. Because of this Ellen temporarily banned him from coming onto her show.
19 Be Prepared To Play A Game Of Never Have I
The party game ‘Never Have I Ever’ is usually used among close friends, which is what makes the use of it on Ellen’s show so entertaining. Ellen asks everything from questions about using celebrity status to get out of speeding tickets to whether co-stars will film in the buff. Since Ellen busts out this game regularly, guests need to be prepared to answer some personal questions and reveal a lot about themselves in front of a live studio and TV audience.
18 No Cell Phones, Period
When you’re on TV it’s bad manners to have your phone go off, period. Just like when you’re at the movie theatres, shut it off! Ellen doesn’t want anyone taking out their phone while they’re on the air being interviewed with her, that is unless they want to take a celebrity selfie, but more on that later!
17 Need To Be In Her Inner Circle
As a part of her job and being a veteran with over 40 years in the industry, she needs to network. This means she wants to meet and get acquainted with other celebrities, and that’s who she invites onto her show. Interviews on her show are so much better when she’s friends or at least knows the people who she’s interviewing on air. This gives her more insight and great chemistry with her guests, and usually the closer she is with the person she’s interviewing, the more fun the experience is for everyone.
16 Be Able To Keep Up With The Kardashians
Even celebrities get star struck, and for Ellen that means The Kardashians. Before guests appear on her show, they’d do well to do a little reading up on the famous family, since Ellen regularly mentions and asks questions about them all the time. It’s best to prepare a little something to say about Ellen’s favourite celeb family to keep her happy and the audience entertained.
15 Ellen Must Like You In Real Life
Despite appearing on Ellen’s sitcom in the 1990’s Ellen and Kathy Griffin have never been besties. In her book, Griffin mentions an unnamed talk show host, with short blonde hair who she implies isn’t very nice. Ellen bit back during a W Magazine Profile in US Weekly and said, "I know [Griffin] had a big thing about wanting to be on the show. … She did a whole thing that I banned her from the show. I didn't ban her from the show, because first you have to be on the show to be banned."
14 Make A Repeat Appearance
People who Ellen loves stop by the show on the regular. Fan favourites are also her closest friends off camera. Naturally her wife is on the air, but so are her best friends who visit as guests, performers, and even guest co-hosts. Want to know who she’s closest with? Jennifer Aniston has been on the show 18 times, Pam Anderson 10 times, Oprah Winfrey 10 times, and Justin Timberlake 16 times.
13 Dish About Your Love Life
Since Ellen knows most of her guests, she can prepare them for what she’s going to ask, and viewers love it when she gets them to talk about dating or their latest big relationship. Everyone from Rihanna to Drew Barrymore have talked to Ellen about looking for love. In a 2018 interview Barrymore candidly told Ellen, "I heard Amy Schumer saying she met her boyfriend on there. One night, I'm flying home by myself and I'm like, 'Screw it, I'm going to fulfill my fantasy and go on a dating app!'"
12 No Foul Language Allowed
A daytime show has certain rules and Ellen makes sure that her guests follow them. Cursing isn’t technically allowed on late night shows, although the censors are a little laxer on what they will and won’t allow on night shows compared to Ellen’s, which is early in the day. Even the king of F-Bombs, Mr. Samuel L. Jackson needs to keep his potty mouth in check when he’s visiting Ellen.
11 Dress Down For The Show
While some guests like to dress to the nine, most guests follow her lead and dress in a business casual or casual way when they are on the show. This allows viewers yet another glimpse at ‘the real them’ and lets them be comfortable, as most people don’t want to be in a sequined gown while they chat and sip their morning coffee, if they’re at home or on Ellen’s show.
10 Games, Games & More Games
To get the airtime on Ellen you must be willing to play the game, literally. Ellen entertains by having her guests play games and even the most serious actors seem to have fun. Some of the most popular games to be shown on air over the years include: What’s in the box, Know or Go? The Marshmallow Game, Cut the Cord, and Pie Face.
9 Prepare To Answer To Anything You've Posted Online
Ellen and her staff do their research. This means before they host someone, they read up on their work, and their social media profiles. It’s not uncommon for Ellen to ask a guest what they meant when they posted something on Social Media, but here’s the rub, sometimes the posts are from that week and other times they’re years old. Ellen thinks this is a fun way to put her guests on the spot.
8 Talk Up Your Relationship With Ellen
Since Ellen is all about relationships, she wants viewers to get a look at her life as well as that of her guests. It’s even better when guests tell stories involving their time with Ellen. Even celebs like David Spade talk about Ellen’s parties, like the time she was so busy at her birthday party that the two didn’t get a chance to connect.
7 Show Up The Day After You Win An Oscar
Ellen is front of the line for getting Oscar winners on her show. Even though the stars may want to party all night, it’s an unspoken tradition that they appear on her show the next day, so they may want to take it easy. The day following their big win they’re asked questions about things that they couldn’t possibly say on the podium.
6 Be Okay With Some Pranks & Scares
Ellen likes to startle people and prank them on the show. Because she’s pranking them, it’s a wonder that there isn’t more swearing on her show. Since it’s a random choice both celebs and viewers aren’t going to know who is going to jump out from where, and how a guest is going to react to these pranks.
5 Dish On Their Personal Life
Since guests are friendly with Ellen, they trust her. Whether it’s through an interview or her games, the laid-back feel of the show lets people be more honest. Ellen finds out about the struggles of being a new parent, through specific celeb insider scoops. On her show Jared Leto revealed that he once sent an intimate text to the wrong person, that JLo has snuck a visitor into her home at night while her kids were sleeping, and that Drake has hooked up with a fan.
4 Pose For A Selfie With Ellen
Ellen loves a good selfie, so if you’re on the show get ready to strike a pose. This is the one time when it is okay to bring out your phone when you’re on her show. Her famous Academy Awards selfie is widely accepted to be the third most re-tweeted tweet of all time. If she keeps on practicing, maybe she’ll earn a number one.
3 Misbehave? Ellen Will Handle It!
Ellen is a master at defusing guests. She keeps her cool when they go off topic or act up on her show. Ellen has become a master at guiding conversation back to topic and politely calling people out when they behave badly - just don’t expect to get asked back if you aren’t a good guest.
2 Get Up And Dance
Ellen is a dancing queen and her high energy gets viewers pumped and ready to face their day. Ellen loves and encourages her guests to enter the show with that same passion for dance. Ellen has danced on TV with The Jonas Brothers, John Travolta, Sharon Stone, Madonna, Mike Myers, Michelle Obama, John Krasinski, and just about everyone else famous!
1 No Hugging For Some
While Ellen is happy to hug celebs who she’s well acquainted with, viewers are given a strict ‘no hugging’ rule. This helps keep things professional. Guests who aren’t so famous are best to take Ellen’s lead on whether she goes in for a hug, or she keeps her appreciation to laughing, dancing, and quality conversation.
Sources: Advocate, Nicki Swift, The Talko, Screen Rant, ET