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Ellen DeGeneres is reflecting on her run as a daytime talk show host ahead of her final sign-off.
The “Ellen DeGeneres Show” has appeared on television sets for 19 seasons and more than 3,200 episodes. Now, the comedian is officially saying goodbye after nearly 20 years on-air when her final episode airs on Thursday. DeGeneres announced the end of her show in 2021 after a year of brutal headlines involving a toxic workplace scandal.
In a new interview, DeGeneres, 64, said she isn’t feeling as emotional about the finality of her situation as she once did months ago when she was still taping episodes into late April, telling The Hollywood Reporter that since she knew a season out her curtain call would be coming, she did her best to “take it all in” as the days dwindled.
“It’s funny because the last couple of months I was more emotional than I was in the last week or two,” DeGeneres told the publication. “I got really emotional about two months out, but that last week I wasn’t because I really just wanted to enjoy it. I was working with [former monk] Jay Shetty a lot, too, on being present and I was. I was very present for all of it.”
In fact, the “Relatable” performer pressed that it was the emotion from the parade of guests making their final appearances on the show that surprised her, describing the feeling as “flattering” given that they had “really enjoyed themselves on my show.”
“For people like Zac Efron to get emotional — I mean, he really teared up, but there are so many people who grew up on the show and so that [response] was very flattering,” she explained. “[Doing press] is a necessary evil in this business. You do a job and then you’ve got to go out and talk about it, and people ask questions over and over again, and I came from that side of the business and I was always like, “How can I make this a better, more fun experience for people?”
DeGeneres went on to say that while she believes she made the “right choice” in ending her show, the funnywoman admitted that “a couple of months out … I was crying every day.”
“I was really emotional, even though it was my choice, and it’s the right choice. I knew it was time to end this chapter and to do something different, but still it was really emotional,” DeGeneres lamented, adding “I did not want the last two weeks to be about that.”
“I’d meditate every day on my intention and how much I wanted to be present and enjoy it and I wanted that for the audience, too,” she continued. “I wanted people to be reminded of what we brought to television with the music and the games and everything. It was more of a variety show than anything, and I wanted the last two weeks to be pure fun because I struggle with anxiety and depression and I know how important it is to have an escape. We’re reminded every single day of what’s going on in the world, from a sick family member to wars and fires and global warming. There are so many different things that make you sad.”
As for what she will embark on next, DeGeneres said she’s heeding the advice of her close pal, Oprah Winfrey — who cautioned DeGeneres against jumping into her next gig so quickly — be it acting or otherwise. DeGeneres will also still helm her production arms Ellen Digital Ventures and A Very Good Production.
“She said I won’t really feel it until September when I’d normally go back [into production],” said DeGeneres, who still owes Netflix another stand-up special. The host also praised Winfrey as “obviously a very wise woman, and one of the wisest things that I got from her is when making a margarita, always use fresh lime, never bottled lime. So, I’ll always remember that.”
DeGeneres started Season 18 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.
“As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened,” she began.
“I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected. 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.
“This is ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show.’ I am Ellen DeGeneres. My name is there, my name is there, my name is on underwear,” the host joked. “We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes, and today we are starting a new chapter.”
Bombshell accusations rocked the show for several months, which culminated in several former employee testimonials of sexually inappropriate behavior by ousted producers. One producer had also reportedly been at the heart of the complaints of poor workplace culture.