Oprah Winfrey comforts Ellen DeGeneres after the ‘profound day’ the host just had
In her “Today” interview Thursday morning, Ellen DeGeneres called the scandal that plagued her last summer “misogynistic” and “orchestrated.”
But her video chat with Oprah Winfrey struck a different tone, presenting two celebrities bonding over the rare experience of hosting a long-running daytime talk show then ending it.
“Listen, it’s almost 10 years ago ... when I was in this exact position. I know what those feelings are. I also know the feelings leading up to it,” Winfrey said in the interview, which was taped Wednesday for broadcast on Thursday’s “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” (The episode airs at 3 p.m. Pacific but video is already available on YouTube.)
DeGeneres told the Hollywood Reporter Wednesday that her show will end with its upcoming 19th season. Despite last year’s drama over allegations of a toxic workplace, the 63-year-old maintains that she made the decision two years ago when she signed a final three-year contract to do the syndicated program.
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“Hearing you say, and announcing to the world, that it was your instinct and you thought long and hard about it — because anybody would know that for something that is as powerful as the show is in other people’s lives, that you would not take that lightly,” Winfrey continued.
DeGeneres told Winfrey the same thing she told THR: She’s a creative person and she needs a new challenge. That’s why she has done things like returning to stand-up comedy, she said.
Winfrey predicted that among the relationships linked to the show, DeGeneres would, like herself, miss the audience the most.
“I don’t mean just, oh, audience applause,” Winfrey said. “I always felt like I was a surrogate viewer and that I was there representing the audience. ... I really missed the camaraderie with the audience.” She said she used to chat with her audience every day after the show was taped.
She told DeGeneres, “I think you will miss the camaraderie of the audience, but you also are out in the world — if you choose to do stand-up or not do stand-up — you get some of that feeling, that resonance from an audience.”
DeGeneres said she was missing her audience already, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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“I’m lucky I get to see smiling faces looking at me from all over the world ...,” she said, referring to the people who were part of the episode via video conference. “But it’s not the same energy as having that exchange when they’re here. So I am praying that next season I have an audience all season long that can celebrate with me and say goodbye.”
Then Winfrey revealed one thing she didn’t miss from her daytime-talk days: Doing makeovers.
“I just thought, there’s not another way I can ask somebody, ‘What mascara are you wearing?’ There’s not another way I can say, ‘What color is that eye shadow you’re using?’ There wasn’t another way I could do that and be honest, authentic with myself,” she said.
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That was the beginning of the end for Winfrey, whose talk show aired its final episode in January 2011, capping a 25-year run.
DeGeneres said she wanted to give her staff and crew a year to prepare for the end of her talk show.
“I wanted to give them enough time to know,” she said. “I didn’t want to do it the last year I was here. I wanted to give them a year to celebrate with me and stay with me.”
Moments later, after a commercial break, DeGeneres felt compelled to comment on Oprah’s mascara, calling it the “prettiest color” and breaking the reflective mood. Always a comic, that Ellen. But Oprah got in a final bit of wisdom.
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“Just like you have shared yourself, the expression of your talent, in a way that has made people feel so much better about themselves all these years, that is what you’ve done, Ellen,” Winfrey said.
“It’s so much more than the show. ... Every single person in your audience who has been touched by you, by your laughter, by your jokes, by your kindness, by your sharing, by your being, that’s your legacy. And that’s why this is such a profound day.”
DeGeneres seemed moved. “I love you so much, Oprah,” she said. “I am, as I say all the time, I am so honored to call you a friend. You are the wisest person I know and I just adore you.”
Then she pitched Winfrey’s new book and upcoming Apple TV+ series with Prince Harry and moved the show along.
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