When it comes to worldwide celebrities, there are few more beloved than Ellen DeGeneres. The talk show icon, who began her career as a stand-up comedian before moving over to acting in the 1990s, has also become one of the biggest names in television presenting history with her daytime show The Ellen DeGeneres Show. It began in 2003 and is still going strong today, having racked up an incredible 59 Daytime Emmy Awards, surpassing a record previously held by The Oprah Winfrey Show. Ellen has also hosted American Idol, the Academy Awards, the Grammy Awards, and the Primetime Emmy’s. So, yeah. She’s a very big deal.
Over the course of the nearly 16-year history of her talk show, Ellen has had nearly every celebrity under the sun on her sofa. She makes her show fun and likes to promote a relaxed atmosphere for the guests, who are free to dress more casually than on late-night talk shows. They play silly games and are encouraged to tell amusingly random anecdotes, and they laugh and dance with Ellen, who is a bubbly and hilarious personality to be around.
There are a number of celebrities who have appeared on her show multiple times over the years, and this article will look at 18 who clearly loved being on the show. But, as with life, not everything is always wine and roses, so there are also two celebs on the list who may have regretted their appearance on Ellen when they came out of it looking worse than when they went in!
20 LOVED IT: MELISSA MCCARTHY
Oscar nominee and comedy megastar Melissa McCarthy has been a repeat guest on the Ellen show, and for good reason: the two women simply get along like a house on fire. Their interviews are always hilarious, irreverent and just plain fun to watch, which makes sense, considering they are also friends away from the cameras. McCarthy’s most recent appearance in October 2018 saw her waxing lyrical about how she met husband Ben Falcone, as well as how they spent a very romantic evening on their recent 13th anniversary at their house…with Richard E. Grant (her co-star in Can You Ever Forgive Me?)! She also said Falcone would be dressing as artist Bob Ross for Halloween and that she’d be going as his friend, a squirrel. Their daughters would be a cactus and Big Bad Wolfette, incidentally.
19 LOVED IT: JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
Justin Timberlake and Ellen are such good friends that he gave her a personalized signal to let her know he was thinking of her…while performing at the Superbowl Halftime Show in 2018! A few weeks prior to the big game, Timberlake had surprised Ellen by appearing on her show via satellite to serenade her with a version of ‘Happy Birthday’ for her upcoming 60th. Ellen then revealed a few weeks later that she’d asked Timberlake to give her a signal during his performance, and even gave him some suggestions, including a wacky shoulder-tapping dance and a strange-looking stomach rub. He did exactly as she asked halfway through his hit ‘Mirrors’, hitting a smooth shoulder bop and rubbing his stomach in an alluring manner! That JT is a good friend.
18 LOVED IT: JENNIFER ANISTON
Jennifer Aniston and Ellen have been friends for many years at this point. When the former Friends star appeared on Ellen’s show in December 2018 to promote Dumplin’, her new Netflix Original film, Ellen talked about Jen’s upcoming 50th birthday on February 11th, 2019. She told her that she had big plans for the day, saying that she was going to throw her a celebration on the show for the entire hour! Aniston said it sounded like a great idea and the audience got very excited, but then Ellen laughed and said it was probably not going to happen live on-air like that. In the end, Ellen did attend Jennifer’s birthday party at the Sunset Tower Hotel in Los Angeles, which scuppered rumors that the bash would be held at Ellen and wife Portia De Rossi’s house!
17 LOVED IT: RYAN SEACREST
Live With Kelly And Ryan host Ryan Seacrest loves Ellen. In fact, he was once quoted as saying ‘Everyone hearts Ellen Degeneres. What’s not to love?’. The two hard-working presenters worked together on American Idol and Seacrest has been a guest on her show several times, including a memorable appearance on her 50th birthday edition in 2008. He had brought her a gift: a bingo set! Which was funny, because she’s “old” now. Get it?! Anyway, the whole situation jumped up a notch when Seacrest picked up another gift bag which he was clearly unaware of and took the item out of the bag, before quickly shoving it back in while both he and Ellen laughed hysterically. It was a long blue bingo stamper.
16 LOVED IT: PHARRELL WILLIAMS
Pharrell Williams and Ellen are great friends in real life and he has been a guest on her show a number of times. He was a special guest at her 60th birthday bash and it’s well known that both are fans of each other’s work. In fact, Pharrell once sided with Ellen against someone he had recorded a duet with! He collaborated with gospel singer Kim Burrell on the Hidden Figures movie soundtrack, and the two were due to perform the song on Ellen’s show, but Ellen banned her after a leaked video came to light showing that she had been preaching anti-gay sermons. Pharrell appeared on the show on his own and agreed with his friend, stating that he couldn’t condone Kim’s behavior. ‘The universe is love and that’s the only way it will function’. Well said, Pharrell.
15 LOVED IT: SOFIA VERGARA
Ellen has always had a brilliant ongoing war of teasing with Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara, who gives as good as she gets. When Vergara suffered a wardrobe malfunction at the Emmy’s in 2012, Ellen dressed as her on her Halloween show, complete with a comically large bosom and comedy Colombian accent. Always the good sport, Vergara came out in the middle of Ellen’s impersonation and couldn’t help laughing. Then, in a 2017 appearance, Ellen told Sofia she was learning Spanish by practicing a word a day. She challenged Sofia to pronounce a few English words and the actress couldn’t help cracking up while trying to say ‘discombobulated’. Sofia was even able to (sort of) playfully dig at Ellen on her own show for not showing up to her 2015 wedding to Joe Manganiello!
14 LOVED IT: STEVE CARELL
Steve Carell has been a guest on the Ellen show a number of times and always brings with him the sense that they are just two buddies, possessed of razor-sharp wit, shooting the breeze. Carell’s most recent appearance was in December 2018. He was promoting Welcome To Marwen and told a brilliant story about how a female fan had run him over with her car! He had been biking on a fast road and made a turn without seeing a car behind him. It struck him and he went over the handlebars, somehow managing to tuck and roll before springing back up to his feet. The driver was distraught but then realized it was Steve Carell she’d hit and got very excited. Ellen then offered him a high-visibility vest covered in lights and reflectors, as well as a helmet! Brilliant.
13 LOVED IT: JENNIFER LAWRENCE
Jennifer Lawrence’s February 28th, 2018 appearance on the Ellen show was a heck of a lot of fun. The actress, who was ostensibly there to promote Red Sparrow, totally let her hair down and told hilarious stories about her drinking alter-ego Gail and a bizarre altercation she had while attending Ellen’s 60th birthday party. Lawrence says she turns into a different person when she drinks, but especially when she’s on vacation. She says she’s normally quite cautious but when drinks are around, ‘Gail’ rears her head!
12 LOVED IT: RYAN GOSLING
Hollywood heartthrob (and one of the very best actors working today) Ryan Gosling was declared the best guest ever to appear on the Ellen show…by Ellen herself! The proclamation came during a 2011 appearance when Gosling was promoting Blue Valentine, the heartwrenching and harrowing movie he starred in with Michelle Williams. Somewhat bizarrely, given how serious the movie’s subject matter was, the interview wasn’t serious in the least. Gosling and Ellen were on exercise bikes while they talked, and halfway through they changed into novelty onesies, which Gosling had also brought for each and every member of the audience! It was kind of a surreal sight to see the host, guest, and audience wearing pajamas while on daytime TV, but hey, it sure was funny!
11 REGRETTED: KANYE WEST
Kanye West has been a controversial figure for several years at this point. But he’s also exhibited eccentric behavior for a while, that, at best, is baffling and. One of his most infamous moments came during an appearance on the Ellen show in 2016. He said that he needed one billion dollars to ‘change the world’ and when Ellen asked what his revolutionary ideas were, he went on a “stream of consciousness” rant that lasted six and a half minutes! He touched on career changes, potentially working with Payless ShoeSource, Michael Jackso,n and the glass ceiling in the fashion industry. Ellen looked bemused throughout and even asked Kanye’s mother-in-law Kris Jenner if he was okay when she appeared on the show in 2018.
10 LOVED IT: HUGH LAURIE
At the height of his House fame in 2008, Hugh Laurie appeared on the Ellen show and they played a game that turned out to be pretty darn hilarious. Ellen had to guess what certain words or phrases of British slang meant, and Laurie had to decipher what the American slang translated as. What followed was a brilliant display of just how out of their element both celebrities were, and their (very wrong) guesses were priceless. Laurie went on to appear on the show again in 2011 and Ellen poked affectionate fun at him being the new face of L’Oreal Men. Laurie, naturally, reacted with customary awkward British self-deprecation and looked deeply uncomfortable at the high-pitched screams from the audience. Ellen seemed to like watching him squirm, and so did we!
9 LOVED IT: BRUNO MARS
Appearing on the Ellen show isn’t always fun and games. Sometimes more serious matters are addressed and this was the case when pop star Bruno Mars guested in 2014. He had just performed a stripped back set at the Superbowl Halftime show, preferring to let his vocals shine through, and was commended in certain quarters. But there was also a backlash, which included an article in the New York Times that said he shouldn’t have performed because he wasn’t famous enough, wasn’t in the tabloids enough, and didn’t have a fragrance to promote. Mars called this ‘disgusting’ and gave an impassioned speech, saying that all aspiring musicians should practice their craft, put their heart and soul into it and follow their dreams, because the music is the important thing, not tabloids or fragrances. Well said, Bruno!
8 LOVED IT: BRITNEY SPEARS
In October 2018, Britney Spears appeared on the Ellen show after teasing a ‘BIG announcement’. It turned out that her appearance was simply to announce…that she had an announcement coming soon! Ellen tried to style things out and make a joke of it, but the moment fell flat. It turned out the announcement was that Britney was taking up a residency in Las Vegas (again). Oh well. Her appearance on Ellen in 2016 was much, much better. The two women went to the Westfield Fashion Square Mall in Los Angeles and got into all sorts of satirical mischief, which included taking a nap in a store’s bed display, insisting they got 100% discount on ice cream because of their fame, and telling a bunch of children that the important things in life are money and celebrity.
7 LOVED IT: MERYL STREEP
Meryl Streep has a wonderful relationship with Ellen and it shows every time she’s on the show. She appeared with Tom Hanks in January 2018 to promote The Post and the two icons proceeded to nail reenactments of scenes from their cinema history; Streep doing the Forrest Gump ‘box of chocolates’ monologue was particularly brilliant. She also appeared in 2014 with Anna Kendrick and Emily Blunt and the three actresses tried to re-do Ellen’s famous Oscars selfie, which was originally just meant to be a selfie with her and Meryl; this time Kendrick and Blunt amusingly got in the way. And in another 2014 appearance, Meryl proved she can make anything sound interesting by doing dramatic cue card readings with random things on them, like recipes or directions!
6 LOVED IT: JUSTIN BIEBER
Justin Bieber has appeared on the Ellen show a mammoth 26 times over the past decade. In fact, his second ever national TV appearance was on Ellen in 2009 and over the subsequent decade, he has become one of the biggest pop stars on the planet. The two have a great relationship, with Ellen sometimes coming across like Justin’s surrogate celebrity mom, always quick to defend him when a controversy pops up. On the show, Ellen has thrown him a high-school graduation (as he missed his real-life ceremony) and gifted him a car on his 18th birthday. She also held an entire ‘Justin Bieber Week’ on the show in 2015 and helped him with a social media countdown to his album ‘What Do You Mean?’.
5 LOVED IT: KATE MCKINNON
Ghostbusters star Kate McKinnon’s most recent appearance on the Ellen show was in March 2018 alongside her The Spy Who Dumped Me co-star, Mila Kunis. The two gushed about how they instantly bonded as they both share a deep love of The Bachelor. They then played a hilarious game of Speak Out which had Ellen reaching for the tissues as she was laughing so hard. However, McKinnon is also known for her spot-on impression of Ellen, which she first started doing on Saturday Night Live and then carried over to the Ellen show (twice). She once did Ellen’s opening monologue, dressed exactly like her, and it had fans seeing and hearing double. The only minor flaw in her impression is her dance moves, which aren’t quite the same as Ellen’s!
4 LOVED IT: TAYLOR SWIFT
Pop idol Taylor Swift has been a guest on Ellen’s show a number of times and always seems to have a great time. She’s able to play along with Ellen’s light teasing and always comes across as a genuinely nice person. However, Taylor is probably best known for the times she has been the behind of Ellen’s scare pranks on the show. As the woman herself puts it, ‘There’s so much to love about Taylor Swift. She’s kind, she’s gorgeous, she’s an amazing artist, and when you scare her she crumbles like a potato chip.’ The best example of this was an early scare in which Ellen simply hid in the bathroom of Taylor’s dressing room and screamed at her when she walked in. Taylor fell to the floor screaming and then the two women spent the best part of a minute laughing hysterically.
3 LOVED IT: MICHELLE OBAMA
Ellen’s list of celebrity fans extends further than actors and pop stars…she’s also BFF’s with former First Lady Michelle Obama! In November 2018 Michelle was on the promotional trail for her memoir, Becoming, which reveals details about life in the White House, as well as her relationships with husband Barack and daughters Malia and Sasha. Ellen organized an impromptu book signing in Costco and then proceeded to amusingly troll Michelle the entire time, playing the keyboard to distract her and lamenting the fact that Oprah was mentioned more times in the book than Ellen. The whole skit was a spiritual sequel to a 2016 bit in which they went shopping in CVS, as Ellen felt Michelle needed to be taught how to grocery shop now that the family was leaving the White House!
2 LOVED IT: DANIEL CRAIG
Daniel Craig’s on-screen persona is usually pretty rough-and-tumble and very, very intense. So, it was a nice change of pace to see him on the Ellen show being interviewed by 8-year-old Canadian James Bond superfan Britton Walker. Ellen and her team had organized a tuxedo for the little boy to wear and he wore it to interview his idol. Seeing Craig be so warm with Britton was great and it was obvious how much the Bond films meant to the boy. Craig even mixed a drink for them to drink (made with apple juice, of course). The Ellen show had also organized for Britton to attend the Spectre premier in Mexico City, where he met other stars such as Sam Smith, Christoph Waltz, and Monica Bellucci! Of course, he also met Craig again and gave him another massive hug.
1 REGRETTED: CAITLYN JENNER
Caitlyn Jenner has accused Ellen of alienating her from the community after a controversial appearance on her show in 2015. Ellen had asked Caitlyn about her views on same-gender marriage and she responded that her view had ‘progressed over the years’. She admitted that she is a traditionalist and for many years believed marriage should be between a man and woman, but that now she understood it and felt it was ‘a wonderful thing to see’. Ellen later appeared on the Howard Stern Show and accused Jenner of passing ‘judgment against gay people and marriage’, even intimating that Jenner didn’t want to dance with her because she is gay. In her memoir The Secrets Of My Life, Jenner said Ellen took her words out of context and then it went viral.