Ellen DeGeneres jokes she was ‘kicked out’ of showbiz for being ‘mean’

Ellen DeGeneres speaks onstage during the 'Michelle Obama: The Light We Carry Tour' at Warner Theatre on November 15, 2022 in Washington, DC. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Live Nation

Ellen DeGeneres is back in the public eye two years after her eponymous talk show was cancelled amid toxic workplace allegations.

The former titan of daytime television fell from grace in the wake of a 2020 Buzzfeed News investigation, reporting on allegations made by 10 former employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show who said they faced racism, intimidation and sexual misconduct at the hands of top producers on the show. Three producers were fired in the aftermath of the report, but The Ellen DeGeneres Show never recovered and ended after 19 seasons.

DeGeneres has made rare public appearances since, but her current “Ellen’s Last Stand… Up Tour” is her first foray back into the limelight.

During a Wednesday gig at the Largo in L.A., DeGeneres addressed her unceremonious exit, saying she “got kicked out of show business,” according to People and Rolling Stone, which first reported on the comedy set.

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“There’s no mean people in show business,” she joked.

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“The ‘be kind’ girl wasn’t kind. That was the headline,” DeGeneres continued, referencing how she used to end all her shows with the phrase “Be kind to one another.”

The former talk show host bemoaned how her TV legacy was diminished after the scandal: “I became this one-dimensional character who gave stuff away and danced up steps. Do you know how hard it is to dance up steps? Would a mean person dance up steps? Had I ended my show by saying, ‘Go f–k yourself,’ people would’ve been pleasantly surprised.”

DeGeneres apologized on-air after the allegations against her show arose, but she maintained that she was unaware of the toxic work environment. Nevertheless, she said she was “taking responsibility for what happened at my show.”

During Wednesday night’s performance, DeGeneres discussed how she was immature as a manager and “didn’t know how to be a boss.”

“I didn’t go to business school. I went to Charlie’s Chuckle Hutt,” DeGeneres joked, according to Rolling Stone. “The show was called Ellen and everybody was wearing T-shirts that said ‘Ellen’ and there were buildings on the Warner Brothers lot that said ‘Ellen,’ but I (didn’t) know that meant I should be in charge.”

She also pointed out that the backlash she faced starting in 2020 was actually her second fall from grace, referring to her sitcom Ellen, which was cancelled in 1998 after DeGeneres came out as gay.

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“For those of you keeping score, this is the second time I’ve been kicked out of show business…Eventually they’re going to kick me out for a third time because I’m mean, old, and gay.”

After the stand-up routine finished, DeGeneres came back on stage for an audience Q&A and got candid about how she “hated the way the show ended” because she “loved that show so much.”

“I’m making jokes about what happened to me, but it was devastating,” she said. “It took a long time for me to want to do anything again.”

The “Ellen’s Last Stand… Up Tour” is making the rounds through the western United States and will culminate in a taped special for Netflix.

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