Ellen DeGeneres is taking viewers back to the start. On Wednesday, the talk show host gave audiences the ultimate throwback when she unveiled 20-year-old test footage she used to help sell “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to network execs. Dated Sept. 13, 2002, it gave networks a mini-show featuring Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt and Alanis Morissette.
Set in DeGeneres’ home, the host sits across from her famous friends and of course, hilarity ensues, with a “Castaway”-era Hanks making show suggestions and DeGeneres even attempting to cut off a piece of Morissette’s signature long locks.
“We have put together – I hope you find it entertaining – a little package, a little show, because I thought that it was important to show sort of the direction that I’m thinking,” DeGeneres tells the camera. “So, I wanted to make sure that you understand, sort of, that I can do this, because I feel so excited about it and I can’t wait to do it.”
She continues, “So, I called up some friends, and I said, ‘Would you mind coming over to my house?'”
The test footage then cuts to DeGeneres across from an excited Hanks, who asks the future host of the titular talk show if she’s planning to have a band with her onstage.
“Here’s the question you must answer: Band? Yes or no?” Hanks asks. “Witty banter with a piano player?”
“Why don’t you and Alanis – she’s next – why don’t you and Alanis be my house band?” DeGeneres suggests.
The quips continue when DeGeneres, scissors in hand, attempts to cut Morissette’s hair.
“I really wanna talk about your hair, when’s the last time you cut it?” DeGeneres asks.
“It’s been a while. It’s due for a little trim,” Morissette admits.
“Is it?” an excited DeGeneres asks before pulling out the scissors. “I’m just curious – how much, ’cause we could sell it?”
“Just the bottoms,” Morissette insists. “Are you gonna let me cut it? Can I cut a tiny bit or do you wanna cut mine?” DeGeneres pleads.
“Just cut, like, straight across,” Morissette agrees before shrieking once DeGeneres attempts to chop off a piece.
Viewers also got to see a glimpse of the early games DeGeneres would go on to play on her show – something that later turned into a spinoff of its own, with “Ellen’s Game of Games”.
“This is – I don’t know what it is really,” DeGeneres prefaces to Hunt. “It’s a talk show, but the more I have had people over, it’s sort of turned into a game show because I’m enjoying doing that.”
“Ok,” Hunt hesitantly agrees.
“I’ll just make some up,” DeGeneres begins. “Umbrella.”
“Stand,” Hunt replies.
“All right, yeah,” DeGeneres agrees. “I say we win,” Hunt suggests, before the pair launch into a fit of laughter.
The clip obviously was a success, garnering DeGeneres her own show that’s now preparing to air its final episode Thursday as its 19th and final season comes to a close.
On April 29, DeGeneres tweeted a picture announcing that she and her crew taped the show’s final episode.
The tweet included a photo of DeGeneres looking contemplative as she appears to look in the audience’s direction. She followed up that tweet with two more, saying, “When we started this show in 2003, the iPhone didn’t exist. Social Media didn’t exist. Gay marriage wasn’t legal. We watched the world change, sometimes for the better, sometimes not.” She added, “But whatever was happening, my goal was always for the show to be a place where we could all come together and laugh for an hour. Being invited into your lives has been the greatest privilege of my life and has brought me incredible joy. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Today we taped the final episode of The Ellen Show which airs on May 26th. pic.twitter.com/akuukE3fw8
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) April 29, 2022
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” premiered on Sept. 8, 2003 and it proved to be a dominant force in the afternoon time slot. After nearly two decades, the show hauled in 64 Daytime Emmys and invited more than 4,000 guests, generated more than 3,000 hours of TV, hosted 1.5 million audience members and gave away more than $450,000,000.
Following the finale, the show will continue to air guest host shows, compilation shows and repeats during the summer months on affiliate stations.
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