‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’: The most cringeworthy interviews
The name Ellen DeGeneres used to be synonymous with kindness. Ellen’s talk show has been a daytime staple for almost two decades and much of her appeal came from the warm, welcoming persona that she put forth. Unfortunately, recent reports from the comedian’s employees have revealed that she is anything but warm on the set.
This revelation comes as a shock to many, but truthfully, the signs of Ellen’s diva-like behavior were always there. There have been times where Ellen’s affable demeanor slips, and her tension with a guest leads to some unbearably awkward television. Here are some of the best (aka cringiest) examples.
In the interview seen “‘round the world”, Dakota Johnson went on Ellen’s show to promote The Peanut Butter Falcon in 2019, and things seemed amiable until the subject of Johnson’s birthday party came up. Ellen asked about the party since she wasn’t invited but Johnson corrected her and said, “I did invite you and you didn’t come.”
Johnson even urged the host to ask her producer Jonathan about the invite. The awkwardness that followed felt like an eternity in screen time, even after Ellen joked about being out of town during the party. Johnson’s snappy response sparked endless memes, particularly by those who felt that Ellen was being a careless host.
Justin Bieber is a familiar face on Ellen’s talk show, but that didn’t save him from some unbearably cringey time in the guest chair. In 2015, the pop star was forced to answer questions about his nude photos and the status of his relationship with an unnamed woman.
Ellen asked Bieber whether the two are dating, and despite his assurance that they are just friends, the host continues to push him. It got to the point where Bieber covered his face with his hands and said: “Why are you putting me on the spot like this.” A little bit later in the interview, Bieber whispered an audible “stop” to Ellen. It’s tough to watch.
Ellen seemed to cross a line during a 2007 interview with pop songstress Celine Dion. In discussing a photo of Dion’s son, Ellen made a comment about the length of the boy’s hair and how it needed to be cut. Dion was visibly annoyed by the comment and asked the host if she had a problem with it.
“I don’t even cut my son’s hair and they say, ‘Oh my god, when is she going to cut her son’s hair?’ You know? Whatever I will do, I won’t please everyone,” Dion explained. “When he’s ready, I’ll cut it.”
Ellen changes topics after the brief exchange, but the hostility between both parties makes the rest of the interview wildly uncomfortable. Ellen’s mortified face says it all.
Ellen was a self-professed fan when she welcomed comedian Hasan Minhaj onto the show in 2019, but things quickly soured when she mispronounced his name. Twice. After the second time, Minhaj stopped her and said, “No, I actually want to do this on national television.” He corrected her, but the cringe meter rose exponentially when Ellen mispronounced his name a third time.
Minhaj tried to smooth things over by launching into a bit about his name and how people urged him to change it, but the damage was done. In light of the recent accusations made towards The Ellen Show, particularly with regards to racial insensitivity on the set, this interview is especially damaging.
Taylor Swift got more than she bargained for when she appeared on The Ellen Show in 2013. The host said that Swift had dated Zac Efron and even after she denied it, the host kept the bit going and insisted. She then ran a series of photos of Swift with famous men and asked her which ones she had dated.
Swift, understandably uncomfortable, said, “I don’t know if I’m going to do this.” Ellen said that she has to play, and pushed the pop singer to the point of snapping. “What are you doing to me?” Swift said, “It makes me feel so bad about myself.”
“Every time I come up here you put a different dude up here on the screen and it just makes me really question what I stand for as a human being,” she added. Ellen responded by laughing out loud and the audience followed suit. In retrospect, it stands as one of the cringiest moments of Ellen’s entire career.