Ellen DeGeneres: ‘I didn’t think it was ever funny to make fun of people’


Ellen DeGeneres is promoting Finding Dory, in which she reprises one of her most well-known roles as the fish with short term memory loss. When the original film, Finding Nemo, was released, it was during the resurgence of Ellen’s career. After having made the very bold decision to come out on her successful sitcom, Ellen, in 1997, her show was abruptly cancelled and it looked like her star had flamed out. Instead of crawling under a rock, she went back to stand-up, auspiciously hosted the Emmy’s and created her own daytime talk show in which she took up Rosie O’Donnell’s mantle of the Queen of Nice. Ellen’s interview in Parade Magazine this week reaches back into her childhood and how it molded not only her but her style of comedy.

On growing up in Metairie, La., and her parents’ divorce: “I grew up in a very conservative home. There was no drinking, smoking or cursing. I didn’t see deep emotion from my parents. It was all very polite and very surface. I never knew how anybody was feeling. I never saw anyone angry. So when I was 13 and my parents divorced, it was a huge surprise to me, because I was told everything was fine. It was very confusing. That’s not a healthy way to grow up.”

On her sense of humor: “My comedy came from observing little details of life. One of my first jokes was the fact that when somebody tastes something disgusting, they always want you to taste it too, like ‘This is disgusting—taste it!’ I was very tender, very sensitive, and I still am. I never want to hurt anybody. I want to make people laugh. I didn’t think it was ever funny to make fun of people. There’s so much to laugh at without it being at someone else’s expense.”

On the “happy” vibe of her TV show: “It is a happy show, on purpose. I represent happiness to a lot people. I think a lot of station managers thought I would have an agenda to try to somehow turn the world gay. People did worry. Our only agenda is to make people feel good. It’s an hour of joy.”

On the rumors of marital discord that recently surfaced about her and her wife, Portia: “I don’t pay attention [to rumors]. There’s a story out there that we’re getting divorced. We don’t know why. We genuinely love each other. Her happiness is my happiness, and vice versa. True love is caring more about the other person’s happiness than your own.”

[From Parade]

Later in the interview, when asked about why she doesn’t talk about the election, Ellen says she doesn’t do political humor and never has. She cites other talk show hosts going after Trump every night but explains, “I don’t want to make fun of anybody. It’s not who I am.” I’m sorry, but isn’t she being sued because that’s exactly what she did to a poor realtor in Georgia? I’m sure the interview was conducted before the lawsuit so it’s bizarre that the slant of the article is about how sensitive she is and how she doesn’t fun of people.

Ellen also talked about assuming more a parental role to her mother after the divorce and her mother’s breast cancer. If you have ever seen Ellen’s mother on her show, you can see this dynamic. I feel like this comes into play with her relationship with Portia too, like Ellen is very protective of her. I know their marriage was plagued with rumors of strife a few years back. Whatever happened, I think that have worked through those issues and are solid now. As for this Parade interview, I think maybe it’s time for Ellen to put her money where her mouth is on the realtor’s lawsuit.

Ellen and Portia at the Finding Dory premiere – Portia looks amazing



Photo credit: Parade Magazine and Fame/Flynet Photos

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34 Responses to “Ellen DeGeneres: ‘I didn’t think it was ever funny to make fun of people’”

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  1. Alex says:

    Eh but what she says is pretty true? She ribs but she never outright goes after people. Her show is genuinely one of the happiest hours of tv you can watch day after day. She has 10 years of dancing and joking her way into everyone’s homes. Ellen’s always been (to me) very I say this and I live it type of person.

    • Jayna says:

      I love the Ellen show when I watch it, which isn’t that often. It is just seems like an hour of goodness and joy. When you see all the people they bring on the show and help with money or a new car, etc, who are going through a hard time, it’s wonderful moment of the day. And so many people tell Ellen that as a family going through hard times they watch her because it is such a hour of positivity. Who can argue with that in this increasingly sour world we live in.

      I don’t believe Ellen ever intentionally meant to hurt that Titti woman and will settle out of court if possible.

      • Amanduh says:

        So true…she wasn’t making fun of Titi the person, just her name (which isn’t very nice, but there is a difference…in my opinion).

      • Toon says:

        “Not making fun of the person, just their name” seems like an arbitrary and convenient line tbh.

        That stuff matters to people and, as shown, it has a real effect when people with millions of viewers are doing it.

        Can I say that I’m “not making fun of the person I’m mocking the mole on their face”? Their lisp? Their weight? Their orientation? That funny thing they do when they walk? That their home country has a funny name when pronounced in English?

        Hell, I doubt anyone would be so charitable if this was the news caster that went about mocking an Indian official’s name cause it was spelled (not pronounced) Sheila Dikshit. In fact, I know they weren’t: he got fired.

        People are the sum total of their experiences.

      • Amanduh says:

        Toon: true, and good points.
        I have a middle name that CONSTANTLY gets made fun of – I let it roll off my back because it’s just a name (to me) and people will always find something to ridicule. I knew/know they weren’t making fun of me – my personality, my beliefs, my values – they were making fun of something I couldn’t control.
        Like a “titmouse” has a silly name, but I don’t find it any less adorable!!!

      • V4Real says:

        Making fun of someone’s name is making fun of them.

      • Amanduh says:

        …yeah, when you’re 8. Then you grow up and over it.
        If someone says the same thing to me (about my middle name) as they did 30 years ago…and still think it’s hilarious?? I’m thinking, “You’re a fcuking idiot. Bye”

      • Carol says:

        @Amanduh. I agree with you. I have a really unusual name and was teased endlessly about it as a kid. But you get over it as an adult. If someone wants to make a joke of it, it better be funny or else THEY look like the idiots. We all have something we are sensitive about. I don’t think it was Ellen’s intention to hurt anyone.

    • Locke Lamora says:

      I find her to be a bit patronising to the “regular folk”. She’s nicer to the celebrities.
      I personally don’t find her funny, I prefer darker humour, especially political humour, so she’s too mellow for me and maybe I’m biased, but she doesn’t seem so nice to me.

  2. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Not to be repetitive, but I watch her show about once a week when I go to a walk-in nail salon near my house. I wouldn’t say I find her show to be a hour of joy. At all. But she does seem nice to me. I thought the Titty thing was childish,but that’s the only time I’ve seen her make fun of a person.

    • Erinn says:

      I find she’s much more condescending than…mocking if that makes sense. I don’t know. I haven’t actually watched her recently, but besides the obvious very amazing things she’s done for people – I find her quite ‘meh’. She’s a normal person. I don’t think she’s drippingly sweet, nor do I think she goes home and dons a villain goatee, top hat and cape. I think she’s mainly really good at managing her image, and just like anyone else has pissy days.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Good point. Nobody is sweetie sweet sweet all day every day.

      • Jayna says:

        Who doesn’t have pissy days, down days, moody days? No one said she was some perfect person. She’s a human being. But she is a good person, and I think that shines through.

      • Marty says:

        No, she’s not a good person. And it’s not the first time she’s made fun of someone or frankly been mean to them.

  3. JudyK says:

    I listened to part of that and loved what she said about it not being funny to make fun of people. Her show is definitely a happy place, and she’s an inspirational role model. Love her.

  4. Sam says:

    I think she’s fake.

    Her goody two shoes act
    has never fooled me.
    More will surface about the real Ellen in time.

    • Almondjoy says:

      I think I’m siding with you on this… I used to like Ellen ALOT but I’m starting to see and hear lots of bad things about the way she treats people.

    • Zuzus Girl says:

      I’m with you. Something rubs me wrong about her, she sucks up too much to celebrities and has a terrible “behind the scenes” reputation. She just seems phony to me.

    • minx says:

      Same. She just seems like she has a big old mean streak. I’ve read too many stories about her throwing tantrums.

  5. Pri says:

    I am a fan of Wendy Williams. I don’t agree with what she says, but I like her candour, and how she does not suck up to celebrities like Ellen.

    I recall Ellen’s first interview with Jim Parsons, she was rude to him.

  6. Lala says:

    Rolled my eyes at this story. I’ve heard from multiple sources that she’s one of the nastiest people in Hollywood. The “lower” staff on her show are afraid to look her in the eye, she yells at everyone, etc. I believe it.

  7. Wren says:

    I love her stand up but I’ve never watched her shows. So I don’t really have an opinion about them. She’s probably nicer than a lot of people but I don’t think she’s some kind of saint.

    I have a “make fun-able” name, at least it was seen as such in school, and yes it sucks but seriously it’s not that bad. When the woman said nobody had ever made fun of her name, I frankly did not believe her. What, you were sequestered from your peers in middle school? Or never saw a smirk on some immature jerkwad’s face when they read your name as an adult? Sure, yeah.

    The only thing I’ll judge Ellen for is including
    the woman’s phone number and last name. That was unacceptable and there should be repercussions. A giggle at an unusual name that could be pronounced as something naughty is not very high on the mean scale. However, blatantly posting the woman’s contact info on national TV so idiots harass her definitely is.

    • Ccinkissimmee says:

      It’s possible no one made fun of her name.. maybe she grew up in a place where names like hers are common. I will say this.. when I read her name I didn’t read it as Titty because it isn’t spelled that way.

  8. lucy2 says:

    The bits and pieces I’ve seen of her show do seem happy, but this interview sounds a bit defensive given the lawsuit (may have been done before suit was filed, but she had to know there was a problem coming from that situation, given that the poor woman contacted the show).

  9. Miss M says:

    I like Ellen. I haven’t watched her show in a long time. But I do not think she is goody goody.
    She comes across is someone who wants to be liked. Nice thing, I did not recognize Portia in “Scandal” at first and I liked her acting.

  10. MC2 says:

    I like Ellen- I have always had a soft spot and loved how she dressed…until now! Did she start taking tips from Justin Bieber on how to dress? Her pants looks like they need a good seamstress & a belt.

  11. iheartgossip says:

    OH Ellen! Sweet, sweet, un self-aware, Ellen. Please.

  12. angela says:

    She makes fun of people for a living… But no one cares cause it makes them laugh

  13. Boo says:

    Based on stated rumours above, it seems she’s a product of her upbringing? Saying one thing but hiding a lot and acting very different behind the scenes. Kind of confusing, as she said of her parents behaviour.

    I sometimes side eye people who sell themselves. Depends when and how they’re doing it and context of course. But she’s selling herself pretty hard as a ‘better than others’ person here and that’s kind of weird imo.

  14. Singtress says:

    Jay Leno had a whole weekly bit picking at stuff like that the realtors name. He was never sued
    People these days need to chill.

  15. karis says:

    Ellen is not nice in real life, she’s kind of terrible and on top of that, she is very rude to her mom and talks down to everyone so APPLAUSE for the act.