Dakota Johnson’s tense, awkward interview with Ellen DeGeneres was amazing

Premiere The Peanut Butter Falcon

Just before Ellen DeGeneres’ show took a break for the Thanksgiving holiday, she sat down with Dakota Johnson. Dakota is currently promoting The Peanut Butter Falcon, which came up during the interview, but not before things got awkward as hell. To be fair… has anyone noticed that so many of Ellen’s interviews have been awkward for a while? I feel like she’s mentally sort of tapped-out of her job sometimes. But even then, this Dakota Johnson interview was so uncomfortable that many, many people noticed it. The whole thing is just a master class in shade from Dakota, from “ask Jonathan” to identifying Tig Notaro as her “favorite comedian.”

It’s worth noting that Dakota is THIRD generation Hollywood and to a certain extent, she was putting Ellen in her place. Or maybe Dakota was just tired of Ellen’s sh-t (same, frankly). Anyway… I prefer awkward, uncomfortable interviews to Ellen throwing softball questions at one of her actual close friends. Also: internet sleuths figured that Ellen couldn’t go to Dakota’s birthday party because Ellen went to Texas to watch the Cowboys game with George W. Bush.

Photos courtesy of WENN, Backgrid.

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92 Responses to “Dakota Johnson’s tense, awkward interview with Ellen DeGeneres was amazing”

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  1. Becca says:

    Ellen just comes off as mean in a lot of her interviews that I’ve seen.

    • Darla says:

      Yes! She really does. I think she is very mean.

      • (TheOG)@Jan90067 says:

        I’ve mentioned here before: my BIL’s cousin used to be one of the heads of PR for NBC/Universal. He’s said that Ellen is a MAJOR b!tch to everyone when the camera is off. Mean and nasty. But when that little red light comes on: Poof! All gone, all smiles and suck ups (to those she deems worthy of it). Other guests, not so much.

        When Ellen first started out in standup, she really was funny. Don’t know how she was back then, when the spotlight was off though. She may’ve always been this way. Fame can just bring things forward, as in people now have the “power” to act w/out much consequence. And Ellen is HUGE for NBC/Universal; she has a LOT of shows on air, and is EP to others. She’s THEIR Ryan Seacrest.

      • Cdog says:

        I know several people in the industry and they all agree that she is the absolute worst to work with and for.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        I know someone who was a PA years ago and she said Ellen was nice and fun and easy to work with once upon a time, but those days are long gone and she is incredibly difficult to please and “far from a joy” to work with.

    • BlueSky says:

      I agree. I thinks she’s kinda mean spirited and disrespectful at times.
      I don’t thinks she’s as nice as she wants people to thinks she is.

    • minx says:

      You can see it in her eyes, she has the fake smile but her eyes are cold and mean.

      • BellaBella says:

        Agree. The woman is mean. I don’t even think she fake smiles much anymore. She jabs at people and makes everything about her.

    • Cindy says:

      More than mean-spirited, I think she comes across as really arrogant. Her interviews are never horizontal, she’s either sucking up to the guest like they were a saint or looking down on them.

      I used to like Ellen but she’s lost it.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        “I used to like Ellen but she’s lost it.”

        exactly this. she USED to be nice and funny and playful, but now she comes off as mean-spirited, so often. and her “I did what I did, get over it” attitude on being so friendly with Dubya (and sitting in Jerry Jones’ Owner’s Box – that man is the epitome of EW) is really tone-deaf and insensitive to so many people, so many of whom are her fans. or, WERE her fans. she’s lost me, at least.

      • lucy2 says:

        I’m guessing she’s bored, doing the same show over and over and over for all these years, but won’t walk away because of the money.
        Whatever the case, there’s no reason to be mean or nasty to people.

      • SM says:

        No suprise people who worked with Ellen feel this way about her. She comes across as arrogant and mean even with cameras rolling. Can only imagine what is is like when they are not. This actually makes me like Dakota, some guests are bending over backwards to act like they are best friends with Ellen, and Dakota is simply all “meh, I don’t care”. Also notice how in the part about favourite comedian, Ellen makes it all about herself, a classic Ellen: a talk show host making the conversation all about herself. Kudos to Dakota for not having it.

    • Erinn says:

      It’s been like that for over a decade. I remember being in highschool still and being uncomfortable with the way she talks to / about people.

    • Ana Maria says:

      …and her games are just plain mean, too..

      • ChillyWilly says:

        Yes! I swear she only does those games because she gets off on doing mean things to people!

      • Suzanne says:

        I agree…she enjoys dumping people thru the floor and hitting them with a ton of goop or water…I believe you’re right…she thoroughly enjoys it…in a mean spirited way!

    • Carina says:

      she is mean IRL. she’s actually a bit of a sociopath, tbh. She thinks people getting hurt physically, terrified or humiliated is comedy gold. Behind the scenes, that nice mask she puts on for the camera isn’t there

    • I have known many people that have worked for her since the beginning of her show and everyone has said how absolutely mean and awful she is. I know one person said she likes to push people until they cry to see how far she can go. She’s awful. And I HATE how she has decided SHE is the arbitrator for all things-when she had Kevin Hart on and “absolved” him of all the shitty homophobic remarks he’s made though the years- and then defending George W. She basically appeals to dump voters who want to feel good about themselves cause”I can’t be homophobic cause I like Ellen!”

    • Bubbagirl says:

      Nobody talk about this but a couple years ago she had a very racist segment where she made fun of people for having Asian names. I have no idea how she manages to avoid the backlash for that.

    • Margo Smith says:

      I can’t stand Ellen for that reason. She Just seems awful.

  2. Darla says:

    I cannot stand Ellen. I haven’t seen Dakota in anything ( I know, I guess I am out of it), but she really touched me when she took the stage at Global Citizen to speak against sexual violence.

  3. Lauren says:

    I’m not understanding, is there a reason they would be awkward towards each other? Why would Ellen be at Dakota’s birthday party? Why would Dakota need to put Ellen in her place? Hasn’t Ellen worked her ass off enough to earn her place? Why is it a bad thing if she’s feeling tired after working so hard for so long that she’s checking out a bit? And since when is nepotism good? How has Dakota earned her place?

    I’m so confused here.

    • Darla says:

      I can clear up “why would Ellen be at Dakota’s birthday party” for you. It’s right in the video.

      Ellen complains that she was not invited to Dakota’s birthday party. She also complained about it last year. So this year, Dakota invited her, and Ellen not only didn’t show, she doesn’t remember she was invited.

      The rest of your questions are a matter of opinion. This one, was fact. And easily discoverable, by watching the video.

    • DS9 says:

      Did you watch the video?

    • whatWHAT? says:

      Ellen has worked her ass off. no one is arguing that. she likely dealt with a LOT of discrimination on her way up.

      HOWEVER…that doesn’t mean she earned a right to be a b*tch. and if she is, in fact, “checked out”, maybe she should start another venture.

      Jon Stewart famously got “tired” of doing the Daily Show and guess what? he moved on. if Ellen can’t effectively do her show like it was meant to be done, light-hearted interviews on afternoon television, maybe she should do something else. if she wants to do mean, and do snark, maybe she should go the Maury or Jerry Springer route.

      • Jenn says:

        Yep. There is a nonzero part of me that will ALWAYS respect and revere DeGeneres for her talent and grit. When she came out, she really got punished for it careerwise, but that didn’t stop her. She earned that congressional medal — NOT the right to be nasty to others, just as you said. Her “I got mine” mentality is a bad look.

      • deezee says:

        I agree. She does come off as superior or suck-a$$ depending on the guest. Plus she missing at least one show a week, why exactly? I don’t know.

        I wonder if this is part of the reason Kelly Clarkson’s show is picking up steam. While by no means a good interviewer, she comes across as geniune and fun.

    • 10KTurtle says:

      I think I get what you’re saying, Lauren. I don’t get this video, either. What about it was so awkward? I admit I don’t know much about either of them or anything about their history, but it looks like every other non-informative celebrity interview I’ve ever seen.

    • Raina says:

      Because Ellen acts like these are her real life friends and plays popularity games like a petty old bitch high schooler. She’s sensitive to the point it’s embarrassing and needs to go away. Maybe Dubya can invite her over for a game of truth or dare.

  4. Esmom says:

    Lol at those tweets! I didn’t watch the interview because I can’t stand Ellen but I have to say Dakota looks amazing in that first dress. I want to brush her bangs away from her face, though.

  5. Lindy says:

    I feel like Ellen has lost whatever joy and kindness made her comedy so funny and relatable earlier on. I totally get that it must be exhausting to have to be “the nice one” all the time, and maybe she’s just tired of the persona she’s had for so long. But yeah, I don’t enjoy watching Ellen do her thing much at all.

  6. Ferdinand says:

    Ellen has been in the business long enough to know better. She’s always seemed mean to me. She’s been playing the charming host game for years now and I think she’s not been enjoying it lately

  7. Cindy says:

    Dakota’s become so much more likeable once that 50 Shades disaster ended. I feel like everytime I read about her recently I’m like “you go girl!”. I love how unfazed she is in this interview by all of Ellen’s bs. “I was invited? Are you sure”. “Yeah, ask everyone. Ask Jonathan, your producer”. Lol!

    • TQB says:

      I think she deftly handled the whole 50 Shades thing. She got her name everywhere, and was frequently noted as the one bright spot of them. She’s basically the only person for whom it wound up being a good career move.

    • Elisa says:

      Ha, same! She is smart and talented.

  8. Amelie says:

    I saw that interview on Youtube and I thought it was typical Ellen? She loves making her guests squirm and put them in uncomfortable situations. At least that’s the way she’s been interviewing for years. She was definitely “nicer” in the earlier years of her show when I was in middle school (I’m over 30 now so basically grew up watching Ellen.) But the rumors around her not being so nice have been around for years.

  9. v1nc3nz00 says:

    I found Dakota hilariously sassy

  10. Casey says:

    I love Dakota she seems so authentic and kind. I think Dakota was just giving Ellen shit and Ellen was playing the part of A-hole like it was a bit.

    • stormsmama says:

      me too and yes on all fronts.
      This was a bit by Ellen bc they are friends
      and it made Dakota look really good
      Dakotas dress is AMAZING
      this is the best she’s ever looked wow
      and yes I love Chris Martin (despite goop) and I find Dakota to be a very lucky lady

      • Casey says:

        Her dress was so pretty!! And like she makes me want bangs lol. Yeah, it was a bit. It’s weird that every gossip site is playing this video and hyping it as a smack down.

  11. emmy says:

    I never watch Ellen because she’s neither funny (at least on this show) and seems so bored and arrogant at times. In some interviews she just does not ask questions and lets the guest do all the work.

    Colbert sometimes has a similar problem though. If he’s prepared and interested, his interviews are great but when he’s not… oof. It’s just unprofessional. Comedians are not necessarily great interviewers. Say about Fallon what you will but he always tries and seems excited about every guest.

    • Marie says:

      Yep, a good example was his wasted interview with PWB. I mean it’s Fleabag and the best he could do was bring up Star Wars???

    • lucy2 says:

      Colbert is at his best when he has to be sharp and biting, like he did on his old show. He doesn’t have to do that with most celebrity guests and I think it’s changed his work a bit.

  12. aang says:

    I’m old enough to have watched Ellen’s sitcom in the 90’s. Even then I didn’t warm to her. She comes off as inauthentic to me.

    • Esmom says:

      I actually really liked her back then. But she hardly seems to be the same person to me now.

    • Jane'sWastedTalent says:

      Same. I only ever caught it if it was on in whatever bar I was in, but I still don’t understand why anyone watched it, except maybe to support LBGT. All that dancing. So annoying.

  13. perplexed says:

    I thought they were just acting….

  14. Lucy says:

    Dakota is seriously becoming cooler and cooler in my book.

  15. Cara says:

    Wait, people think this is actually real and not a bit they had planned? Oh bless your hearts.

  16. Kristin says:

    I don’t like Dakota. She has always seemed so spoiled and bratty. I remember an interview I saw her do with her mother and she was so nasty to her mother that it was uncomfortable to even watch, it was exactly like watching a twelve year old whine and pout.

    • Becks1 says:

      Yeah, I’m not a Dakota fan. I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing, but I have definitely seen pieces with her and her mom and she is really rude to her mother. Like….my mom would have some CHOICE WORDS for me after one of those appearances, and I’m 38 years old.

      i’m not a huge Ellen fan either, I don’t think she’s that nice and I also think its hard when the interviewer becomes a celebrity, you cant be that authentic of an interviewer. Of course that’s not Ellen’s deal – she’s not trying to be the next Barbra Walters – but even so, it ends making the whole show feel inauthentic.

      so basically I can believe that this interview was as awkward as described. I cant see the video at work though lol.

    • Léna says:

      Well, maybe her mom is / was not the best mom? We don’t all have great moms

    • Wisca says:

      Maybe she experienced trauma as a child as a result of her mother’s addiction.

  17. smcollins says:

    I’m not getting the hype around this interview. It just seemed like typical talk show interview banter to me. Ellen was being Ellen, and Dakota was masterfully playing off of it. The only awkwardness I sensed was when Ellen asked her about Shia’s arrest during filming of their movie but, again, Dakota answered like a pro. I mean, I don’t know…nothing to see here? 🤷🏻‍♀️

  18. Valiantly Varnished says:

    I know people find Dakota boring but Ive been a fan of hers since she was in The Five Year Engagement. She famously said in an interview that she has never been starstruck. And why should she be. She IS third generation Hollywood. And Ellen always does this things on her show where she likes to shame famous people. Dakota wasn’t having it. She brought the receipts. And made Ellen look like the mean girl she ACTUALLY is.
    Also – I’d like to note that I think THIS is why Dakota and Gwyneth get along. They BOTH come from Hollywood families. And both have reputations for not being easily impressed. And they are both Libras. Who cam be really good at throwing shade with a smile. One guy on Twitter who went to school with Dakota stated she was the only person who intimidated him.

    • DS9 says:

      I honestly do not understand why people blather about nepotism every time Dakota is mentioned. She’s 3rd generation Hollywood, yes but her career trajectory to me matches most non connected actors out there. She’s 30 and her highest profile work has been 50 Shades which she got in part by being a fairly unrecognizable name on it’s own.

      Most of her roles are small and supporting, she does her job, and she’s not giving obnoxious interviews about how hard she works and that it’s just as hard as everyone else, yo.

      I also don’t feel like she’s trading on her name or that her parents are hustling for her. All three of her parents have always been pretty hard working, down to earth, and rather gracious, Don less so in earlier years but definitely under the radar now.

      She doesn’t come off to me as feeling entitled to the work, just that she likes it.

      And it’s bullshit for Ellen to treat her this way when these appearances are part of that work.

      Ellen gave Dakota shit for not inviting her. So Dakota invites her the next year and still takes shit.

      • DS9 says:

        To clarify, I understand Melanie is a diva and is known to treat people like shit. I’m speaking in the context of getting work, doing that work, and the promotion of that work.

        And I’ve not heard of Melanie, Don, or Antonio trying to get Dakota work or tying her to them like Kaia and Carys’s magazine covers with their mothers or other nepotism cases where everyone is sure to let us know the relation with nauseating quotes and interviews about how kid totes got here on their own.

      • tealily says:

        Agreed, DS9. I sure didn’t know who she was until 50 shades, although I did know that Don and Melanie had a daughter. I didn’t know her name or anything though.

  19. MellyMel says:

    I love Dakota and my opinion of Ellen has changed so much this year. Not even with just the whole Bush thing, but reading so many first-person accounts of how she treats her staff and just people around Hollywood in the service industry. Her rep is not good and she seems completely over her show.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      This isn’t a recent things. She’s been this way for YEARS. It’s simply that now people Re heating about it more. But its been an open secret for some time how awful she is.

  20. Jas says:

    I wrote Dakota off as a basic nepotism case but she’s actually been great in the last few films I’ve seen her in, I like her a lot.

    I wrote Ellen off as a smug teller of mom jokes who lives in a bubble reserved for rich, out of touch weirdos and I’m never going back on that.

  21. Melissa says:

    I haven’t seen this and won’t watch it bc Ellen … she is mean and a bully. I can’t with her scaring people all the time. She’s just cruel, it took me several years to see it.

  22. notpretentious says:

    I agree with everything you said Jas!

  23. Ann says:

    Showing her that clip of Shia was rude and uncomfortable. I always feel that way about Ellen. She likes to have a laugh at other’s expense. That’s her version of humor. The Tig Notaro dig was a good little burn. Tig is way funnier than Ellen.

    And bitching about not being invited to a birthday party? Come on now. That’s just straight rude. A real lack of manners on full display. I hope someone gives Ellen an Emily Post book for Christmas. The woman needs to do some work on basic etiquette.

    • lucy2 says:

      Especially for someone who literally has the job of HOST.

      I LOVE Tig. Her work is hilarious, and I enjoy whenever she’s on a podcast or interview.

    • Casey says:

      It was a bit. Joking. Ellen was playing the part of the egotist. Easy role!

  24. sandra says:

    You hit the nail on the head. Never liked Ellen’s interview style, it IS awkward. Her interviews usually only go well when the subject is really really easy going and nimble at clearing the air. I guess Dakota just felt like…she didn’t need to do that. Good for her.

  25. What. . .now? says:

    The reason why Dakota is not fazed by any of this is because she grew up with Melanie Griffith as her mom. I have a good friend who works on a major tv network and interviews stars for their upcoming movies — he’s literally met everyone who’s anyone in the last 20 years.

    Anyhoo, he knows both Tippi Hedren and Melanie Griffith. He said Tippi is old school gracious and lovely while Melanie is trash. Foul. Bad attitude, swears constantly, smelly, and is straight up rude–like she’ll blow her cigarette smoke right in your face–and she’s been that way forever. So Dakota grew up with that as a mom — so it’s no wonder she can handle difficult people without problem.

  26. Lena says:

    I’ve had a soft spot for Dakota since that network comedy she was in -though I can’t remember the name now. I remember reading somewhere that Ellen almost didn’t sign an extension of her contract this time -her wife really was pushing the idea that she’s been doing it so long and there was plenty of other things she could be doing. It made it sound like she wasn’t happy doing the show but was afraid if getting back out there into something new. I think that’s a common fear but she’s in a work rut and it shows. Anyway thanks internet for that reminder of Jenny and Tara going at it!

  27. Siul says:

    After watching the clip and reading the comments about Ellen, I’m beginning to like Dakota more and more. Mean-spirited is used a lot for Ellen and it’s true. I stopped watching her show years ago. I just felt she had this smug look and attitude.

  28. deezee says:

    I haven’t been a fan of Ellen’s for a long time. Especially after reading about her not wanting kids while Portia still kinda wanted them, so Ellen paraded Portia onto the show to saw they weren’t having kids as a way of Ellen putting Portia in her place.

    • prettypersuasion says:

      It thought it was Portia who didn’t want kids. At least on Ellen’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, she told Seinfeld when he directly asked her that she had considered it but that Portia didn’t like the squealing and noise that kids bring.

      • Ali says:

        Attributing a quote to her wife that “she doesn’t like the noise and squealing” of children comes across as a mean spirited joke and likely untrue. You don’t have to dislike children to not want to be a parent.

    • Hikaru says:

      I don’t feel bad for Portia at all. She cheated on the woman she was engaged to to get with Ellen and the two of them kept describing their hook up as peak romance for years with zero regard for how it affected the people they cheated on.

  29. KG says:

    I remember years ago when Emma Thompson was on. Emma will be goofy as hell to entertain people and she was proceeding with her usual strong effort to entertain while being interviewed. Ellen kept acting like she didn’t know what Emma was talking about (I think because there were some more highbrow references Ellen either didn’t or didn’t want to seem to get). At one point Emma pretended to collapse in the floor. Ellen looked at her like she was a worm and Emma visibly gave up. In fact she might have said, “I give up.” It was such unclassy behavior by Ellen to leave her guest waving in the wind like that. I guess Ellen never did Improv, where you learn to support your fellow performers so you can all build on funny ideas off one another, so everyone appears funnier.

  30. J ferber says:

    So if Dakota is so badass, why doesn’t she she boot out Goop from her relationship with Chris Martin?

  31. Linda says:

    Ellen’s show was good the first year. Then she broke up with her girlfriend to be with Portia so that wasn’t fun to see as she was quite glum. Then it was okay for awhile until the day she was crying hysterically about a dog she wasn’t being allowed to keep. That was really weird. She has always been a mean humorist. Scaring people, making them do stupid things to unsuspecting victims. Then she tries to offset it with Oprah-style giveaways. She tries to come across as caring but she’s always had a hard edge to her that I didn’t like. If she’s getting worse there might be a breakup coming. Maybe all that money isn’t going to be enough for Portia anymore.

  32. Cay says:

    Ellen is another one of those name droppers, always talking about her rich and powerful celebrity friends. How many names did she drop in that clip? Chris Martin and Jennifer Aniston for sure. Then she says that Tig did that comedy act at her birthday party before she did it at Dakota’s, making it seem like Dakota is copying Ellen. “I wouldn’t go all the way to Malibu.” Reminds me of that saying, “She won’t get out of bed for X amount of money.”

    Crikey, these 1%ers are annoying trying to see who has the most celebrity friends and the most money.

  33. dlc says:

    That was brilliant and I now love Dakota Johnson.

  34. Becks1 says:

    Okay I finally watched the clip. I thought it was fine. I didn’t find it especially awkward and I didn’t think that Dakota was putting Ellen in her place or anything. Not an Ellen fan like I said above but I thought this was fine, not any more awkward than any of Ellen’s other interviews from I have seen.

    • cas says:

      yes I watched it and just don’t get the problem? They are obviously friendly and just playing up for the cameras

  35. Jaded says:

    I’ve never watched Ellen’s show, she’s just another daytime TV informercial as far as I’m concerned but this clip really angered me. Ellen was passive-aggressive, vindictive and deliberately trying to unseat Dakota. Dakota reacted with grace, aplomb and strength. Dakota for the win, Ellen you’re a mean, vindictive bish.

  36. Lo says:

    I never could watch much of Ellen. Her scare pranks always made me cringe bc it’s AKWARD if you aren’t actually scared or suprised and you have to pretend you are.

    I notice that she tends to try to force the interviewee to play off of her instead of the other way around.

    Also, the last time I watched more than a few minutes was when she was interviewing her wife. I knew her wife had had issues with eating disorders and in general seems a little fragile with self esteem issues (from an interview I read).

    Ellen was talking about how they had to get used to each other’s lifestyles and Ellen’s was to move into new houses. Portia was just trying to discuss how it was different for her and Ellen kept interrupting trying to get her to admit that she (Portia) likes it now.
    It looked domineering to me and if that was my spouse it would have taken all the will power not to say publicly and in detail why I hated moving around so much. 🤷‍♀️

  37. Cali says:

    I used to try to watch Ellen’s show but it seemed to be recorded weeks or months earlier? And something about the sound quality drove me nuts. And Ellen tries hard to seem nice but it feels forced. But in her defense, most rich people who try to act like do-gooders while hoarding many, many multi-million dollar homes bug the hell out of me.