“The whole place was crying”

Ellen DeGeneres shed more than a few tears ahead of the final episode of her eponymous talk show.

But her final dance on Thursday, May 26, will be a particularly “emotional” one, an insider who was at the recording told The Post.

In her remaining weeks after almost two decades on the air, she has welcomed one last in-person time with a procession of A-list guests including Oprah WinfreyJustin Timberlake, newly anointed Saturday Night Live grad Kate McKinnon, Michelle Obama, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kevin Hart, Chelsea Handler and Michael B. Jordan to name a few.

But the show’s source said her tears were “happy” tears, with no bitterness or regret, despite the heavy cloud that has hung over her since allegations of a “toxic” work environment first cast a shadow on her “be kind” brand had thrown. In 2020, DeGeneres faced a series of negative workplace allegations, for which she later apologized, but which resulted in a shuffle of the senior showrunners for the show’s 18th season.

“Her mood over the past two weeks has been very crying but a happy cry,” the source said. “All her crying was nothing but gratitude for what we had achieved together. The sadness was that she wouldn’t see her staff every day.”

The feeling is reportedly mutual, as taping ended on April 28.

“All of the staff texted with her,” the source added. “Everyone misses her.”

The final episode is “very classic Ellen” — showing her “talking to guests, having fun, laughing,” according to the insider, who offered details about Thursday’s final goodbye, which will be booked with DeGeneres’ first guest-ever 8 September 2003 — Friends star Jennifer Aniston, 53. “Even though 20 years had passed, it felt like yesterday that they spoke,” the insider said. “It was very cute.”

The presenter will also acknowledge “Bad Guy” singer Billie Eilish, 20, who is pushing “the next generation” of entertainers as DeGeneres, 64, is “dropping out” herself. And she’ll be serenaded by longtime friend Pink, 42, who will treat her to an “emotional” rendition of “What About Us,” one of DeGeneres’ favorite songs.

“Pink was always very, very close to Ellen. You know, they’re both tough women who say what they say and they are what and who they are,” the source said. “Pink was one of those people who appreciated Ellen for who she was and what she meant to LGBTQ people – for everyone who needed a voice and didn’t have a voice.”

Most notably, the final studio audience — which included DeGeneres’ wife Portia de Rossi and her brother Vance, who previously called negative allegations about his sister “bulls — t” — also caught a tribute segment about DeGeneres’ legacy as a gay icon , which reportedly “made the whole place cry.”

DeGeneres and Michelle Obama film a segment on the Warner Bros.
DeGeneres and Michelle Obama filmed part on the Warner Bros. studio lot.
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

As DeGeneres says goodbye, she appears to be preparing for life outside of the studio. She and her wife recently spent nearly $21 million on a Moorish-inspired home in Santa Barbara County, California. Earlier this month, they also sold a $13.9 million Monticello estate they acquired in September 2021. Though she hasn’t announced any other career plans, the source said she will “continue to buy and build beautiful homes. And spend some real downtime with Portia.”

DeGeneres sits down to talk to Sean "diddy" Combs on one of their last shows.
DeGeneres sat down to chat with Sean “Diddy” Combs for one of her recent shows.
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Not that she’s actually retiring.

“If you know Ellen, she’ll be back, and she’ll be back in a big way,” the insider said.

But her exit also marks a new era for others rushing to take over talk television. Actress and former The View host Sherri Shepherd, 55, is gearing up for her own chat fest later this year, replacing the one previously hosted by Wendy Williams. Meanwhile, a year ago, it was announced that 40-year-old Kelly Clarkson’s self-proclaimed interview series would be moved to DeGeneres’ coveted afternoon window for its fourth season.

But Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, who is set to launch a Fox show of the same name this fall, is also in the spotlight. She will be doing so from DeGeneres’ former Warner Bros. studio and offices. The Post source revealed that DeGeneres’ old digs in LA are already being converted into a new space for her and said many members of the staff and crew are staying for her new venture.

“I am the future,” Hudson, 40, boldly announced at Warner Bros. Discovery’s preview to advertisers last week.

Until then, however, many eyes are still on DeGeneres’ embattled exit. An op-ed published by the Los Angeles Times on Friday detailed her numerous “missteps” — a chilling airborne disagreement with Dakota Johnson, who flaunted her friendship with former President George W. Bush — and exposed the “Authenticity” of DeGeneres, even calling her “as unrecognizable as ever.”

But that assessment apparently contradicts the more than 200 people who accompanied her farewell during her 19th season.

Pointing to longtime crew members who were “moved to tears” in reaction to the studio lights dimming, the source said: “These types of burly men are really emotional and crying and grateful for Ellen for giving them a life that’s possible for them.” enabled them to send their kids to high school, to college, and have homes,” they said. “It was just incredible to see.”

In a tweet posted after their last taping late last monthDeGeneres said hosting the show was “the greatest privilege” of her life and hinted at the ultimate purpose of her hour-long gig, writing, “But whatever happened, my goal has always been for the show to be a place.” where we can all come together and laugh for an hour.”

That, according to the show insider, was also the goal for her week-long exit.

“At the end of the day, I think if you look at these last few shows, you remember, ‘Oh, that’s what this show represents. That was that woman,’” they said.

And the lively celebration on the final day of taping overshadowed any possible ongoing excitement over allegations involving DeGeneres.

“The controversy from two years ago, there was absolutely no sign of that day,” the insider told The Post. “Nobody hated her. Nobody was unhappy. No one.

“We ended as we began: just having fun and bringing hope and joy to people.”

Ellen DeGeneres says goodbye after 19 seasons.
Ellen DeGeneres says goodbye after 19 seasons.
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/25/ellen-degeneres-last-show-the-entire-place-was-crying/ “The whole place was crying”

Emma Bowman

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