The Best And Worst Moments Of The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Few television programs have been more iconic than "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." The talk show has been a staple of daytime television for nearly 20 years, and has arguably changed the pop culture landscape with its games, celebrity interviews, inspirational moments, headline-making giveaways, and, of course, all the dancing. So when host Ellen DeGeneres announced that the 19th season would be the show's last, fans knew that it would be the end of an era.

While some were surprised by the news, DeGeneres had been planning to step down for some time. "And as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it's just not a challenge anymore," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "I need something new to challenge me." So no, the bombshell allegations about workplace toxicity can't be fully blamed for her departure, as it's been in the works for some time.

That said, when a show is preparing to go off the air, it's always fun — and maybe even emotional — to take a look at the most hilarious, uplifting, and awkward moments in its history. So without further ado, here are the best and worst moments of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

Best: Ellen DeGeneres announced her engagement to Portia De Rossi in 2008

It wasn't all that long ago that same-sex marriage wasn't legal in the United States — it only became legal on a national level in 2015, as noted by The New York Times. However, in 2008, California legalized same-sex unions on a state level, something that Ellen DeGeneres celebrated with good reason. To that end, one of the best moments in the history of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" was when DeGeneres made a big announcement about her love life. "I would like to say right now for the first time I am announcing I am getting married," she proclaimed. In response, the audience went wild, jumping to its feet and creating a thunderous applause.

Of course, DeGeneres was quite aware of how powerful the moment was — she's a queer icon, after all — and was extremely moved herself. "If I'm this emotional now just saying it, I can't imagine how that's going to be," she added, referring to her future wedding day. What a great moment for equality!

DeGeneres shared the truth about her wedding with fans four years later in a monologue on the show. 

Worst: Ellen DeGeneres asked Taylor Swift about the men she's dated

While there are plenty of uplifting segments on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," there are also quite a few painful moments. One of the most memorable would have to be when Ellen DeGeneres made Taylor Swift feel super uneasy. 

It all started when DeGeneres kept insisting that Swift had been romantic with Zac Efron, a claim that Swift vehemently denied. "We actually never dated," she revealed, looking visibly uncomfortable. But DeGeneres wouldn't accept her answer, and she declared that yes, they had. And it only got worse from there.

After that, DeGeneres handed Swift a bell, commanding her to ring it anytime one of her exes appeared on a large screen behind them. But Swift refused to ring the bell, and she even begged DeGeneres to "stop it!" "This makes me feel so bad about myself," she lamented after the minutes kept dragging by. "Every time I come up here, you put a different dude up there on the screen, and it just makes me really question what I stand for as a human being." While Swift was able to roll with the punches, why didn't DeGeneres just cut it out?

Best: Michelle Obama surprised a Washington, D.C. school with gifts

One thing that "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" is known for is giving away large sums of money and prizes to worthy individuals, groups, and institutions. It's always emotional when Ellen DeGeneres hands a hardworking teacher or promising young talent a Shutterfly check!

One especially memorable giveaway moment had to be "Ellen's Greatest Night of Giveaways," which former first lady Michelle Obama hosted at Randle Highlands Elementary School in Washington, D.C. While she stood on a stage in front of students and teachers, she announced first that they'd be receiving a brand new basketball court. Obama followed that up with the news that they'd also be gifted all-new equipment for their computer lab, as well as new laptops for all of the teachers. She topped it all off by revealing that every student would be gifted an iPad too.

What made this moment truly amazing was seeing the reactions of all of the teachers and students who were clearly surprised by the generous donation — and the person who gave it to them. Here's to a whole new generation of movers and shakers!

Worst: Celine Dion chastised Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres has been a queer icon for years, thanks to her very public coming out on both her television show "Ellen" and in real life in 1997, as noted by Vanity Fair. But despite her status, DeGeneres hasn't always hit the mark when it comes to breaking gender norms on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

A notable hiccup occurred when, during an interview with Céline Dion, DeGeneres made a remark about her young son's long hair. "It seems like you're busy with something, 'cause you're forgetting to cut your son's hair," she quipped, showing a photo of Dion with her husband and son on a big screen. And Dion wasn't having it at all. "Do you have a problem with that?" she responded, a distinct chill in her voice. But DeGeneres clearly didn't register how Dion was feeling, and she kept joking about the haircut. That prompted Dion to go on something of a tirade about people's impossible expectations when it comes to children's hair. "When he's ready, I'll cut it," she added, before DeGeneres finally moved the conversation in a new direction.

Best: Kristen Bell became a gif after crying over a sloth

When it comes to adorable moments on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," there's no shortage of options from which to choose. However, when Kristen Bell appeared on the program in 2012, she managed to make internet history by becoming a meme that endures to this day — all because of a sloth.

Specifically, Bell — a self-described very emotional person — got so worked up when her husband surprised her with a sloth that she lost it. The "Good Place" actress had wanted to see a sloth in person for her entire life, but when the big moment arrived, a birthday present from husband Dax Shepard, she couldn't fully process it. And while she professed, "I'm so excited," she appeared to be anything but, as she was sobbing due to all of the emotions she was feeling.

While that in and of itself was adorable beyond measure, Bell became a meme when DeGeneres said she had a sloth in the studio; Bell couldn't stop herself from crying. And while DeGeneres didn't actually have a sloth that day, Bell did get to meet one on a subsequent episode. So cute.

Worst: A shopping trip with Michelle Obama got tense

Speaking of Michelle Obama, while she was definitely part of one of the best moments on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," she was also present for one of the more awkward bits. Namely, things got a bit cringe-worthy when the pair went on a shopping trip to CVS, and DeGeneres' shenanigans got out of hand at times. In her defense, there were some genuinely funny moments, but you could kind of tell that DeGeneres' behavior was a bit much for someone so distinguished.

Additionally, there was one moment that didn't quite sit right with us: The first magazine that DeGeneres thought the former first lady would want to read was Essence. Um, really? Then DeGeneres pretended that Obama needed cream for a rash, which was indeed awkward. And by the time the trip was over, Obama seemed somewhat peeved. "You know you're really annoying," she told DeGeneres. "It's like taking a 3-year-old to the store."

By the time DeGeneres literally climbed into the shopping cart, Obama must have been genuinely resigned, but she rolled with it nonetheless. Talk about a class act.

Best: Portia De Rossi gave Ellen DeGeneres a major 60th birthday gift

One of the sweetest, most loving moments ever to occur on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" happened during Ellen DeGeneres' 60th birthday celebration on air. And not surprisingly, it was all thanks to DeGeneres' wife, actress Portia De Rossi.

It started out with DeGeneres announcing a surprise guest who wanted to say "happy birthday," and De Rossi walked out, visibly surprising her spouse. "It's your 60th birthday and this gift had to be really special and it had to represent who you are and what you really care about," she told DeGeneres. "Not just now, but what you've always cared about. What you were influenced by and what has made you the amazing person that you are today." De Rossi went on to reveal that she was having The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda built in her honor. To top it off, De Rossi also explained that this was just the first initiative of The Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund, which she also started as a birthday gift. Given that DeGeneres has loved famed conservationist Dian Fossey since she was a girl, we can't imagine a better gift — no wonder DeGeneres started crying!

Not to be outdone, the next day, DeGeneres paid it forward by awarding her studio audience — all of whom had done at least one extraordinarily good deed — a million dollars to split. Amazing.

Worst: Ellen DeGeneres forgot all about this major event in Katy Perry's life

Have you ever forgotten a birthday or anniversary, only to feel terrible as you try to undo any damage you may have done? Well, if so, prepare to feel a lot less guilty about your mishaps, as you won't believe what Ellen DeGeneres forgot about Katy Perry on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

It started out innocently enough, as DeGeneres shared that she wanted to help Perry find a good romantic partner as part of a game to raise money for charity. But things got awkward when Perry jokingly bemoaned having to get married again, and DeGeneres responded that Perry had never been married in the first place. "I was, when I was 25," Perry clarified. To that, an incredulous DeGeneres asked, "To who?" and Perry whispered the name of her ex, Russell Brand. That jogged DeGeneres' memory, but the mistake had already been made. "Remember you gave me some wedding gifts on this show?" Perry asked. And when DeGeneres said she remembered, Perry added, "Cool cool cool cool cool!" Whoops!

Perry's attention shifted when she realized that $10,000 would be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, but we're not going to forget this gaffe anytime soon.

Best: Ellen DeGeneres sent Adele on a very silly mission

If you're a longtime viewer of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," you know that Ellen DeGeneres loves playing pranks on people. She even sometimes has celebrities wear an earpiece and parrot everything that DeGeneres wants them to say to people. Remember when she had Justin Bieber do just that while dressed as a security guard?

While we were in stitches watching that hilarity ensue, arguably the best example of DeGeneres being in a celeb's ear is when she sent Adele to a Jamba Juice. For starters, she ordered "one small cup but a large," which, of course, confounded the Jamba employees. She then went on to compare Jamba to "Swishy Chug," the fictional British equivalent, repeating the name several times. Then following DeGeneres' instructions, Adele cut off her own wheatgrass and started gnawing on it right then and there. And when it came time to pay for the order, after taking swigs of alcohol from a tiny bottle, Adele asked, "Where is my money? I need to pay for this, right? ... I'm a celebrity. Do I have to pay?"

When Adele was able to finally reveal to the confused employees what was going down, everyone started laughing. Kudos to Adele for playing it straight and to the employees for being good sports.

Worst: Ellen DeGeneres mispronounced Hasan Minhaj's name

Some names are super easy to pronounce, like Emma Stone or Will Smith. However, there are plenty of folks who don't have names that easy to pronounce and common in the United States, but, of course, no one wants to hear the many ways their name can be butchered.

This was the case when Hasan Minhaj was a guest on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" — and for good reason. Out of the gate, DeGeneres pronounced his name wrong, pronouncing his last name like you would Nicki Minaj's, and he wasn't about to let it slide. Once DeGeneres finally got it right, Minhaj opened up about what he's had to deal with from people. "When I first started doing comedy, people were like, 'You should change your name,' and I'm like, 'I'm not going to change my name,'" he recalled. "If you can pronounce Ansel Elgort, you can pronounce Hasan Minhaj." Louder again for the people in the back, Hasan!

Minhaj basically turned the mishap into a teachable moment, but watching DeGeneres fumble was still pretty awkward.

Best: Barack Obama appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and danced

The year was 2007, one full year before then-Senator Barack Obama would be elected to the office of the U.S. president, making history in the process. The first Black president served two terms in the White House and left behind a legacy that's far from finished being written.

But before all that, the aspiring politician appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," eager to help America get to know the young senator from Illinois. Throughout the episode, Obama discussed everything from his aspirations, his origins, his motivations, and the fact that he was an "underdog." He also opened up about what was at stake and how he wanted to "change" the status quo — and hopefully make the country a better place. Talk about wholesome.

While this appearance is easily one of the most historic and classic in "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" history, there's something we just have to mention: Obama's entrance. He walked out on stage as Beyoncé's classic "Crazy in Love" played, and he danced with DeGeneres for a minute. The man has moves!

Worst: Ellen DeGeneres forgot Dakota Johnson invited her to a party

It turns out that Ellen DeGeneres forgets a lot more than just celebrity marriages. That became abundantly clear on an episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" that featured the stunning Dakota Johnson; during the interview, DeGeneres asked how Johnson's 30th birthday party went and claimed she hadn't been invited. "Actually, no, that's not the truth, Ellen. You were invited," Johnson declared. She added, "Ask everybody. Ask Jonathan, your producer." Oof. 

When it became clear that there was no way DeGeneres could worm her way out of forgetting, she turned to a familiar tactic. "Why didn't I go?" she wondered, before joking, "Oh yeah, I had that thing. ... [The party] was probably in Malibu. That's too far for me to go to." How's that for a Los Angeles answer?

While that whole exchange was awkward enough, the ever-graceful Johnson accidentally got her revenge when she revealed that her favorite comedian is Tig Notaro — not DeGeneres. But in the end, we also learned that Johnson left one of DeGeneres' parties early, too. It's worth noting that it would later be reported that DeGeneres missed Johnson's party to see a football game with former president George W. Bush, a controversial moment considering his politics.

Best: Sophia Grace and Rosie met Nicki Minaj

Prepare yourself for one of the absolutely cutest moments in "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" history. As many fans of the program know, Ellen DeGeneres often interviews guests on who have gone viral online and asks them to tell the world more about who they are. Such was the case with an incredible young girl named Sophia Grace, who, along with her cousin Rosie, sang every word of Nicki Minaj's hit "Super Bass" flawlessly. 

Where things got beyond cute was when DeGeneres had Sophia Grace and Rosie on her show and introduced them to Minaj in a moment that could warm any cold heart. Grace lost her mind, and you could tell that Minaj was genuinely touched by her admirer's enthusiasm — how could you not be? The best part played out when viewers were treated to Minaj and Grace (and Rosie) performing "Super Bass" together, in what was arguably one of the most wholesome moments to happen on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Oh, did we mention that the girls' parents cried watching it all happen? 

Worst: Nicole Kidman and Giada De Laurentiis joined Ellen DeGeneres for an awkward segment

Imagine you're a chef on Food Network who has millions of fans and oodles of successful shows under your belt, as Italian chef Giada de Laurentiis does. Now imagine that you agree to appear on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" alongside Ellen DeGeneres and actress Nicole Kidman in what's supposed to be a simple vegan food cooking segment. Now imagine it all goes horribly awry. You get where we're going.

From the start, it was evident to anyone watching that Kidman wasn't taking anything too seriously and that DeGeneres was just there to crack jokes. As the demo went on, de Laurentiis became more and more anxious, as was evident by the rising tone in her voice and her struggle to keep the segment progressing properly. And she got a little snippy too, referring to Kidman as "the woman who can't cook." After the first dish was made and sampled, things only got worse, as Kidman continued to not pay attention to de Laurentiis and DeGeneres made more and more jokes. Everything came to a point when Kidman sampled de Laurentiis' focaccia and proclaimed that "it's a little tough." Yikes!