Ellen DeGeneres

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Ellen DeGeneres in 2011

Ellen Lee DeGeneres (born January 26, 1958) is an American stand-up comedienne, television hostess and actress. She starred in the popular sitcom Ellen from 1994 to 1998, and has hosted her syndicated TV talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, from 2003 to 2022. She is married to Portia de Rossi. She is a member of the Democratic Party.


  • I think the hard thing about this job [stand-up] — I mean, I think this part is great — but that the traveling is y'know, 'cause — 'cause I'm gone a lot from home and this time I'm out for three-and-a-half weeks without going home, and that's hard, to be gone three-and-a-half weeks 'cause then I have to ask my friends, "Would you mind going to the house and watering the plants, and turn some lights on and make it look like somebody's home, and make sure that the mobile over the crib isn't tangled or the baby's gonna get bored..."
    • Taste This
  • Don't you hate when people are late to work. And they always have the worst excuses. "Oh, I'm sorry I'm late, traffic." "Traffic, huh? How do you think I got here; helicoptered in!?"
    • Here and Now
  • I'm a — I'm a, um, a godmother which is just, that's fun to be a godmother, she is so precious, she's the light of my life, she's two... or five or something, and she's, uh... I don't know, I've never seen her — the pictures are precious, she just seems so, y'know... She lives clear across town, I don't have that kind of time, but, um... Well, I send money and stuff, it's not like I don't have a connection....
    • Taste This
  • I don't want to get the same looks I give people when they get on a plane holding a baby: "That's a cute baby, just keep walking, keep walking, keep going, keep going...."
    • Taste This
  • If we don't want to define ourselves by things as superficial as our appearances, we're stuck with the revolting alternative of being judged by our actions, by what we do.
    • My Point... And I Do Have One. New York: Bantam Books, 1995
  • I mean, I feel like I'm in a unique position as host, because think about it: What would bug the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews?
    • 2001 Emmy Awards (4 November 2001)
  • Yes, we're lazy. Yet we also can't seem to sit still. So we've started making things like GO-GURT. That's yogurt for people on the go. Let me ask you, was there a big mobility problem with yogurt before? How time-consuming was it, really? [pretending to be on the phone:] "Hello?...Oh, hi, Tom...oh, I've been dying to see that movie...Umm, no...I just opened up some yogurt...Yeah, I'm in for the night...No, not even later-it's the kind with fruit on the bottom. Well, have fun. Thanks anyway."
    • Here and Now
  • Now we have hands-free phones, so you can focus on the thing you're really supposed to be doing ... chances are, if you need both of your hands to do something, your brain should be in on it too.
    • Here and Now
  • I have a terrible problem with procrastination... a friend told me, "Well, you should go to therapy." And I thought about it, but then I said, "Wait a minute. Why should I pay a stranger to listen to me talk when I can get strangers to pay to listen to me talk?" And that's when I got the idea of touring.
    • Here and Now
  • With all of our differences, we [members of the audience] all have one thing in common, we're all gay. Now there are people out there [in audience] going “Do they think we’re gay because we’re here? Do we look gay? I told you this would happen. We’re not going to understand a word of this.” Seriously, though, if you're here you're probably gay. I mean, you have tendencies, you've thought about it. Now there are people [in audience] going “I have thought about it. Does that mean I'm gay? I'm not gay. Is that how they get us?”
    • Here and Now
  • Procrastinate now, don't put it off.
    • Here and Now
  • Let's say, for instance, I'm out of cheese. And then I'll think, oh, but what if I go to the store and they're out of cheese? I'd be like, “How can you be out of cheese?” “What do you mean ‘How can we be out of cheese?’ You're out of cheese. People run out of cheese.” Then I’d be like, “Yeah, but you’re a store. You should have cheese stocked up in the back for people like me coming in looking for cheese.” And that's when they send the manager over, who thinks he's so cool for being the manager ‘cause his picture’s framed in the front of the store ‘cause he’s the manager, you know. And he’d be like, "What seems to be the problem, ma'am?" Which to me is so condescending, like “little lady.” I'd be like, “The little lady’s problem.…” He'd be like, “Who’s the little lady?” I'd be like, “Shut up and listen to me. You’re out of cheese and I want some.” And, he's like, “Well, how about some cottage cheese?' Like he’s going to negotiate the situation, he’s a diplomat because he’s the manager. And I’d be like, “I don’t want cottage cheese; I want cheddar cheese. Sharp cheddar cheese is what I came in for. Sharp cheddar cheese and cottage cheese are not the same things. Just ‘cause they have the name cheese in the title doesn't make it a cheese at all. That’d be like going into a musical instrument store and saying ‘I’d like to buy a trumpet,’ and them saying 'I'm sorry, we're all out of trumpets, but would you like a shoehorn?’ See, that’s not the same thing, is it, Mr. Manager?” (‘Thank you for the shoe horn,’ you know.) And he starts getting all nervous and everything, because a crowd has formed and he starts feeling humiliated because they're all sitting around mumbling “What seems to be the problem?,' I don’t know, she wants some cheese.' And, so, um, he just slaps me right across the face. And, umm, so that’s when Skip, the part time guy who works there, who hates the manager ‘cause he thinks so cool for being the manager and treats Skip like shit because he’s just the part time guy. And Skip’s going to quit in the fall and go back to school anyway. He doesn’t even need the money; he’s from a wealthy family. He’s just doing it for the experience because his family wants him to work one summer. And, so anyway, so, he takes the hose, and he goes to spray the manager right in the eye, right, and so, but that’s when he’s leaning down to pick the cottage cheese, so he misses him and he gets this old woman who’s standing right behind him, and she’s there picking out an avocado, because the older you are the less you eat and she all she wants is the avocado. So she screams out, “my eye, I’ve been sprayed in the eye with a produce hose.” And so then that's when her nephew who's visiting from Austin Texas is two aisles over buying tortilla chips because he thinks they're going to have guacamole. Little does he know it's one avocado. And so, he starts running “I’ll help you, aunt so and so,” running, and then when he's running down the aisle when he slips on some water from the produce hose, breaks his leg, breaks his arm, bruises two ribs right there... gets a stitch put in his cheekbone, just one, but still, it's a stitch. Chaos breaks out and it's all over Hard Copy and Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood... "Lesbian Demands Cheese, Causes Riot." And I'm like, “I didn’t even want the cheese.” You know?
    • The Beginning
  • What could be going so wrong that they need to check on you that often....'My bra's in my ass!!'....'Rachel' (mouths pointing to her ass 'My bra's in my ass' and again 'My bra's in my ass' shakes head no and air spells out A-S-S and then motions her to come here). I'd like to see how far they'd go to help you when you tell them your bra's in your ass.' 'Oh my, it's in the ass...do you need a different size or color? I don't know what to do about the bra in the ass. I'll get the manager I don't know.
    • The Beginning
  • They say you just stand over there, he'll say thank you and you walk back off and that's what I thought was gonna happen, but in my head, I had for five or six years known that he was gonna call me over.
    • Ellen DeGeneres, commenting on being called over to sit with Johnny Carson back in 1986
  • I'm a godmother, that's a great thing to be, a godmother. She calls me god for short, that's cute, I taught her that.
    • Ellen DeGeneres, My Point...And I Do Have One
  • Sometimes when I am driving I get so angry at inconsiderate drivers that I want to scream at them. But then I remember how insignificant that is, and I thank God that I have a car and my health and gas. That was phrased wrong — normally you wouldn't say, thank God I have gas.
    • Ellen DeGeneres, My Point...And I Do Have One
  • You have to have funny faces and words, you can't just have words. It is a powerful thing, and I think that's why it's hard for people to imagine that women can do that, be that powerful.
    • Ellen DeGeneres, US Magazine, January 1995
  • For a long time I thought I knew for sure who I was. I grew up in New Orleans and became a comedian. And there was everything that came along with that. The nightclubs. The smoking. The drinking. Then I turned 13.
  • "I knew if I came out, there was a possibility I would lose my career. But I didn't do it for my career, I did it for me to live my truth," she says. "I thought, 'I don't want to live and have any shame whatsoever.' I should be proud of who I am, and I don't care if people approve or not. It is who I am."
    • Ellen Degeneres talking about her coming out in 1997 with Oprah Winfrey, on the interview on 'Oprah' show on 9th of November 2009
  • But I do believe that's when you do your soul-searching. I think when you have these trials that life gives you, it is an opportunity to find out who you are. Not just who you are when everything's great, but who are you when every thing is taken away from you and you have nothing.
    • Ellen on Oprah show, 9th of November 2009
  • I learned compassion from being discriminated against. Everything bad that's ever happened to me has taught me compassion.
    • Ellen on Oprah show, 9th of November 2009
  • "I think I'm healthier than I've ever been. I'm happier than I've ever been. I'm more myself. I can't stress that enough," Ellen says. "I think kindness is the key to yourself and to other people. … I think I found out who I was, and I think I really try to be a better person every single day. And she [sc. Portia de Rossi, her wife] makes me better."
    • Ellen's interview on Oprah show, 9th of November 2009
  • I just like observing people — it's something I've done ever since I was a kid, and I got really good at it. That's a big part of why I became a comedian. My audience is filled with every kind of person you can imagine, and I love that.
    • Redbook, January 2006
  • Ellen: I think one of the turning points in my life came a few years ago. I started going to sleep at night just talking to myself, saying, "You're perfect just the way you are," because I used to beat myself up about weight and working out, and no matter what I did I never felt good about myself. I decided to accept myself and know that I am good. Just those affirmations every night changed my belief in who I was because I had been told for so long, over and over, that I was something else. That brings us to another agreement: Don't make assumptions—because we assume that when people do something or say something to you, they mean just what we think they mean.
    • Ellen DeGeneres' interview with The Four Agreements Author don Miguel Ruiz which appeared in the October 2001 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
  • I wish that I wasn't seen differently. I wish that people looked at me and just saw that I was a good person with a good heart. And that wants to make people laugh. And that's who I am. I also happen to be gay. And I would love to have the same rights as everybody else. I would love, I don't care if it's called marriage. I don't care if it's called, you know, domestic partnership. I don't care what it's called. I mean, there are couples that have been together, 30 years, 40 years. And all of a sudden, they lose their house, you know, the taxes kill them, because it's different because they're not married. Everything is taken away just because. You know, with Sept. 11, there are a lot of people that lost their partner and didn't get the same benefits. It's not fair. And at the same time I know there are people watching right now saying, you know, it's sick it's wrong, it's this. And it's like, I can't convince them that I'm not sick or wrong, that there's nothing wrong with me. You know, I can live my life and hope that things change, and hope that we're protected as any other couples
    • Ellen Degeneres talking about being gay with Stone Phillips in an interview for Dateline NBC, Nov. 8, 2004
  • My name is Ellen and I'm a vegetarian. Just to add another label to me: I am a lesbian, aquarian and vegetarian. I've said it...
    • Ellen Degeneres hosting Paul McCartney and Friends Live: PETA's Millennium Concert, 1999
  • Death, disease, famine
homelessness, abuse
I can't even watch
the 5 o'clock news
There could be an answer
it may not be too late
but it involves a transfer
try love instead of hate
All you can do
is be good to people
and hope that those people
will be good to you too
but good luck
I doubt it
  • A poem Ellen reads at the end of the first season of "Ellen". Longer version appears in her book, "My Point... And I Do Have One".
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