DeGeneres opened the last hour of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” by discussing the progress that had been made since the series premiered in 2003, noting that she “couldn’t say ‘gay’ on the show” when it started or make a reference to her wife, Portia de Rossi, because gay marriage wasn’t legal.
“Now I say ‘wife’ all the time,” she said.
Noting that there was resistance to the show and that few gave it a chance of surviving, DeGeneres promised that she wouldn’t be gone for long. “Today is not the end of a relationship, it’s more of a little break,” she said. “You can see other talk shows now.”
The program incorporated clips from DeGeneres’ 3,200 episodes, including her tearfully thanking the audience after taping her first episode, as well as other highlights of her career, such as hosting the Oscars and receiving the Mark Twain Prize and Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Other guests were Billie Eilish and Pink. “You help people find their joy,” said Pink, who also performed.
DeGeneres thanked her staff and producers, as well as her loyal audience. “If I’ve done anything in the past 19 years, I hope I’ve inspired you to be yourself — your true, authentic self,” said the comic, who came out on her ABC sitcom, “Ellen,” in 1997.
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is distributed by Warner Bros. Television, which, like CNN, is a unit of Warner Bros. Discovery.