Ellen DeGeneres Confronts 'Mean' Reputation During Her Return To Stand-Up

Ellen DeGeneres was unapologetic as she addressed the controversy which led her to exit the entertainment two years ago.

During Monday’s show of “Ellen’s Last Stand…Up” tour in Santa Rosa, California, SFGATE reported that the comedian openly balked at the idea that she’s a cruel person, telling audiences, “I am many things, but I am not mean.”

DeGeneres’ reputation for being mean made headlines in 2020, after BuzzFeed News published a report featuring the accounts of nearly a dozen current and former employees who anonymously accused the former talk show host of fostering a toxic work environment on the set of her eponymous daytime series.

Undermining her public motto of “be kind,” DeGeneres and executives on the show were accused of regularly making inappropriate comments about employees’ race, firing staff for taking medical leave and creating a general culture of fear at the workplace.

In the fallout, the “Finding Nemo” voice talent made a public apology, and in May 2021, she announced “The Ellen DeGeneres” would be ending after its 19th season.

At Monday’s show, DeGeneres gleefully made light of the scandal, kicking off her set by saying, “Let me catch you up on what’s been going on with me since you last saw me.”

Ellen DeGeneres attends the 2019 premiere of
Ellen DeGeneres attends the 2019 premiere of "Green Eggs and Ham." The former talk show host addressed allegations that she's been a "mean" person during a performance in California on Monday. VALERIE MACON via Getty Images

Brushing past the elephant in the room, she paused and soaked in the audience’s laughter before joking, “I got chickens.”

“Oh yeah, and I got kicked out of show business for being mean,” DeGeneres then added.

During her performance, the actor admitted to being a harsh boss but pushed back on accusations she was outright nasty.

“I can be demanding and impatient and tough. I am a strong woman,” she said.

Elsewhere during the show, DeGeneres reminded audiences how she already endured a Hollywood ouster after publicly coming out as a lesbian in 1997.

“Next time, I’ll be kicked out for being old,” she quipped. “Old, gay and mean, the triple crown.”

The star also confirmed that the tour and its accompanying Netflix special would be her last hurrah, telling fans, “This is the last time you’re going to see me. After my Netflix special, I’m done.”

Not long after SFGATE published its account of DeGeneres’ standup show, Deadline reported that several tour dates in Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago had been abruptly canceled.