‘People are idiots’: Truth of Ellen backlash
I'm with Ellen DeGeneres: people are idiots and should be treated accordingly.
The world's most popular talk show host is being battered from all angles, with current and former staffers exposing her as a big ol' meanie.
The storm has been raging for months.
A former Ellen producer got a case of the Samantha Markles this week and started doing interviews with any outlet that would have her. It was a global "Destroy Ellen" tour.
Honestly, who doesn't hate people? People are the worst. I can barely tolerate myself let alone others.
Then a guy came out and revealed that when Ellen was 20 she worked at his mum's recruitment business and made fun of him for being a chubby kid.
Remember what it's like to be 20? Working in a crummy job and having to be polite to the boss's annoying kid. All those hours hating your job, hating life and biding your time until your actual career starts.
But everyone needs to pay the rent and if, as a burgeoning comedian, you have to road-test a few jokes on the boss's annoying kid, who cares?
I worked at a Sunglass Hut kiosk during uni and used to put up the "Back In 5" sign and then just stand there, ignoring people. Some mum wearing Terri Irwin jeans would demand more information about a gross pair of Maui Jims and of course I'd eventually give it to her, but only after climbing down from my cross with a sigh.
When it comes to entertainment, the best personalities are usually dark or prickly or a bit messed up behind the scenes - think Krusty The Clown on The Simpsons, an off-duty, grumpy chain-smoker.
Ellen has been putting on a show every weekday for close to two decades - her achievements are on par with Oprah. The pressure of maintaining that kind of success is grossly consuming - particularly when it's built on your name and face. And when your job is to constantly put yourself out there and live up to people's expectations, it must be exhausting.
Ellen's not allowed to have a bad day. There are some days when crappy things happen in your relationship and other days where bad news comes from a friend - but in a job like that, you've got to push it aside and plough on. So in the private moments she gets behind the scenes, of course she's going to retreat. And maybe seem like a bit of a jerk.
But that's showbiz. There's a lot at stake, deadlines are looming and if you fail, it's in front of millions. There's no room for mistakes and maybe not a lot of time for niceties. It's not a conventional work environment. It's not politically correct, but if you don't like it, go work for the government.
It doesn't seem like it now, but Ellen being exposed might be the best thing to ever happen to her. She has painted herself into a corner over the years and now is the time to walk away and do something that's more true to herself.
Remember when she used to begin each show by dancing with the audience? She got sick of it but just had to keep doing it because everyone loved it. And then losers would run up to her in the street, wanting her to dance. The turmoil of being expected to be 'always on' was present when the New York Times interviewed her in 2018.
"There's been times someone wants a picture, and while I'm doing a selfie, they're like: 'You're not dancing!' Of course I'm not dancing. I'm walking down the street," she said in the interview, where the journalist described her real life personality as "blunt" and showing "mild irritation that might seem off-key" to her audience.
This interview came off the back of her Netflix stand-up special where, for the first time in her career as a comedian, she swore in her act. The fact it was even a news story that Ellen swore for the first time says a lot about the way she's been built up in our heads to be an icon of purity and inclusiveness.
In the North Queensland town I grew up in, no one batted an eye when our priest chain-smoked out the back of the school while swearing his head off. Why are we expecting Ellen to be sugar and love - like a cartoon character?
Watch a few Jerry Seinfeld interviews on YouTube and you'll see he's also a bit of a jerk but no one has ever pulled him up.
Ellen famously signs off each episode with the catchphrase, "Be kind to one another," and people reckon she doesn't practice what she preaches. Whatever. She's just got to lean into this new phase. The world will think what it wants. And right now, when we think of Ellen, we picture her shuffling around her neighbourhood muttering insults and shaking her fist at small children.
Moving forward, at the end of every episode, she just needs to light a cigarette and sigh, "Suck it".
Twitter, Facebook: @hellojamesweir
Originally published as 'People are idiots': Truth of Ellen backlash