ELLEN'S FAMOUS "COMING OUT" EPISODE WAS 20 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK.
I WAS IN THE STUDIO WHEN IT WAS SHOT. I'LL NEVER FORGET IT.
SHE DOES A CAST REUNION ON HER TALK SHOW TODAY. I'm sure you'll find out today why it was called "The Puppy Episode." I'll let Ellen tell you.
|Ellen and Laura Dern. "THE moment."|
|Now--Chris Higgins, Clea Lewis, Joely Fisher, Ellen, Oprah, Laura|
Thanks to Joely Fisher, my friend since she was EIGHT, I was an invited guest. Joely played Paige, Ellen's best friend on the series for years. The entire audience was mostly comprised of invited guests, but there were a few "civilians" there. Anticipation almost froze you in place. Oprah was there. kd lang was there. I think Melissa Etheridge was there. Scene by scene was shot, leading up to the big airport reveal. Right after that shot, the audience erupted in screams I've only heard at a football championship or a rock concert. And the screams went on and on.
When the show was over, a huge birthday cake was wheeled out and everyone sang to Ellen. We all rushed the stage and started hugging each other. Many people were crying. It was an evening that celebrated personal freedom, and it was simply startling to be right in the middle of it.
But that was short-lived. Her show ended up being canceled, and her career tanked. So much for personal freedom. Ellen had to live out many long, difficult years before she got her successful talk show. It's easy to forget those years. To most people, it looks like she "skipped" from one hit show to another. Not true. It was a really hard journey.