‘The Ellen Show’ Used This Game To Make Guests Uncomfortable but Will It Change for Season 18?

Games are a big part of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Some segments are purely for entertainment, cash prizes, or charity donations. Others are meant to expose secrets. Such is the case with one of host Ellen DeGeneres‘ “games,” which prompts celebrities to answer uncomfortable questions they might otherwise avoid.

Fans think Ellen DeGeneres uses games to let her inner ‘mean’ out

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres | Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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With The Ellen Show under a magnifying glass amid toxic workplace allegations, every past segment now holds a different tone. Whether it’s an uncomfortable interview or a cringe-worthy prank, fans used to give DeGeneres the benefit of the doubt.

That was before former employees shed light on what goes on backstage. Not being allowed to look DeGeneres in the eye, getting reprimanded for taking necessary time off, and sexual misconduct accusations that led to the firing of three top producers have left a bad taste in viewers’ mouths.

The game portions of the show, which sometimes have contestants do things that terrify or embarrass them, have always done the one thing they’re meant to: entertain DeGeneres.

For years, fans have stated that the talk show host’s brand of comedy hints at something darker and it sometimes shows.

“She’s the worst kind of bully: The kind who pretends she’s a nice person,” one fan stated on a lengthy Reddit thread.

“She hasn’t really said anything that personally has offended me, but she just kinda rubs me the wrong way when I hear her talk about stuff,” another said.

“I can’t stand her interview style. She sets up a guest with ignorant banter then asks some inappropriate question, but she does it ‘in a fun way’ so the guest feels obliged to answer something they really don’t want to, or come across as dissing the mighty Ellen,” another viewer added.

While more and more fans have taken the new allegations to heart — either siding with the comedian or abandoning her altogether — it’s the celebrities who’ve been in the hot seat more than the average person.

In The Ellen Show‘s previous 17 seasons, many interviews have gone awry in some way. From Dakota Johnson to Mariah Carey, Celine Dion to the outspoken Brad Garett (who tweeted about DeGeneres following workplace allegations), many are taking a closer look at how DeGeneres runs her show. This includes the games.

A roundup of ‘The EllenShow’s’ biggest games

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The games that appear on The Ellen Show has grown through the years. “Know or Go” brings three lucky studio audience members to a platform in which they must answers questions correctly or risk falling through the trap door beneath them.

DeGeneres sometimes utilizes “Never Have I Ever” with celebrity guests to dig up their dirt in a lighthearted way. Sometimes the moments prove awkward, even intrusive, if a star doesn’t want to answer.

“Hubba Hubba Quiz Quiz” puts two shirtless models next to one another. They compete by answering questions to see who is smarter. Many say the game is sexist, and if done by a man with woman contestants, it wouldn’t be allowed to air today.

“The Haunted House,” which sends a staff member and producer “Average Andy” Lassner to a haunted house — along with all of the pranks DeGeneres pulls on guests for a laugh — are amid reasons fans have started to view DeGeneres in a new light. What once looked like innocent fun now appears, as many said on Reddit, “rude” “cringeworthy,” or “mean.”

This game puts celebrities on the spot

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Of all the games DeGeneres offers, “Burning Questions” puts celebrities in the hot seat — literally. The host sits next to her celebrity guest with a rapid-fire Q&A where each answers a personal question, then hits the buzzer.

The questions can get very personal very quickly, making plenty of stars looking for the nearest exit. One example was when Jake Gyllenhaal was asked what his favorite body part is.

“On a person?” Gyllenhaal asked.

DeGeneres replied, “no on a kangaroo.”

“It’s obviously the pouch,” Gyllenhall answered.

DeGeneres repeated the question, adding she meant a favorite part on a person.

“Oh man,” Gyllenhaal said, flustered as he pointed to his neck. “I really like, like a…the back of a woman’s neck. It’s just weird! It’s a weird question. It’s a weird question, it’s confusing.”

“It’s only weird if you make it weird,” DeGeneres said, saying the part he pointed to is called the “nape.”

“The nape of a neck, that’s right,” Gyllenhaal said. “I couldn’t think of ‘nape.'”

The question obviously tripped Gyllenhaal up, just as many other celebrities have fumbled their way through an answer to a sexual question they may not want to answer.

Will ‘The Ellen Show’ change protocol for season 18?

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Considering all that’s come out about DeGeneres and the show itself, we can only hope things look a little different in the upcoming season. The comedian knows her every move will be scrutinized — including the way she treats guests during those game segments.

DeGeneres previously stated she will address all of this during the show’s premiere. We’ll just have to wait and see what she says, what the tone is, and how fans respond.