The Ellen DeGeneres Show: Revisiting host’s first-ever on-set interview with Jennifer Aniston

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Ellen DeGeneres and Jennifer Aniston on the first episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show (YouTube/TheEllenShow)
Ellen DeGeneres and Jennifer Aniston on the first episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show (YouTube/TheEllenShow)

Eighteen years ago, Ellen DeGeneres sat down for the first episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, welcoming her inaugural guest: Jennifer Aniston.

DeGeneres announced on Wednesday that her daytime show will end after 19 seasons, meaning it’s now expected to wrap up in 2022.

The programme’s first episode aired in September 2003. At the time, The Ellen Show, the sitcom on which DeGeneres starred between 2001 and 2002, had recently concluded, and DeGeneres was embracing a new career as a talk show host.

Aniston, meanwhile, was still starring in Friends, which was about to enter its 10th and final season.

“What’s better than [seeing you on TV] every day?” Aniston told DeGeneres as they sat down for their chat together. “I mean, once a week [on The Ellen Show] was great, but now it’s every day.”

Aniston and DeGeneres traded gifts, and upon being handed a donkey-shaped cigarette dispenser by DeGeneres, Aniston can be heard musing: “My husband’s going to love that.”

Her husband at the time was Brad Pitt. He and Aniston were married in 2000 before splitting in 2005.

The interview bears the hallmarks of what has become The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s trademarks, with gifts being exchanged, some lighthearted banter, plenty of jokes, and both the host and guest sharing their personal experiences on a variety of topics (in this case, ranging from toilet paper etiquette to the pitfalls of living in a celebrity household).

DeGeneres and Aniston also taped a humorous segment imagining what the interview would have looked like if it had gone very poorly, with both women pretending to sit in awkward silence.

Aniston has remained a frequent guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, even guest-hosting the programme in January 2020.

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