With only days left of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the famous talk show host has revealed why there is a secret tunnel under her stage.
As the final episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show approaches after 19 years, the talk show host has revealed how she has managed to pull off so many of her famous celebrity scares.
A tunnel was actually built under the stage for the purpose of producers being able to jump out and scare DeGeneres’ big-name guests.
In a segment giving a behind-the-scenes look at the “anatomy of a scare”, executive producer Andy Lassner said the celebrity guests always enjoyed being scared at the show.
“Celebrities have gotten on the phone with our producers and said, ‘Why hasn’t Ellen ever tried to scare me?'” Lassner said, who has been with the show since it first aired in 2003.
“They are always grateful for it. They always love it. Their favorite clip to show the next time they come is ‘when you scared me’.
“There has never been a bad feeling about the scaring.”
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DeGeneres, 64, announced in May last year she was ending the series following toxic workplace statements, including sexual misconduct.
A Warner Bros. internal investigation following months of negative press led to the firings of top producers Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman mid-2020.
The final episode has already been filmed and will air May 26.
The evolution of the ‘Ellen scare’
In the early years, Ellen DeGeneres started scaring Andy Lassner around set.
She then moved on to celebrities, where she would hide in their dressing room bathroom and jump out. It was always caught on hidden cameras and played on the show.
One of the most memorable scares was when DeGeneres jumped out at a young Taylor Swift for Halloween in 2009, which made the singer fall to the floor screaming.
“It’s just my way of welcoming people and putting them at ease,” DeGeneres said in the scare segment on the show last week.
“I do not want them to think it’s some kind of formal situation. It’s just a relaxing place where you can get scared. ”
The team then moved on to scaring celebrities while they were on air, with producers – often dressed in costumes – sneaking up behind guests during an interview.
The next step was building a “scare table”.
Modern Family actor Eric Stonestreet was her first victim in September 2014.
A producer in a clown costume jumped out of the table between Stonestreet and DeGeneres’ chairs on stage when Stonestreet was mid-sentence.
In a plan to change things up to be able to scare actress Sarah Paulson, the team built a tunnel.
Reflecting on the moment, executive producer Corey Palent said: “I had to climb down the ladder, through this rocks and dirt, up a ladder and then climb into the box.
“So Ellen (had) removed the top of the box to show that no one was in the box and then closed it again.”
A clip of Paulson was included in the segment confirming she found being scared on the show funny.
“I do watch it and I do think it’s funny,” she said. “I am an ‘Ellen’ in a sense that in my younger life, I spent a lot of time scaring people so I do understand why she does it.”