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I've already got "Please Don't Go Girl" by New Kids On The Block going through my head at the news that Ellen DeGeneres might be leaving her acclaimed talk show in 2020.
In some respects, who could blame her for considering a departure? She's been doing her heartwarming talk show for 15 years, and 2020 will take her through to season 17. That's an incredibly long time for a talk show to endure; just ask Oprah, whose own talk show enjoyed an amazing 25-year run. Also, Ellen is heading into her 61st birthday at the end of January; while that's still really young, there are doubtless other projects she would like to explore beyond her talk show.
Reports indicate that she's getting conflicting advice from her wife, actress Portia de Rossi, and her brother, Vance, about whether or not she should bring the show to an end. Her brother reportedly believes she "can't stop," given the good the show does and brings to people in what is a very tough socio-political climate, while de Rossi reportedly believes that Ellen could and should be creative outside of the auspices of her eponymous show.
Certainly, Ellen's show has done amazing things - countless charitable causes have benefitted from her generosity, and this is something for which Ellen has been recognized over the years, including winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work. Her kindness and humanity have brightened the days of many who have appeared on her show and who have watched from home, and that's a gift that cannot be denied, to be sure. There are days where I feel sort of lackluster and needing evidence that in spite of really bad things happening all over the world, there is some hope and humanity left, and in many ways, Ellen has offered that. There have been times where I have belly laughed over some of the videos that have made their way onto Ellentube, the YouTube channel of Ellen. Even though I suspect Ellen would deny that she's done anything terribly special, her kindness that she's shown the world has made the world (or at least our corner of it) better and has shown that yes, there are decent people still out there even when things look bad.
Given the incredibly powerful impact that Ellen has had on so many over the last 15 years, it's hard to imagine a world in which Ellen DeGeneres does not have a presence in the global landscape. Sure, she will have a significant digital footprint in the months and years to come, thanks in no small part to an endless stream of video clips that are both heartwarming and funny all at once. Like many others, I'm moved to tears and laughter with most clips, and when I heard the news that Ellen was considering leaving Ellen, it gave me some pause.
She didn't ever once seem that she started her talk show for reasons other than just making the world a better place. She captures something special when any guest comes on her show, whether that guest is a celebrity or a "civilian" - in other words, a non-famous person. The last time I saw someone who so naturally understood that the show had to be about whomever the guest was at the time was with Oprah, and before that late night legend Johnny Carson.
Her passion for what she does is not to be denied, either. She is in it, every moment that she's on camera, and she's clearly enjoying herself. While we wait to see what Ellen ultimately decides to do in 2020 when her current contract runs out, we can only embrace every warmhearted moment and laugh that comes.