Host and Golden Globe honoree Ellen DeGeneres has been producing some of television's most unforgettable segments since 2003

By Diane J. Cho
January 05, 2020 03:00 PM

Ellen DeGeneres‘ 2020 is off to a special start. The award-winning talk show host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show will be honored at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards with the Carol Burnett Award for her outstanding contributions to television, on- and off-screen.

The daytime variety show, which first aired in September 2003, has fused together elements of stand-up comedy, musical guests, dancing and viral Internet sensations to create a unique series that has welcomed a ton of celebrity guests, including Kim Kardashian West, Britney Spears, Jennifer Aniston and former President Barack Obama.

Before the celebrated host receives her honor, let’s take a look back at some of the most iconic episodes of Ellen.

The Very First Monologue

On Sept. 8, 2003, The Ellen DeGeneres Show debuted on television in front of a live audience. We don’t think Ellen even knew just how impactful her show would become at the time her very first episode aired, but it’s delightful to watch how excited she was as she marked her list of firsts as they happened in real-time.

Then-Sen. Barack Obama Talks Being an ‘Underdog’ with Ellen

Before Barack Obama became president, he was a U.S. Senator from Illinois who was trying to prove that he had what it took to become commander-in-chief. One of his campaign stops included an appearance on the show, which allowed audiences to get to know the man who would eventually serve two terms in the White House.

Ellen Announces That She’s Married

The majority of Ellen’s job is to interview others, but in a rare moment, the host put the spotlight on herself to announce that she had married Portia de Rossi. The star shared exclusive photos from her wedding day and couldn’t help but smile throughout her opening monologue while gushing about her beautiful bride.

Sophia Grace Meets Nicki Minaj

In 2011, Sophia Grace and her cousin Rosie rose to fame after their adorable performance of Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” hit YouTube. Once the clip went viral, Ellen flew the girls out to California to meet their idol. Sophia’s over-the-top reaction and her dad breaking down in tears are what make this episode an absolute classic.

The Cast of Friends Reunites

When Jennifer Aniston was brought on to co-host a special episode in 2013, she enlisted her very famous Friends Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox to help her promote the show. The memorable bit brought back the iconic cast and created a hilarious promo, during a time when rumors of a real reboot of the beloved sitcom had begun to make the rounds.

Julia Roberts Surprises Ellen for her Birthday

Ellen has become a true master at scaring her guests over the years, but in this clip, the host was in for a huge surprise when Roberts dropped in to celebrate her birthday. The best part? Roberts actually pulled it off!

Michelle Obama Gives Back in a Big Way

Ellen’s giveaway episodes are some of the most memorable. The star has generously given away hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years and has changed the lives of so many people in need. In this clip, as part of Ellen’s Greatest Night of Giveaways, former First Lady Michelle Obama gifts Randle Highlands Elementary School in Washington, D.C., a basketball court, iPads for every student and more.

The 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony is airing live on NBC from the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 5.