Interesting Rules And Behind-The-Scenes Facts About Being A Guest On The Ellen DeGeneres Show

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is an American daytime television talk show hosted by writer, comedian, and actress Ellen DeGeneres. The program first aired in 2003 and has been in syndication since. Throughout the show’s running, it has received 171 Daytime Emmy Award nominations and has won 61 one of them, including four for Outstanding Talk Show and seven for Outstanding Talk Show Entertainment. Take a look to see what it’s like behind the scenes of the show and what’s it’s like being a part of the live studio audience.

Don’t Forget To Choose Your Outfit Carefully!

Girl meeting Ellen
Don Arnold/WireImage
Don Arnold/WireImage

If you’ve ever wondered why The Ellen DeGeneres Show looks like it has such a fun crowd, that could be because of what they’re wearing. Those that attend the taping are instructed beforehand to wear the brightest colors they own so they can stick out.

Wearing black and white, on the other hand, is frowned upon. The show’s producers also don’t appreciate people that are wearing jeans and tell audiences to shoot for “business casual or upscale/trendy attire.”

But No Coordinating Them!

Ellen wearing the same clothes
CBS
CBS

A ban on black-and-white attire isn’t the only fashion rule that The Ellen DeGeneres Show enforces. Although there hasn’t been a reason why given, groups are frowned upon for wearing coordinating outfits.

It’s assumed that one of these reasons could be that she doesn’t want the audience to take attention away from herself or any guests that may be present. Furthermore, fans are encouraged to buy Ellen-themed clothes in a backstage area known as the “Riff Raff Room” to wear during the show.

Keep Your Energy Up

Picture of Ellen fans
Don Arnold/WireImage
Don Arnold/WireImage

If you have intentions to get picked for the game show segment, gift giveaway, or want a close-up shot, it’s crucial that you keep your energy levels up. At all times, producers are scanning the audience to see who are the most excited people there, and the ones they select are taken to a special place known as the “bungalow.”

Up to 50 people can be invited to the bungalow where they are asked questions such as “How excited are you?” or “Who is the biggest Ellen fan?” If you answer correctly, you can move on to the next round.

You’ll Get Lots Of Gifts

Fans getting gifts
CBS
CBS

If you are planning on taking your own car to a filming of the show at Warner Bros. studios, it has been advised that you bring the biggest vehicle that you can get your hands on. This is because it allows you more room for the freebies that are given out during the show.

For example, those that attended the Mother’s Day episode in 2017 were able to leave with a mountain of gifts, including strollers, high chairs, Amazon Echos, and more.

It’s On The Chilly Side

Picture of Justin Bieber
Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images
Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

With all of the lights, audience members, and crew, one might assume that The Ellen DeGeneres Show studio would be a bit on the warmer side. However, that’s not the case; it’s usually the opposite. Apparently, audience members are more likely to want a sweater than to work up a sweat.

The air conditioning is known to be on throughout the whole show to prevent anyone from getting too hot. You can always wear another layer but you can’t take them all off!

No Autographs

Ellen Degeneres (R) and Venus Williams share a laugh with a fan at Venus Williams' book signing
Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA
Mike Stobe/Getty Images for USTA

Autographs may seem like a thing of the past, with people rather taking pictures with their famous celebrities than having their signature. If you were planning on getting one from Ellen, you’re out of luck.

This is because the host has a strict rule against penning her name to any fan’s piece of paper. DeGeneres claims that the main reasons behind her logic are that the size of the audience and lack of time make signing any autographs almost impossible.

They Use Metal Detectors

US security guards
LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP via Getty Images
LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP via Getty Images

On the Ellen website, it’s stated, “Think airport security: if you can’t take it into the airport, it is not allowed at WB.” In a report from an Australian website, an unnamed audience member gave an inside look into what it was like being in the studio.

Supposedly, there are such extensive security measures put in place that it actually feels like being at the airport. One of the first things an audience member even does when entering the studio is walk through a metal detector.

Sorry, No Knitting Needles

Person knitting
Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

If you were ever planning on knitting something while waiting in line or even during the production of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, unfortunately, you’re out of luck. The daytime show strictly prohibits bringing any knitting needles into the studio.

This is most likely because the needles could potentially be used as a harmful weapon and it’s probably unlikely that Ellen has a vendetta against people who enjoy knitting while she’s talking. In fact, no sharp objects are allowed in the studio, which is pointed out on the website.

No Yelling Things Out

Picture of Ellen DeGeneres
Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic
Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic

Although audience members are frequently encouraged to dance and sing by the warm-up guy, there is a limit to how much audience members are allowed to participate.

While the fans are asked to be as vocal as possible when Ellen DeGeneres and her celebrity guests enter the stage, they’re instructed to be quiet when the show is in full swing. Screaming something out when Ellen or the guests are talking will result in being asked to leave, no matter how nice your comment was.

Celebrities Have To Dance, Too

Octavia
CBS
CBS

Audiences are encouraged to dance and show off some of their best moves. They’re even asked to dance during the 30-second pauses during commercial breaks. Interestingly, the celebrity guests that Ellen has on the show are asked to dance along as well.

On one occasion in 2017, Octavia Spencer came on the show to promote her film Hidden Figures. After being interviewed, she was directly asked by the crew to dance along during the commercial breaks.

You’re Responsible For Your Own Lodging

Exterior of a hotel
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

While some people might be lucky enough to live near the Warner Bros. set in Burbank, California, others have to travel thousands of miles to appear as audience members on the show.

So, if you find yourself as part of this group, don’t ask advice from any of the production team where to stay for the night. When asked if there was a good place to stay in the FAQ section of the website, the answer was simply “No,” and that looking within the 91522 zip code is the best bet.

Fans With Special Needs Must Give Two Weeks’ Notice

stairs
CBS
CBS

The Ellen DeGeneres Show prides itself on being inclusive to all. However, someone with special needs or requirements must give the organizers plenty of notice in order to attend.

A minimum of two weeks’ notice is necessary for any arrangements to be made. While this may seem like an over-the-top rule to some, there are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to one taping that all necessities need to be taken into account for.

You Can’t Attend If You’re Under 14

Brad Pitt in the crowd
CBS
CBS

Unfortunately, younger fans under 14 can’t be accommodated at the studio and the only way they can watch the show is from the comfort of their own home.

However, if you’re over the age of 14 but under the age of 18, you can attend, as long as you are with someone at or over the age of 18. Supposedly, anyone that doesn’t look old enough to drink is required to show some form of identification to prove their age.

Get Used To Being Outside

Picture of people in a line
Annie Wells/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Annie Wells/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

It appears that the producers of the show want to build up the anticipation. So, they do so by having all of the excited fans line up outside in the Warner Bros. parking lot. This even includes people who have already been promised tickets.

Luckily, rain isn’t all that common in the city of Los Angeles, yet, if rain does occur, fans can most likely take shelter from the rain near one of the local restaurants. Incredibly, it’s been revealed by some audience members that it’s not uncommon for fans to wait in line for hours before being let in.

Fans Need To Arrive Very Early

Outside of WB lot
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Getting into The Ellen DeGeneres Show is quite the process, especially if you don’t already have tickets. You’d better hope you manage to get your hands on one of the standby ones in that case. In order to be one of these lucky individuals, you need to be outside the studio super early.

According to the show’s website, the studio opens at 9 am, “but it’s not within [the producers’] control as to how early people arrive.” So, some people without tickets get there hours before the gates even open.

Absolutely No Snacking

Audience member with chips
CBS
CBS

Even though the process of getting into the studio is a long one, audience members aren’t allowed to bring in any snacks or beverages. This means they have to keep their hunger at bay until filming is over.

Luckily, eating is permitted in the lines outside, and there are plenty of eateries in the surrounding area. Nevertheless, it’s been rumored that sneaking snacks onto the set can be punishable by getting thrown off the show.

You Could Be Separated From Family And Friends

Ellen audience
CBS
CBS

Some Ellen DeGeneres fans are lucky enough to get tickets not just for themselves, but also for two extras for whomever they choose to bring. Nevertheless, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to enjoy the show sitting next to your loved ones.

In fact, many people find themselves sitting next to complete strangers due to the show’s seating arrangements. People are seated according to what the number on their ticket is, so it’s usually unlikely you’ll sit with who you came with.

Information About Shows Is Kept A Secret

Black and white picture of Ellen
Frazer Harrison/KCA2016/Getty Images for Nickelodeon
Frazer Harrison/KCA2016/Getty Images for Nickelodeon

Die-hard fans may have a basic idea about what they’re going to see when it comes to a show. The show is typically laid out to have an opening monologue, a few celebrity interviews, a music performance, and either a practical joke or a human interest story.

However, DeGeneres keeps several details of the show a secret. For example, guests’ identities remain a secret until they walk out on stage. Apparently, the reason for all the secrecy is that “details change on a daily basis.”

The Audience Is Expected To Dance

Audience dancing
CBS
CBS

If you’re shy or definitely don’t consider yourself a dancer, it’s possible that seeing a taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show might not be for you. This is because, at times, Ellen essentially insists that the crowd dance along with her.

On top of that, ticket holders spend around just as much time on their feet as they do sitting during the taping of the show. Some former audience members have even admitted that filming the show is exhausting work.

Rows Have To Come Up With Their Own Dances

Audience dancing
CBS
CBS

Although this may sound strange, each row of audience members is supposed to come up with their own dance. In 2017, a writer for News.com.au traveled to Burbank to see what it was like to be an audience member on Ellen.

In her report, she claimed that audience members are at one point in charge of their own choreography. To warm-up for the show, each row of audience members was asked to come up with their own dances, which she claims were quite uncomfortable.

Don’t Even Think About Getting Into The Front Row If You Don’t Know All The Hits

Front row of the audience
CBS
CBS

Getting into the front row seating area for the audience isn’t by any chance. Nobody gets to be in the front row of a prime-time show without knowing the current U.S. Hot 100 songs. When Ellen is dancing and singing along to the music, those sitting in the front row have extra responsibility.

Not only do they have to be able to dance shamelessly in front of the camera, but they also have to be able to sing along to whatever song is playing at the time. This is no joke to the producers.

You Can’t Be A Shy Game Player

Audience playing a game
CBS
CBS

Ellen DeGeneres is, without a doubt, one of the biggest talk show hosts that enjoys playing games, such as Blindfolded Musical Chairs.

Unsurprisingly, Ellen only wants the most enthusiastic fans to participate. Although it may seem like audience members are selected at random, they’re chosen before the show even begins. Contestants are judged while in line, and those who seem the most excited to be involved in the games are selected.

The Clapping Isn’t Real, Necessarily

Audience clapping
CBS
CBS

The dance party and singing isn’t the only thing that’s choreographed during the show. Another thing that most viewers might not realize is that even the clapping isn’t necessarily real.

Live audiences are instructed exactly when they’re supposed to clap and also how to respond to a situation. This means that ticket holders are aware that they need to be ready to follow strict instructions in terms of reactions before entering the Warner Bros. studio.

Audiences Are Supposed To Show As Little Skin As Possible

Ellen audience
CBS
CBS

Unlike on many other shows, The Ellen DeGeneres Show wants audiences to reveal as little skin as possible.

No matter how hot it is outside, fans aren’t supposed to wear plain t-shirts or shorts and especially flip flops. Hats are also not allowed to be worn on the set, as they would most likely make someone stand out, and a large hat could end up blocking another audience member’s view.

Don’t Count On Giving Ellen A Gift Directly

Ellen DeGeneres with microphone
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for GLAAD
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for GLAAD

With a net worth of more than $300 million, Ellen DeGeneres is more wealthy than most people can even imagine. This doesn’t stop her fans from wanting to give her gifts.

Anyone that wants to give Ellen their gift personally is most likely out of luck. However, fans are still allowed to bring gifts to the Warner Bros. lot, where they are then processed and checked by security. Fans are also forbidden from approaching Ellen, even for a selfie.

Fans Only Get One Freebie

Audience with cereal
CBS
CBS

While simply attending The Ellen DeGeneres Show may be a reward enough for some people, Ellen makes sure that her fans don’t go home empty-handed. Every show, audience members are allowed to take home a piece of merchandise to commemorate attending a taping.

However, fans are only allowed to take home one “freebie.” On one occasion, Ellen saw a fan trying to get away with a purse full of items and aired the footage to dissuade people from trying to do the same.

Leaving The Chewing Gum In The Car

Picture of gum
David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Whether it’s in your pocket, purse, or your mouth, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get any chewing gum past security. Unsurprisingly, both Ellen and the showrunners don’t want the audience members looking like a bunch of cows chewing gum on-screen.

Furthermore, they’re afraid that some people might be disrespectful enough to leave their chewing gum under their seats or in places other than the trash can. So, banning gum altogether is an easy solution.

You’ll Have A Hard Time Flipping Your Tickets

Woman with tickets
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Ellen doesn’t allow her tickets to go on general sale, so if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to make any money from them. Incredibly, even auctioning off tickets to the show for a good cause is forbidden by the producers of the show.

Those who arrive at the Warner Bros. lot must have tickets that have their name on them. If the name doesn’t match, they won’t be allowed in.

Definitely Don’t Try And Take A Video

filming
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Regardless that The Ellen DeGeneres Show is filmed from multiple angles, 40 minutes long, and aired to the whole nation, that doesn’t stop people from wanting to take videos of their own.

Unsurprisingly, all filming on cell phones or other electronics must end when entering the studio. Fans are allowed to keep their cell phones but are asked to turn the off during the taping. Security has been known to confiscate phones of people that take them out to use.

Travel Expenses Aren’t Reimbursed In The Event Of A Canceled Show

Airplane flying
Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images
Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

At times, the taping of an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show is either canceled or moved due to circumstances out of the producers’ control, such as if Ellen falls ill. When this happens, many fans aren’t just disappointed but end up losing money as well.

This is because the show doesn’t reimburse fans for money they may have spent in order to see the show. While this may not affect those that live locally, this can be especially detrimental for people who travel from far away.