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Film and TV

8 iconic lesbians we want to see replace Ellen DeGeneres as the queen of talk shows instead of James Corden

Josh Milton August 3, 2020
(L-R) Ellen Page, Wanda Sykes and Kate McKinnon – lesbian royalty all deserving of their own eponymous talk shows. (Getty)

(L-R) Ellen Page, Wanda Sykes and Kate McKinnon – lesbian royalty all deserving of their own eponymous talk shows. (Getty)

Say the word “Ellen” to someone and they’re pretty likely have one particular image in their head: Bleach-blonde hair grounded in roots, ill-fitting jeans, a blazer in a muted tone, and a smile.

But that last detail – “a smile” – is one that, in recent weeks, may not be what most people associate with the words “Ellen DeGeneres”. The eponymous daytime talk show host has long been known by her fans as an oasis of optimism.

In recent weeks, these have been replaced with allegations of racism, bullying and a playbook of DeGeneres “turning a blind eye” to rampant sexual misconduct by senior-level staffers.

As the dizzying array of allegations are levelled towards her, and rumours heave that the 62-year-old is considering quitting her show entirely, professional heterosexual James Corden is tipped to replace her.

While her show’s work-culture is scrutinised and her once relatable reputation steadily topples down, here’s a list of eight superior lesbians we’d rather see replace DeGeneres than Corden.

Although, we, for one, think America needs even more straight, white, cis men presenting talk shows. The airwaves simply aren’t clogged enough with them.

Portia de Rossi. 

Actress Portia de Rossi (L) and TV personality Ellen DeGeneres. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Just kidding.

Here’s the actual list.

1. Ellen Page.

Ellen Page lesbian
Ellen Page at the “Tales of the City” New York premiere. (Dia Dipasupil/WireImage)

Well, for one, it would save a lot of money on the rebranding.

Ellen Page, the self-declared “tiny Canadian”, is a fan-favourite to replace DeGeneres. How many fans equals “fan-favourite”, you ask?

Around 20,000, according to a petition calling for the Juno actor to become the new Ellen – “Ellen Page is a much better host because she’s way more gay,” the petition reads.

2. Lena Waithe. 

Lena Waithe
Lena Waithe (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty)

Lena Waithe is always on the move. She’s acting. She’s producing. She’s creating. And, we hope, she’ll be hosting a talk show soon enough.

When Master of None creator Aziz Ansari met Waithe, he re-wrote a part on the Netflix show – once straight and white – for Waithe, gay and Black.

Her trailblazing success, from voicing the first openly gay Disney character to creating Showtime’s The Chi, is proof enough that, maybe, it’s time to re-write The Ellen Show for Waithe, too.

3. Kate McKinnon. 

Ellen DeGeneres (L) accepts the CAROL BURNETT AWARD presented by Kate McKinnon. (Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal Media, LLC via Getty Images)
Ellen DeGeneres (L) accepts the CAROL BURNETT AWARD presented by Kate McKinnon. (Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal Media, LLC via Getty Images)

Kate McKinnon grew up watching DeGeneres. The only thing that made being a lesbian less scary, less daunting, she said when presenting DeGeneres with a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes this year, was seeing DeGeneres on television in 1997.

“Attitudes change, but only because brave people like Ellen jump into the fire to make them change,” McKinnon reflected, seemingly holding back tears.

Now, decades on, perhaps it’s time for DeGeneres to pass the torch to McKinnon?

4. Lily Tomlin. 

Lily Tomlin. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for JumpLine)

Across her decorated career, if there’s one word that sums up the kinds of characters that Lily Tomlin plays, it’s empathy.

From Grace and Frankie to Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Tomlin’s tender performances have toyed with people’s heartstrings for decades and have people think of the 80-year-old with that kind of fuzzy fondness that one does a treasured friend or a childhood holiday.

She could also pretty easily knock anyone down a peg with her sharp sarcastic sense of humour. Maybe she and Dakota Johnson could co-host.

5. Wanda Sykes.

Wanda Sykes (L). (Mark Davis/Getty Images for AFI)

When the “W” flashed during the introduction to The Wanda Sykes Show, which aired in 2009, it’s simple to assume that the letter stands for, you guessed it, “Wanda Sykes”.

But what did that W really stand for? “Why hasn’t Wanda Sykes replaced Ellen DeGeneres as the lesbian supreme of daytime talk shows yet?”

Sykes – who actually invented humour so we could laugh at her jokes – has more personality and flourish in her left ear lobe than, say, a certain male comedian who carpools people more well-known than he is and thought starring in Cats was a wise career move.

6. Cynthia Nixon.

Cynthia Nixon. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Teen Vogue)

Cynthia Nixon, the Sex and the City star who attempted to court New Yorkers in her 2018 governor bid, has spent the vast bulk of her life asking people a simple thing: Don’t underestimate me.

She’s a seasoned activist and an award-winning comedic actor – Nixon knows how to use her one-line wit to both make people laugh and put across powerful messages commenting on topical issues, often on what it means to be a woman and queer today.

But a talk show for the Mirandas and the “unqualified lesbians” of the world? Ellen who? We don’t know her.

7. Samira Wiley. 

9 iconic lesbians we want to see replace Ellen DeGeneres
Samira Wiley. (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Glamour )

Do we really have to explain ourselves here? Seriously, do we?

Samira Wiley, with her breezy smile and light laugh, made her a breakout star in Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black. Her character, Poussey, was the Litchfield Penitentiary inmate that everyone wanted to be best friends with.

It’s that kind of soulful, magnetic energy that Wiley, 33, carries even away from the cameras, making her the perfect fit for a television show all about connecting with people and not, you know, being racist and bullying people.

8. Hayley Kiyoko. 

9 iconic lesbians we want to see replace Ellen DeGeneres
Hayley Kiyoko. (Joe Maher/Getty Images for Atlantic Records)

Just shy 127 million people have loaded-up YouTube to watch the music video for “Girls Like Girls”, by Hayley Kiyoko.

The 29-year-old songwriter grew up listening to music that she could never relate to. They always used the wrong pronouns, she said.

Lesbian Jesus-, oh, sorry, Kiyoko’s cool nonchalance about her sexuality is only rivalled about her unapologetic she is – a woman singing about loving another woman is still so rare in music today. We well and truly hope that we live in a timeline where Kiyoko gets her own timelines.

We can only pray.

More: Cynthia Nixon, Ellen, Ellen DeGeneres, Ellen Page, James Corden, Kate McKinnon, Lena Waithe, lily tomlin, Portia de Rossi, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, wanda sykes

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