Ellen DeGeneres began hosting her talkshow from her living room this week in an effort to lift the spirits of her television audience.
She began by acknowledging all the folks who are still at work helping to keep the world running including “doctors, hospital staff, first responders, supermarket employees, truck drivers and everyone who keeps us going.”
Ellen shared doing the at-home edition of her show is for not only her viewers stuck at home but also for her staff and crew: “I love them and miss them, and the best I can do for them is to keep the show on the air.”
But things went a bit awry when she cracked a joke comparing her experience quarantining in her $24 million mansion with folks who are incarcerated.
“This is like being in jail, is what it is,” said Ellen. “Mostly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for ten days and everyone in here is gay.”
Ellen does her first show from home: “Being in quarantine is like being in jail. It’s mostly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for ten days and everyone in here is gay.” pic.twitter.com/DH1ywZKAqR
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) April 6, 2020
The moment the words escaped her lips you could almost sense she regretted the reference as she clapped her hands and dropped her face as she said, “Ah, the jokes that I have.”
The Emmy Award-winner went on to say she wants to “spread light where there’s shade,” which is a good thing because a LOT of shade was thrown her way on Twitter after the joke fail.
ellen: being in quarantine is like being in jail
the jail: pic.twitter.com/1Ro9IkdQJx
— grace (@graceisaaac2) April 8, 2020
People are literally dying in jail from COVID-19 while Ellen is out here making jokes about it. https://t.co/Z8cdnMDF5b
— Rebecca Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) April 8, 2020
Can we all just agree jokes about jail/prison are just…bad? Putting humans in cages is not funny. Things that happen there are not funny. And anything you’re going through right now in your apartment (or your fucking mansion, Ellen) is not comparable.
— Shana Knizhnik (@shanakn) April 8, 2020
me: so yeah idk if im going to be able to get my testosterone prescription and nobody is telling me anything about my finals and how tf do i even get into uni
ellen: my huge mansion is a jail cell
— ً (@qerscus) April 8, 2020
— Rachel S ✨ (@RnmiSanders) April 7, 2020
— E*L*I*S*A*B*E*T*H (@lizardmess) April 7, 2020
"Hi my name is Ellen and I'm going to make fun of the incarceration of thousands of American citizens during a global pandemic and also imply that only queer folx are jailed and make it seem that being told to stay in my fucking house is like being in a cell in a jail ward."
— JessPak(she/they) (@HealthPakStream) April 7, 2020
Hahahaha wow, love it. Hey Ellen, do you make 27 cents an hour and have to pay through the nose to be able to see your family ever?
— The resurrection will not be televised (@votarycannon) April 7, 2020
Ellen has caught some flack in recent months for seeming to be out of touch with the average person after standing up for her comedy pal Kevin Hart during the Oscar hosting debacle, and then palling around with former President George W. Bush.
As I was writing this article, the video on YouTube was removed, which is probably for the best.
At the end of the day, I don’t think an unfunny joke makes Ellen a bad person. Every comedian has a clunker every now and then.
But perhaps cracking wise about a pandemic that’s killed thousands and comparing home situations with prisoners who barely have basic necessities might be put on the ‘no joke’ kill list.