20 Of Ellen DeGeneres' Greatest Moments Ever

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At the risk of making a grand proclamation, there are very few people who are generally agreed upon as being universally beloved. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that Ellen DeGeneres is one of them. We won’t venture a guess as to any of the others, because that would mean stepping into far murkier and controversial territory. Ellen, however, is a sure bet.

It’s not just the delightful dancing or viral Oscar selfies, nor is it the pranks that she pulls both with and on celebrities like Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. DeGeneres was making history even before most of America knew her as an extremely successful syndicated talk-show host. She was the first woman ever called to the couch to sit down on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson when she appeared to do stand-up in November 1986. She came out publicly on her eponymous sitcom in 1997. She’s hosted the Emmys and the Oscars and is a spokesperson for CoverGirl.

Oh, and did you know that Ellen even has one of those National Days, like National Pecan Pie Day or National Hug Day? That’s right; January 26 — which is also DeGeneres’ birthday — has been declared National Ellen DeGeneres Day. If that’s not a sign of universal belovedness, we’re not quite sure what is. They don’t just hand out those days to anyone or anything. You have to be a type of baked good, an adorable furry creature, or an intimate action.

Since it’s our gal’s birthday and official day, we’re celebrating all the times she’s made us laugh. Because really, that’s what she does best. She makes people smile. Sometimes pranking is involved — okay, pranking is usually involved. We’re okay with that, especially when it includes David Beckham.
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Ellen & Obama bust a move to “Crazy in Love.”

As Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen once sang, “Nobody tells the president what to do.” Except that’s a lie. Ellen tells the president what to do. She tells him to DANCE.
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“Dennis Quaid is here!”

This Starbucks prank with Dennis Quaid from 2008 is one of the most beloved in the history of the show.
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Christmas caroling with Britney Spears.

Did you know that “Womanizer” is now a Christmas carol?
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Rob Lowe said he never breaks character.

Ellen said, “Challenge accepted.” Also remember the Hawaii Chair?
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Ellen’s vision boards really work.

Oprah Winfrey is famously the only person to appear on the cover of O, The Oprah Magazine, save for one time when she was joined by Michelle Obama. In 2009, Ellen created an “O Yes I Can” vision board and photoshopped herself onto past covers in hopes of appearing on a future issue of O. She got her wish. Ellen joined Oprah on the December 2009 cover.
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David Beckham’s massage prank.

David Beckham loved Dennis Quaid’s Starbucks prank so much that he begged Ellen to send him out into the world with an earpiece through which he’d be at her mercy. We hope she picked a massage scenario for the endless supply of “bend it like Beckham” jokes right at the masseuse’s fingertips.
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No one scares Taylor Swift quite like Ellen.

Oh, the glorious frights Ellen has given T.Swift throughout the years, starting way back in 2010 with the bathroom incident.
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She also managed to get Selena Gomez twice in the same interview.

What’s that saying about “fool me once…?” Ellen’s also scared Gomez many more times since.
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She introduced the world to Sophia Grace and Rosie.

Scouting talented tykes is one of Ellen’s many fortes. When Sophia Grace and Rosie accept their first major award, they’d better remember to thank the person who let them perform “Super Bass” in 2011. Thanks to Ellen, the girls also met their idol Nicki Minaj, went to the AMAs and the Grammys, and even starred in their own feature film.
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Ellen rides recumbent bikes with Ryan Gosling in onesies.

Because isn’t that just the dream: Spending time with Ryan Gosling in footed pajamas?
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Gladys from Austin confesses.

Loyal Ellen viewers know that she has famous guests up the wazoo. Really, though, it’s all about recurring regular folk (who have become celebrities in the Ellen-verse) like Gladys. The travel-averse Austin resident and Ellen swap calls from time to time to see what’s going on in each other’s lives. Ellen knew it was the start of a beautiful relationship when Gladys told her, “I love Jesus, but I drink a little.”
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“Penis broken. Please use finger.”

Also known as: Ellen’s producer Andy can’t keep his shit together over what’s really just a directive to customers about how to operate a credit card machine at a store.
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Ellen reads Fifty Shades of Grey.

That’s all you need to know, really.
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Ellen tells the world about Kristen Bell’s sloth obsession.

Did you know Kristen Bell is obsessed with sloths? You probably do, and it’s because of Ellen. In 2012, the actress shared a video on Ellen of herself having an absolute conniption over the fact that then-boyfriend Dax Shepard arranged to have a sloth at her 31st birthday party. Ellen then gave Bell a mild panic attack when she joked that there was a sloth on set. When Bell came back to the show a year later, Ellen finally made good on her promise to bring out a real sloth. The two of them watched Lola the sloth slowly eat a banana for most of Bell’s visit to the show.
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She goes straight to the source for dance lessons.

Ellen has plenty of her own dance moves; however, in 2012, a very specific dance craze was sweeping across the globe. Even Britney Spears was obsessed with the move. In order to best master the invisible horse dance in Psy’s viral “Gangnam Style” video, Ellen had Psy himself on the show to teach her and Spears how to do the dance. We all got a lesson by proxy.
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Ellen dresses up as Sofia Vergara for Halloween.

Complete with a wardrobe malfunction mimicking Vergara’s at the 2012 Emmys, and a visit from the inspiration herself.
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She celebrated wife Portia de Rossi’s 40th birthday by reenacting her entire life.

With an Australian accent and a guest appearance from Sean Hayes as Ellen.
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She made sure to tip the guy who delivered pizza to the Oscars.

Ellen was a gracious host from beginning to end at the 2014 Oscars. She recognized that the ceremony is extremely long and tends to drag, and that most celebrities spent the entire day getting ready and probably hadn’t eaten in a while. So Ellen ordered a few pizzas to the theater, like any good host would when faced with peckish guests. Since she didn't get a chance to tip the delivery man during the Oscars, she invited him on her show to pay him back afterward. She also posted a time-lapse video of what happened behind the scenes during Oscar week, including her specific goal to take the most retweeted selfie of all time. Mission accomplished.
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When it comes to Justin Bieber, he and Ellen like to team up and scare other people.

There’s the bathroom prank from February 2015. They prank called fans that same month. Here's the security guard prank from March 2015. Biebs surprised superfans in November 2015. One day, Ellen and Bieber are going to give someone a heart attack if they're not careful.
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Never have I ever…

Ellen’s revealing games of “Never Have I Ever” are legendary. From the lads of One Direction to the bros of Entourage, she helps us learn more than we really want to know about celebs.