Happy 20th Coming-Out Anniversary! 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Ellen DeGeneres

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Ellen DeGeneres’ groundbreaking coming-out episode of Ellen, Us Weekly Video rounded up five things you may not know about the TV host. Watch the video above!

Before she was famous, the 59-year-old defined the term odd job, working as an oyster shucker, a house painter, a TGIFriday’s waitress and even a vacuum salesperson.

In 1986, a then 27-year-old DeGeneres became the first female comic to be invited on Johnny Carson’s couch. The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson host was so impressed with her stand-up routine, he offered her the rare opportunity for a one-on-one, something that only happened to a half-dozen first-time guests. DeGeneres said in a 2013 Makers interview that the amazing opportunity was all “part of the plan.”

That plan almost included a role on Friends. According to AOL, she almost played Phoebe on the NBC sitcom. Ultimatley, though, DeGeneres starred in her own groundbreaking 1994 hit Ellen and, as we all know, Lisa Kudrow took on the role of Phoebe. “Smelly Cat” would have sounded a little different with DeGeneres!

For more about DeGeneres — and her Kate Middleton royal connection — watch the video above. 

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