It turns out that Ellen DeGeneres is terrible and so it’s time for her to go. We’re all for that here at Paste, and really, for revolution and uprising in general. Let’s tear down the TV establishment and replace them all with new faces and voices—or at least people who have proven they can make great TV but haven’t had the opportunities or promotion that Ellen had. If DeGeneres really is taking a walk—and at this point it’s hard to see how she doesn’t—her show’s distributor, Warner Bros., will have a golden opportunity to shake up the pop culture firmament. Instead of replacing DeGeneres with another proven talk show host, or another famous sitcom star or mainstream stand-up comic, they need to consider other options that could expand the show’s reach and appeal to demographics beyond its core audience. Here are five options Paste would love to see take over for Ellen DeGeneres whenever she officially quits.
Nobody would be better suited to take over Ellen’s talk show than Ziwe Fumudoh. The comedian and Desus & Mero writer hosts the best talk show in the world right now on her Instagram TV channel, where she asks the hard questions about race and racism that daytime TV watchers need to hear. Fumudoh’s cheerfully confrontational livestream is probably the only good thing to come out of the pandemic, and she deserves to be rewarded for it whenever society returns to normal. Yes, that reward should be a nationally syndicated afternoon talk show formerly hosted by one of the ‘90s’ most blandly likable stand-up comedians, but that now asks its guests how many black friends they have and if they know who Marcus Garvey is. Fumudoh is ready for the big time, and TV better take notice.
Comedy fans, Adult Swim viewers, and extremely online people have known about Eric Andre for years, but to the kinds of people who watch local TV stations at three in the afternoon, he’s still a beautiful mystery waiting to be discovered. And what better place to discover him than through Ellen’s old show? Andre already burned down the very concept of the talk show on his Adult Swim program; it’s only right that he gets to impose his violently absurd and anarchic vision upon the cream of the talk show crop. If anything, the inevitable episode where he just destroys his set for the entire hour would be a surefire Emmy-winner. Eric Andre as Ellen’s replacement could be what heals this fundamentally divided, virus-stricken country.
Warner Bros. would have to make some concessions if the host of the only talk show in the river were to take over her show. First off, they’d need to provide a river—or at least a bike and some Joker makeup. Conner O’Malley does a bang-up job of highlighting America’s brain-dead reliance on toxic masculinity, not just in his own YouTube videos but in basically every thing he’s ever been in (see his roles in Joe Pera Talks With You and the movie Palm Springs, as well as the “Honk if You’re Horny” sketch in I Think You Should Leave), and it’s a message that should be pumped into every home in America at like three in the afternoon or whenever. If America’s children could come home from the COVID infection camps that the government has turned their schools into and watch O’Malley scream monosyllabically about Dwight from The Office shitting his pants while Jack Ryan CIA guy laughs at him, our future would be in much better shape.
If the TV people need to keep some semblance of continuity between Ellen’s Ellen and whatever comes after, they should call up Tig Notaro. Like DeGeneres, Notaro is a stand-up comedian whose charm is based in part on her anxiety and awkwardness. Unlike DeGeneres, Notaro isn’t a pandering multimillionaire whose awkwardness is the sum total of her comedic persona. Notaro’s greatest comedic skill is her surgically sharp deadpan remove, from which she can effortlessly point out when, where and how things have gone wrong. Notaro’s already hosted one great talk show, and her utter indifference towards celebrity, pop culture and the entertainment business would be a great antidote to the typical glad-handing nonsense seen on TV.
Okay, no, I’m just fucking with you.
DJ Young Fly, Karlous Miller and Chico Bean of The 85 South Show
Okay, this would probably be a professional step down for the dudes of The 85 South Show at this point. They’re already reaching an audience of millions entirely on their own, with no TV stations or distributors to worry about. The Wild ‘N Out cast members host perhaps the biggest comedy show in the country that White America is entirely ignorant of. Hell, if Paste wasn’t based in Atlanta we maybe wouldn’t know about The 85 South Show, either. Miller, Fly and Bean would finally make Ellen’s show relevant to a huge part of the population that had no reason to ever care about it, while also exposing Ellen’s audience to opinions and perspectives they need to know about. America absolutely needs to see Goodie Mob legend Big Gipp talk about reparations from the comfort of their own living room, for instance. For the good of the nation, Ellen’s time slot must be given over to The 85 South Show.
Senior editor Garrett Martin writes about videogames, comedy, music, travel, theme parks, wrestling, and anything else that gets in his way. He’s on Twitter @grmartin.