One of Ellen DeGeneres’ biggest breaks in Hollywood? When she made it to the couch — Johnny Carson’s couch, that is, in 1986.
After performing that famous “phone call to God” bit on “The Tonight Show,” the legendary late-night host called her over to sit down. She was the first woman to earn that invitation.
“That had a huge impact on my career,” she said. “It was something that meant a lot to me. It was something that I wanted to accomplish, and it happened.”
Comedy remains DeGeneres’ bread and butter, and she’s tapped into the platform to educate her fans about the political and social issues she cares about most.
In the midst of a polarizing political climate, DeGeneres has been a central force in championing the women who are coming together to protect their rights and stand up for equality. “We should encourage women to claim their power,” she said. “Too many women are scared to speak out, because we are taught in sometimes subtle and sometimes very obvious ways in society that we are supposed to be quiet and polite, and we are supposed to be nice and sweet. All those qualities are great, but we should also be powerful.”
DeGeneres continued: “Our voices should be heard, and we should be able to speak out. Women should be paid the same amount for the same job. Women should lean in.”