Mar 6, 2014

You can't keep a good heart down.


She's been a waitress, a sales girl, a bartender and a house painter. Over time, this woman became a standup comedian and then got a part in a tv show. She played the lead role in a comedy sitcom that was earning rave reviews after four solid seasons when she came out as being gay. Though there was support for her from the industry, a year later her show was cancelled. With no great offers coming her way, she went back to doing what she did best... making people laugh as a stand up comedian. That's where the story would have ended.

But you see, here's something I learned over the years. You can't keep a good person down. They will have their falls but they will get up... and they will get up stronger. And if they still retain that smile on their face after everything they've faced, well, that's the power of being good kicking cynicism in the ass.

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Three years after the comedy show was cancelled, she returned on a new network with her own talk show. She hosted actors, singers and tv celebrities. But it was the episodes with everyday people where she listened to their troubled stories and helped them out instantly that won the world over once more. Within three seasons, her show had won a staggering 25 Emmy Awards.


Ellen Degeneres had arrived on the world stage once more. From being silently pushed off the Tv network, she's now gone on to host the Academy Awards successfully twice now (and crashed Twitter officially once with the 'Academy Selfie.').

The thing about Ellen's shows isn't just that she's funny... it's that she cares. And she's not afraid to do something about it. Like her fellow Aquarian and TV show host Oprah Winfrey, Ellen too does not shy away from going the extra mile to make people happy. Over the years, she has rebuilt houses for victims of hurricanes, paid college tuition fees for children whose mom was dying of cancer and bought cars for families in need.

She's a winner to me because she makes the effort to make people happy. Not to look good or get expensive clothes. She wears her trademark untucked shirt and pants for most occasions... well, not counting that time when she followed ex Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush to a university commencement podium dressed in a bathrobe and furry slippers! (Her excuse: 'They told me everybody would be wearing robes so I wore one too!')

She doesn't give money to just anybody. She finds people who most need it and then finds a way to help them out directly. The end goal is to make them believe in humanity once more.


Unlike our own national shows which focus on the ills within our country and then demand we introspect while doing nothing for the victims directly, Ellen does what she does best - she makes people laugh. She seeks out those who need aid from the letters sent to her and goes and ACTUALLY changes their lives, rather than showcasing it to the public and demanding the government do something for the victims.

She could have tried to remain a tv comedian in some sitcom. But she decided to be more. And she worked on that dream year after year till she finally attained it.
Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia De Rossi at the 2014
Oscars Governors Ball held after the Academy Awards
That's why she inspires me.
Because she knows what it's like to fall and get back on her feet again and she makes the extra effort to help others get another chance in life. All with that same gorgeous smile and witty banter still intact.


Author's note: This was written for Write Tribe's Festival of Words 3 for the prompt - Share a story that will inspire

In the past too, I've written about two other women ( one an Indian actress and the other an unwed teen mom ) both of whose stories I found profoundly inspiring. I could probably envision Malala Yousafzai too if you asked me. But I can't think of many men presently... that is worrying.

What worries me more?
What does it say about the state of the media we are exposed to when murderers and dullards, megalomaniacs and imbeciles, frauds and fake Gods are considered worthy to lead our country but a woman - a vegetarian who is in a decade long committed relationship IN HOLLYWOOD - who just wanted to make people laugh and be happy was shunned because of the victimless crime of love ?

For now, I leave you with just one of the many ELLEN videos you will find online. Whenever you're feeling sad, just go to Youtube and type 'Ellen inspiring'. Watch that smile reappear on your face  again.


92 comments:

  1. I was watching the Oscars the other night and was quite struck up with Ellen's personality, all the time wondering who she was and never having a clue to her remarkable history. Thanks for sharing such a great story!! Loved it.

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    1. Glad you liked it.. she's extremely down to earth and spontaneously witty.

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  2. I have watched a few episodes of her show. But start looking for more. Her story is truly inspiring. :)

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    1. She is really inspirational with the work she does...

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  3. Roshan, I love Ellen and used to watch her shows, and copy her signature dance steps. She has some comic timing and what a beautiful smile! Reading your article brought a smile on to my face, thanks for this post.

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    1. haha... oh boy. 'Signature dance steps' indeed :D Thats just a part of who she is...

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  4. Ellen is truly a inspiring personality !

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    1. She really is. That's why I wanted to showcase her for this :)

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  5. When I saw her hosting the Oscars the other day , I was quite charmed by her personality . Just got to know few things about her . So , thanks a lot for sharing her inspiring story with us :)

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    1. I've been watching her for nearly two decades now... when the whole sexuality issue came out, I remember thinking why it was such a big deal... she was the same person as before who was making everyone laugh. Yet she had to face a lot of weird crap ... she's come out of it wonderfully.

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  6. That was indeed an inspiring story - and you write about her in a very sweet way - loved reading it! May there be more "Ellens" in this world

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    1. Amen to that last line, Eli :)

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  7. I always loved her and felt that she had an inspiring charisma. Your write up and the facts you shared gave me goosebumps. :)

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    1. People like her and Alan Alda are very under-appreciated , I feel. They're wonderful human beings who look to make a difference with their popularity.

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  8. I love her smile.... it just touches the heart even from the screen.... truly inspiring... nd I loved the way you wrote... with so much flow and beauty. :)

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    1. She's just out to have fun and make a difference while she does it.. that simple thing is so inspiring.

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  9. I love Ellen and was aware of most that you shared. You did an incredible job of sharing and also drawing the comparison at the end of what SHOULD be shown on the news. Thank you for a great post

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    1. I'm very skeptical of the present news media... it's very much a "paid news" scenario in India and that's really scary. Lost in between all this are the good guys. I wonder if we dont have a bigger responsibility as bloggers to showcase good deeds of people we have read about and spread the word to others

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  10. I love Ellen. I watch her show whenever I can in the afternoons...
    She is a gutsy and inspiring lady.
    Thank you for writing about her!

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    1. I hardly ever get to see much of her these days thanks to lack of channels where I work.. have to make do with Youtube videos.

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  12. I came here via write tribe on FB to read the post and guess what! I spent a good one hour watching her videos on YT! I am not a TV person at all, but I will start watching her shows now, loved her story and I do think that she is an amazing person! And yes, I am a good one hour behind the work I slotted for the day!

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    1. haha... mission accomplished for me here then :)

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  13. There is always something remarkable in people who have made it big. You cant keep a good heart down.

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    1. It's the ones who've risen against the odds and chains of society that always inspire me

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  14. Ellen is an all time favourite of mine. She inspires where others talk. Very well written tribute, Roshan. Agree with every word.

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    1. Thanks Shailaja... I agree.. she does inspire where others just ramble on and on.

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  15. what an inspiring story. I had read about Oprah but did not know about Ellen. Thanks for writing about her Roshan.

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    1. Glad you liked the write up Vinita :D

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  16. They told me everybody would be wearing robes so I wore one too!'
    and she wore bath robe and furry slippers. so funny
    It's very difficult to make people laugh and Ellen is going a good job.

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    1. She isnt afraid to let herself look goofy... imagine coming for a University commencement speech like that ? :)

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  17. I love love love her! This was a fabulous post Roshan!

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  18. I just knew her name as a stand up comedian and nothing more.
    So glad you shared this story ... very inspiring. I should watch some of her shows.

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    1. Watch some short clips on Youtube... that alone will get you hooked.

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  19. I LOVE Ellen Degeneres! I think I first saw her when she hosted the Emmies in the early 2000s. She's amazing.
    I love that you chose her as your inspiring story, Roshan! Thank you :)

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    1. Haha... I'm glad people enjoyed it and more and more people here are getting to know of her too.

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  20. You told the story so well, Roshan. Yes, Ellen sure is an amazing woman - there's something very honest about that I love.

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    1. exactly. she is what she is.. doesnt try to make up a false persona. When you do stand up comedy, I think that becomes a part and parcel of it... you learn to take the punches and still smile.

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  21. Wow , truly inspiring... I dint know there was such a background to her , and yet she continues to lead with her shining smile

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    1. exactly.. she still makes it a point to focus on the good and keep people smiling

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    2. I was always a fan of Oprah for her never say die attitude... dint know that Ellen was subjected to discrimination based on her life choices ....now I feel a tremendous amount of respect for her.

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    3. she was slowly phased out of the entire circuit. It took her a few years to come back... that was only because she faced it all with a smile and won people's hearts one by one all over again..

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    4. P.S. Fun fact: If I'm not mistaken, she came out as gay on the Oprah show.

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  22. Roshan this is a fab post of a super fab woman...I mean who doesnt love her !

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    1. haha.. I wish the latter were true. But there were so many who resented "her choices in life" and probably still do. Don't know what to say about that...

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    2. That doesn't affect who she is and her personality as a TV presenter or host. The rest of the stuff about her is out of scope of this blog ;-)

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    3. haha. I still remember as a 15 year old wondering what the big deal was.. why the media was angry with her for coming out as gay. Why they slowly started the process of cancelling the show... luckily, her bright personality ensured she would return in an even better avatar...

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  23. I have watched a few episodes of her show. Her sense of humor and comic timing are amazing. Recently she had invited an 8 yr old Indian boy from a TV dance show (India has got talent)

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    1. I heard... some kid who danced Salman Khan's moves , I heard. I'm curious to know how that caught her eye!

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  24. I saw and read about Ellen only a few days ago coz of her hosting Oscars. What a remarkable woman and so very inspiring. Thank you for sharing her amazing story, Roshan :)

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    1. That's something that surprised me. Not many in India know about her which is weird. I've been watching her since nearly 18 years now. Anyway, glad to showcase her and make more people aware :)

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  25. Wow am hearing about her for the first time. Standing up after every fall requires great strength. May God help us all realise that we can do it too!

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    1. As I mentioned to Shilpa above, I'm surprised that not many knew of her...

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  26. Truly inspiring and motivational. I haven't yet watched the show.. but I guess I will look for those small videos now..

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    1. watch the small 4-6 minute videos... besides the inspirational ones, there are those with fav celebs like Jackie Chan, Obama etc etc

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  27. She is an amazing woman, isn't she? In some way, I prefer her to Oprah...dunno maybe because she's not so gushy and well, she's funny! :D Thanks for sharing! I didn't know a lot about her background story...

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    1. I like them both. Both have struggled through bad odds and made their way to where they are today... from being broke to this phase is no easy job.

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  28. Very well written. I think I can take Ellen in small doses but your write up of her makes her truly inspirational.

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    1. haha.. just watch a few Youtube videos.. let her work her charms :)

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  29. wooow! Now thts inspirational.. AM dfinetely going to look out for her more....

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    1. pls do so... it'll b a gift u give urself!

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  30. I found it truly inspirational....will definitely watch her videos...thanks for sharing this with us

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    1. glad u liked it. Enjoy the videos...

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  31. I found her truly inspiring. I saw the Oscars recently, but was not aware of her inspirational nature. Thanks for sharing Dr. Roshan.

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  32. Truly inspiring and worth emulating, her smile and attitude are ! Loved the way you've written it, and loved the pics too. Shall search for her inspiring videos soon. I wish the world had more Ellens ! :)

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    1. sigh.. unfortunately with a 1.2 billion population, the women we celebrate are heads of political parties and megalomaniac ministers! sad na when u think of it... none of the celebs feel the need to be this giving n caring here

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  33. Oh I lourveee this woman! And she is such a huge inspiration to many. Well I have of course read her story before as well but your post refreshed it all over again. And recently her record breaking selfie was super awesome as well :D

    Richa

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    1. haha.. I was watching it live and burst out laughing.. it was so spontaneous. And within the hour, she crashed Twitter !!

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  34. I have read about her earlier but just Richa said the story got refreshed :)

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    1. good to see that.. I was kind of surprised that many had not even heard of her.

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  35. She is so awesome!! I enjoyed your post about her and the video you shared. It brought tears to my eyes. Simply amazing! ♥ I hope she gets to see this lovely tribute to her.

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    1. While I really do wish she sees it, that's kind of hoping for too much, even for me as a fellow dreamer Aquarian :D

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  36. This is an excellent post. I love Ellen and her show.. She sure has a way with the people...I guess all Aquarians do ;) :P

    Anyway, you told the story so nicely. Brillinat work done by Ellen, she sure is a "hero".

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    1. haha.. Aquarian power :) She does know how to win people over

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  37. I love Ellwn....she's always been so inspiring!

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  38. All the good work done by the people are not considered at all for just a small mistake, it feels even more bad when it is not their mistake... but whatever it is, you can't keep a good heart down :) It is an inspirational story, well said by u as usual :)

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    1. I dont see this as a mistake or anything near that.. at any rate, I never felt it had any bearing on her talents. That's why I'm glad she didnt let it keep her down..

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  39. That was quite inspiring..I love Ellen

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  40. Roshan, Ellen is an inspiration to millions across the blog and such an amazing journey that propel us to think, "If she can, why can't we?" Thanks for writing bout' her:)

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    1. Exactly... a story worth remembering whenever we need inspiration..

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  41. Quite a topical essay your post is!

    I remember the time she brought Nicky Minaj on the show. The interview went from racy to hilarious to downright slutty. And yet, she managed to keep everyone's eyebrows from rising! A wonderful woman is Ellen! :-)

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    1. thanks man... yes, she blends in so easily with all sorts of celebs be it Nicki or Ashton or Jackie Chan :)

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  42. loved the post, and absolutely love Ellen.... she has an honest, grounded approach to approaching the topics she does. Ofcourse the ease with which she made stars look more human during Oscars was the icing on the cake.

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    1. Exactly.. She's not afraid to be herself. And the person she is is just adorable

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  43. This post has been selected for the Spicy Saturday Picks this week. Thank You for an amazing post! Cheers! Keep Blogging :)

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