What is it like to be a virtual audience member on Ellen?


Courtesy of Ellen DeGeneres Facebook

Debbie Phillips, Entertainment Editor

In the age of COVID, many audiences have been reduced or eliminated to meet physical distancing and safety protocols. Ellen DeGeneres has found a way for her audience to still be in the studio and participating in her games! She reduced the number of people physically allowed in the studio, inviting audience members to join via webcams and has TV’s in the audience section in lieu of a live audience.

But how do you become a virtual audience member? Kylie Lauridsen, an audience member on Ellen’s October 27th episode, shared her process on how she became a virtual spectator. Lauridsen recalls signing up on Ellen’s website to be an audience member a month before the episode after hearing about it in one of Ellen’s first episodes of season 18 after Ellen was allowed access to begin filming in her Burbank studio. Lauridsen had to fill out a series of questions and even include a picture of herself in the application. On October 6th Lauridsen was contacted by the shows audience producer that she would be filming on October 21st.  

On the day of filming, virtual audience members were asked to join the webcam call half an hour early to go over the layout and the show’s itinerary with the audience producer. In her episode, Lauridsen said there was not much interaction between DeGeneres and the audience. However, she noticed her sister, who was in the episode, used two screens in the audience to fill the void of a missing person. 

On DeGeneres’ November 5th show, there was a lot more engagement between the host and audience which Daniella D’ Amici, an audience member, experienced. In the show, DeGeneres played a game called Survey Says What? where she asked audience members to raise their hands if they had ever done a certain action. D’ Amici unaware that her screen was in the front row during the taping raised her hand during a slightly inappropriate question to signify she had done it, at that moment the camera also panned over to where her screen was positioned exposing her to the world. D’ Amici, her family, and boyfriend sure had a laugh when the episode aired.