Difficult Rules Ellen Audience Members Never Signed Up For

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The Ellen DeGeneres Show has become one of the most popular talk shows in America, and it’s not hard to see why. Due to its popularity, getting tickets to see the show has become very difficult due to high demand. However, just having a ticket isn’t enough as stories from the set have emerged that highlight what it truly means to be a member of the audience. These are some of the rules audience members need to abide by.

Photos Aren’t Allowed

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While you can take as many photos as you want before the show, while waiting to check-in, or while wandering through the gift shop, photos are not allowed to be taken once you set foot inside the soundstage. Should you be caught, a member of the team will approach you, confiscate your phone, and delete any images you may have captured.

No Autographs Available

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If you manage to get a ticket to the show, you might also be hoping to pick up Ellen’s autograph while you’ll be so close to her. However, there is some bad news for autograph hunters. Filming of the show sticks to a very tight schedule. As a result, there won’t be any time to get an autograph. Another reason for this is that if one person received an autograph, Ellen would need to give more than 300 autographs per show.

Forbidden Items

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Another thing that audience members need to be aware of is the list of banned items that may not be brought to the show. Items on this list include things like knitting needles, knives, scissors, or any kind of sharp object. While some of these might sound like strange things to bring with you, a simple way of making sure you don’t bring anything you’re not allowed to. If you’re unsure about an item, just think about whether it would be allowed on a plane. If not, you can’t bring it to the show either.

Dress To Impress

Michael Rozman / Warner Bros.

Audience members are expected to dress appropriately for the show. While this doesn’t mean you need to wear your Sunday best, it does mean you will have to put some effort into your outfit. While this might sound a bit harsh, it makes more sense if you remember that as a member of the audience you will probably appear on camera, no matter how briefly and they want everyone to look their best.

Logos Are Out

Michael Rozman / Warner Bros.

The dress code rules extend further, however. Apart from dressing appropriately, the audience members are also not allowed to wear anything sporting text or logos, not even for the show itself. That means no band or superhero shirts, no film or music-related shirts or similar. It is also advised to wear bright bold, solid colors and avoid patterns such as paisley as they can cause a visual ‘buzz’ on camera.

Go Before Or Hold It

Michael Rozman / Warner Bros.

Once the audience step onto the soundstage, they are no longer able to go to the bathroom. While you can go to the bathroom before and after the show, once you are on the sound stage you will need to hold it and wait for designated breaks. So make sure you go before it starts!

Mandatory Dancing

Michael Rozman / Warner Bros.

The Ellen DeGeneres show is somewhat synonymous with dancing, but there is a reason for that. That’s because whether it is Ellen herself, her guests, or her audience, dancing is compulsory. During breaks in the show, the audience are expected to stand and dance. The crew will even look for and choose the best dancer from the audience.

No Snacks

Warner Bros.

You might think of taking something to drink or to snack on during the filming, but you better think twice. Much like the bathroom breaks, you can eat and drink as much as you want during the show but once you are on the soundstage you are not allowed to eat or drink anything. Not only is this to prevent a mess, but also to prevent distractions. Nothing is as distracting as watching someone sit and eat while you’re trying to listen to the guests.

Unknown Guests

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The show is also known for the amazing and usually high-profile guests. While it’s quite possible that one of your favorite celebs might be appearing on the show, there is no way for you to know. That’s because tickets to the show only contain the date and time of filming. The reason the guests aren’t announced ahead of time is that there may be a problem or a guest that can’t attend and needs to be replaced at the last minute.

Compulsory Enthusiasm

Warner Bros.

A popular segment on the show is when Ellen plays quirky games with her audience. The contestants aren’t chosen at random, however. During the pre-show check-in process, the production team will choose potential contestants. This is based on their energy and enthusiasm. Chosen audience members are then sent for a final audition to determine if they will be chosen or not.



While audience members are allowed to bring gifts for Ellen, it doesn’t necessarily mean she will receive them. The reason for this is that all the gifts are collected before being sorted and screened after the show to determine whether or not they are suitable and safe for Ellen.

No Shouting Allowed


While audience members are whipped into a frenzy by the warm-up guy and asked to be as loud as possible when Ellen and her guests step onto the stage, there will be big trouble if they shout out after the introductions are complete. Yelling out from the crowd — even if just to compliment Ellen or her guests — is a huge no-no.

Prepare to be Searched


An unnamed insider described exactly what it’s like to be an audience member on the Ellen Degeneres Show in a report for Australian website news.com.au. One of the many secrets discussed was the security measures Ellen insists on having in place. The anonymous source revealed that anyone entering the studio has to pass through a metal detector before they are allowed inside.

Chilly Weather

YouTube/Inside Edition

With all the bright lights in the studio, you’d expect the temperature to be toasty, but you’d be wrong. Ellen insists on having the air conditioner blowing on full-blast throughout the show. In fact, audience members have been advised to dress for chilly weather to keep warm. But, as the audience is expected to constantly bust out their best moves, the cool air may come as some relief.

Arrive in a Big Car


Audience members have been advised to arrive at the studio in the biggest cars they can find. Why? Well, more legroom means more space for freebies! Those lucky fans who attended the Mother’s Day episode in 2017 were able to leave with a mountain of gifts – including high chairs, strollers, car seats, as well as an Amazon Echo each.

Own Accommodation


While some audience members are lucky enough to live within walking distance of the Warner Bros. set, others have traveled thousands of miles just to become a member of the audience in The Ellen DeGeneres Show. However, if you are willing to travel to the set, don’t expect any special advice or favors from the behind-the-scenes team. It’s best to find and organize your own accommodation.

Two Weeks’ Notice


While The Ellen DeGeneres Show tries to be inclusive and accessible to fans from all walks of life, fans with special requirements must contact the show’s organizers to let them know in advance. In fact, these guests will need to alert the show’s producers a full two weeks ahead of time so that arrangements can be made.

Under 14? You’re out of Luck


Unfortunately, if you’re under the age of 14, you are not allowed to be a member of the audience on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. And don’t even think about trying to sneak in — anyone who doesn’t look old enough to drink needs to bring along an official legal document stating their age in order to get into the studio.



People try hard to get tickets to the show. Many don’t just buy themselves tickets but also for their friends and family. While some of The Ellen DeGeneres Show fans are lucky enough to bag tickets for both themselves and up to two of their nearest and dearest and may even be allowed to enter the studio together, there will be no guarantee that the entire group will be able to be seated next to one another.



A writer for News.com reported on a day in the life of an audience member for Ellen. It was no surprise that dancing was an important part of the show and took up a big chunk of their time. In fact, the reporter revealed that fans are even encouraged to become choreographers during the show’s taping. Each row of fans was asked by the warm-up act to devise a unique dance move and to perform it in unison.

Front Row Seats Come With Responsibility

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Being Ellen DeGeneres’ number-one fan is reportedly not enough to bag you a prime spot in the audience. That’s because you apparently also need to be up to date with the current U.S. Hot 100. Those in the coveted “Dance Row” must pull double duty. Not only do they have to bust their best moves, but they also have to sing along to the hit that’s playing at the time Ellen makes her appearance.

Chewing Gum is Forbidden

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If you’re chewing gum, chances are you might not even get past the studio door. Chewing gum is completely frowned upon for The Ellen DeGeneres Show and is a big no-no. This may be because gum-chewing doesn’t appear particularly attractive on the screen. It could also restrict audience members from singing along to the pop hit that plays when Ellen steps onto the stage.


Jessica Rice Photography

Be prepared to spend a lot of time waiting around in line. On your ticket, it will tell you the time to arrive and check-in with the show. Keep in mind that the show usually books around 300 plus people a show. Once everyone checks in, they’ll make a few announcements before sending everyone in lines to the stage. It’s going to take a while, so be patient.

The Show Must Go On

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The show’s start time can vary throughout the week, so check the weather accordingly. Although Southern California tends to be full of endless sunshine, occasionally it rains; and you may be waiting outside without any covering, so dress accordingly. The audience coordination team will do their best to keep you comfortable, but they can’t control the weather.

Limit On Gifts

Warner Bros.

Ellen is infamous for the various giveaways on her show, but don’t take advantage of her generosity. Each audience member only gets one of each item, unless otherwise stated. Don’t try to take more, or Ellen will make fun of you on national television. Just ask the audience member Nancy about her experience.

Tickets are Difficult to Get

Jessica Rice Photography

Trying to get tickets for The Ellen DeGeneres Show is extremely difficult. Many people apply for years before they finally get the golden ticket. Others have yet to find success. All that we can say is keep trying. Ellen has at least three seasons left of her talk show, so there’s still plenty of time.

Always Overbooked

Michael Rozman / Warner Bros.

The audience coordination team always overbooks the audience. The reason is that if some people can’t make it, then there will still be plenty of people to fill the seats. The show never wants an empty seat on-camera. If people at home see an empty seat in the audience, they’ll write in to the show asking why they didn’t get tickets if there was still availability.

Q&A With the Audience


Every once in a blue moon, Ellen will have some extra time and do a question and answer segment with the audience. Sometimes, this airs on TV, and other times it happens off-camera. If this opportunity arises, take advantage of it. But please do not ask for hugs, selfies, autographs, or for tickets for “12 Days of Giveaways,” it’s rude and insensitive to other audience members.

Tickets are Never Available the Day of Taping

Instagram / @theellenshow

Contrary to popular belief, tickets are never available on the day of filming. There is a number that you can call on the Ellen Show’s website to try to get tickets on the day of the taping. Nowadays, the phone number is only for last resort purposes. The phone number was more helpful during the earlier seasons of the show when it wasn’t as popular.

Don’t Have Plans For After the Show

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The length of a taping of an episode of Ellen’s talk show varies. Typically, it runs like a well-oiled machine, as the show has been on the air for 17 seasons. However, there are occasional delays with the late arrival of a celebrity guest or technical errors while playing a game. With that being said, a taping is typically about an hour but can go much longer.

Standing During Filming is Not Allowed

Instagram / @theellenshow

During filming, you are to remain seated in the audience at all times. You are not allowed to get up during filming and walk around. It’s a safety hazard since the camera and crew members are moving with heavy, expensive equipment. If you have an emergency, you have to wait until a commercial break for someone to assist you.

Prepare For Scares

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Ellen loves surprising or even scaring her guests. So come prepared to a taping with the expectation that anything can happen. A lot of times, there is usually a surprise guest or a fun item that you get to take home. Luckily for audience members, Ellen sticks to scaring her celebrity guests, or her producer Andy.

No Audience On Stage During Rehearsals


Before the taping of an episode, rehearsals take place. Ellen rehearses her opening monologue, the production team runs through any games, and the musical guest rehearses their song. When all of this is going on, the audience is not allowed in the soundstage. If these rehearsals take a long time, then it means the audience is sitting outside longer, in the rain or shine.

Bags and Purses Under Seats

Warner Bros.

Any bags or purses that you bring must be able to fit underneath your seat. This is an extreme tripping hazard as there will be tons of dancing during commercial breaks. Also, don’t forget that some celebrities enter from the back of the house and walk down the aisle. The last thing you would want to happen is have your purse cause Brad Pitt to trip and fall down the stairs.

Limited Notice Of Running Early

Michael Rozman / Warner Bros.

Ellen loves running her show on schedule, though she also loves being ahead of schedule. Occasionally, filming moves to an earlier time slot with limited notice. So be cautious of the plans you have before attending the taping of the show to ensure that you have plenty of time to get there.

Shop is Only Open Before and After Taping

Michelle Lin / Daily Bruin

Everyone loves Ellen’s merchandise and wants to be able to have time to shop. Ellen’s Shop is in her soundstage in the space popularly known as “The Riff-Raff Room.” If you are a VIP guest, you will have time to shop before the taping of the show, which we recommend to avoid long lines. All other audience members will have to wait until after the show.