After two days of tweeting, Ellen DeGeneres’ crew made an appearance on the 1600 block of Walnut Street. The city closed off the block for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” crew to film a segment for Thursday’s episode of the out comedian's talk show. Jeannie Klisiewicz, the show's host of remote events, and Philadelphia Eagles football player Jon Dorenbos were also in attendance in Philadelphia
The segment included shots of thousands of fans cheering in the street with many holding signs and sporting costumes. Hours before her appearance, DeGeneres tweeted a request for the city.
“#Philly! Come dressed as a famous duo – Lucy & Ethel, Bey & Jay, or Rocky & Adrian. [My wife, Portia de Rossi] & I are dressed as us, so come as something else,” she tweeted.
Two gay fans, Sean Farrell and Jake Sheckler, were in attendance dressed in drag as Nicole Ritchie and Paris Hilton, respectively. Sheckler, 24, said he previously participated in two of DeGeneres’ competitions. In one Earth Day-themed show, he made a hula skirt out of water bottles and for the second one, he painted his body in Phillies attire.
“Her crew is great,” Sheckler said. “They are so welcoming, so friendly. They have such great energy. It’s a wonderful experience.”
Farrell, 29, noted the comedian's support for the LGBT community.
“I think Ellen stands for so much love and positivity and I think in the LGBT community now more than ever, that’s what we need,” Farrell said. “It feels good to come out and support that.”
Quessa Sendler, a 24-year-old transgender man, echoed Farrell’s statement.
“I like the fact that she’s very open,” Sendler said of DeGeneres. "She stands up for us. She’s not ashamed to say what we should stand up for — to be ourselves. She makes you feel better about yourself.”
Bry Wilson, a 21-year-old lesbian, said she attended with hopes of catching sight of DeGeneres in person but was still looking forward to what she had to say via satellite.
“I hope [she will speak about] our rights or what’s going on in the political world and what’s going on around us,” Wilson said prior to the taping.
Patrick Hagerty, 52, was representing the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus in the crowd with a sign stating “Hey Ellen!! Our LGBT Chorus is 35. Come see our show!! #PGMC.” Hagerty said he was hoping for DeGeneres to attend the chorus’ 35th-anniversary show this weekend.
While Hagerty may have been in a crowd shot for Thursday’s show, he noted a closer connection to DeGeneres during a previous chance encounter.
“She’s absolutely amazing,” Hagerty said. “I got to meet her about 15 years ago by accident in New York City. I was like, ‘Oh my God, you’re Ellen.’ She goes, ‘Oh hi!’ And we talked for about five or 10 minutes and she said, 'I got to run. I’m late for a meeting.’ She took off and I said, ‘Holy shit, I just talked to Ellen.’”
Several members in the crowd were chosen to participate in a relay race at the Capital One Café in which they had to hold a cup of coffee, spin their heads on a baseball bat, run through tires, walk on a balance beam and dump whatever was left in their cups into a container at the end of the track. The couples won prizes based on the amount of coffee in their buckets.
Katrina Arman and Victoria Sacchatti, dressed as Left Shark and a Narwhal, won a $10,000 grand prize. Meanwhile, Devan Allen and Hannah Donovan won a second-place prize of $5,000 while dressed as the “Black Eyed Peas,” sporting black eye makeup and T-shirts with the letter “P” on the front. Both teams declined to comment.
Scheckler did not get to participate in the competition but was inside the cafe interacting with the crew. He said his feelings about DeGeneres and her crew have not changed.
“I would do it over and over again,” Sheckler said.