Like every other television show with a live audience, The Ellen Show was pulled off the air in March as Ellen DeGeneres and her staff figured out how to proceed with new episodes while under the COVID-19 lockdown.
Thankfully, it only took a few short weeks for the team to put together an at-home production crew that allows the daytime host to shoot new episodes from her living room.
Ellen has now been hosting virtual at-home episodes of her syndicated show, replete with her signature playful segments and remote guest interviews.
Through all the recent changes, one aspect of Ellen’s show has remained the same, and that’s the presence of “Average” Andy Lassner.
But viewers were quick to notice that Andy has never set foot inside the house. Plus, while Ellen occasionally talks to him on the show, she never even looks in his direction while speaking.
So, why is Andy outside on Ellen? Plus, what is happening on The Ellen Show? Stay with us!
Why is “Average” Andy outside Ellen’s house?
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, most shows in Hollywood have shut down production until further notice. However, many talk shows, including The Ellen Show, have figured out a way for the hosts to still record from their homes.
Ellen's requires the social distancing of her crew and staff, which is why, while the most famous lesbian you know is chilling in the comfort of her living room, executive producer "Average" Andy has been relegated to just outside the floor-to-ceiling, tinted windows.
Some fans have found the circumstances hilarious, asking Ellen to “Send Andy to my house to clean my windows.” But others think Ellen should take her own advice to “be kind” and “give Andy a comfortable chair to sit in outside. Also something to drink.”
But it appears to be all in good fun. As a core member of senior producers on the show, Andy is probably being well compensated for his time. And as long as the crew maintains social distancing, what’s the harm in a fun bit about how Andy can wash Ellen’s windows but not see into or enter her house? Well...
Other members of 'The Ellen Show' crew range from upset to "furious".
Unfortunately, not everyone on The Ellen Show has fared as fortunately as Andy Lassner. Crew members from the show, who operate separately from the writers and producers, were "furious" to recently find out that they would be receiving a 60 percent reduction in pay and be left out of work, despite the fact that the show continues to air.
To add insult to injury, The Ellen Show hired an outside, non-union tech company to tape from Ellen’s house, a fact that her regular crew only found out through social media posts from other colleagues.
Additionally, when Ellen returned to the air she told her viewers that she felt it was important for her to return to work because of her “staff and crew."
"I love them, I miss them, the best thing I can do to support them is to keep the show on the air,” she said on her show.
However, the lack of personal outreach to crew members who’ve been with the show since its inception in 2003, along with a complete lack of transparency in communication and payments seem to tell another story.
In comparison, Jimmy Kimmel from Jimmy Kimmel Live! paid stagehands out of his own pockets and his show has been paying full rates since returning to air. Showtime’s Desus and Mero, which has been on the air just over a year, has also maintained transparency in communicating with their staff and is paying full rates.
While there are certainly different pay structures and economics that come into play for a daily talk show like Ellen’s, she is one of the highest paid stars on television with an annual income of almost $50 million and a reported net worth of $330 million.