The comedian, 62, delivered an emotional monologue Tuesday following the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash Sunday. DeGeneres explained that her show is pre-taped and that she was speaking the Monday after the crash, even though the episode was airing on Tuesday. Almost immediately, the star started to cry as she recalled hearing about the news on the day of both the Grammy Awards and her birthday.
“Today is Monday. Yesterday was Sunday and it happened to be my birthday and the Grammy Awards. I was nominated. I didn’t win. Not the point,” she joked through tears. “Yesterday was a celebratory day and we got tragic news about Kobe Bryant and everything changed in a second.”
The star went on to encourage her audience to learn from the sudden tragedy and talk to their loved ones while they still can.
“That’s what I want to talk about: Life is short and it’s fragile. And we don’t know how many birthdays we have,” she continued. “We don’t have to have a birthday to celebrate. Just celebrate life.”
“If you haven’t told someone you love them, do it now. Tell people you love them. Call your friends. Text your friends. Hug them. Kiss them,” she said. “Be nice to the people at the DMV, they’re people. Be nice to them.”
Ellen, 62, concluded her emotional monologue with a joke about gratitude.
“I know that I’m lucky to have a wife who loves me so much, even though I don’t have a Grammy,” she said. “I get to come to work every single day with people who make me laugh. I love everybody I work with.”
Bryant, 41, was on a helicopter flying over Calabasas, Calif. with his daughter when it crashed, killing them and seven others on Sunday. Since then, the former NBA star’s fans have been rallying to mourn and pay tribute to him and his daughter.
The 2020 Grammys, which DeGeneres attended, opened with a touching tribute to Bryant.