Fans who trooped to The Ellen DeGeneres Show today to sit in the audience may have been pretty disappointed to find out that Ellen DeGeneres was home sick with the flu.
But at least they were treated to a very game guest host in Ellie Kemper.
The star of Bridesmaids and The Office filled in for Ellen at today's taping for Friday's show, the first time the 14-time People's Choice Award winner has ever employed a guest host. And while we'll have to wait till tomorrow to see how she handled scheduled guests Neil Patrick Harris and Hunter Hayes, the opening monologue seemed to go off without a hitch—minus the part where she looked into the wrong camera.
"I know what you're thinking: Ellen sure does look different in person," the substitute host began. "I'm Ellie Kemper. You know me from The Office, Bridesmaids…
"I love this job already!" she exclaimed after pausing for applause. "And you also know me from being adorable."
"I'm here because unfortunately Ellen is sick," Ellie explained. "She has that terrible flu bug that's going around. It's bad. It's really sad. We've tented her and she'll be better soon."
"I wanna start out by saying the obvious, which is that I have no idea what I'm doing," she apologized. "Am I allowed to drink? Ellen would want that. I'll do that backstage."
"When they called me this morning and asked me to host, I thought of course that Ellen was trying to prank me," Ellie said. "I actually thought it was Ellen's most elaborate scare ever. But it turns out it's working because I am scared right now. I don't know who's in charge of talk shows, but it seems like there should be understudies. You know how some towns have volunteer firemen? There should be volunteer talk show hosts. Or here's an idea...a volunteer fireman should host the show. Shirtless. Maybe Ellen will get sick again and we can do that then. I hope she doesn't though!"
In all seriousness, she continued, "Ellen, I hope you know we're all wishing you get better soon. But in the meantime, I hope she won't mind this little change."
Cue the sign changing from Ellen to Ellie.
"I am sorry, Ellen, but when you're sick this is my show. And I can do whatever I want," asserted the redhaired cutie. "And I'm gonna change it up. People don't like her show.
"I'm kidding, it's like the most popular show in America and now China," she quickly added. "This is nothing like The Ellen DeGeneres Show. This is now The Ellie Kemper Show. Snap! Triple snap! Thank you, guys!"
And you're not the only one excited to watch the rest of Ellie's hosting debut tomorrow.
"Tomorrow I get to do something I've always wanted to do—watch my show!" Ellen tweeted Thursday afternoon. "I'm sick with the flu, but Ellie Kemper's hosting for me—can't wait."
Get well soon, Ellen!