Liza Says Ellen’s “Transphobic” Joke Hurt Her Feelings, But She’s Flattered People Were On Her Side

liza-minnelliI got my feelings hurt a little bit, but not a lot. And I got over it really quickly. Ellen is terrific, she’s really sweet. I don’t think she would have necessarily gone out of her way to hurt my feelings — I mean, we know each other. I just think maybe she was advised badly…In a funny kind of way, you’re flattered when people are on your side so much. But Ellen is wonderful, and I’m so sorry that all of this caused [stress] for her. But I had a great time.”

Iconic entertainer Liza Minnelli demonstrating she has the right attitude about bad jokes in a new interview with Los Angeles Times

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  • Desert Boy

    Liza Minnelli=classy. Ellen=not so much.

  • mgmchicago

    A quick joke (ala Tina/Amy at the Globes vs. George Clooney) is expected and fine.
    The Liza joke simply went on far too long despite the obvious lack of audience enjoyment.
    Ellen seems to be a cool person. Yep, probably just bad advice from her writing team.
    (Which must have included some gay guys, wonder why they thought it was so funny? Haven’t they seen Cabaret?)

  • BigWoody

    I thought the joke was funny. I do not think it was meant to be trans-phobic. Liza was a favorite for drag queens to impersonate. Ellen’s joke was alluding to how good of an illusion “Sir” had accomplished. I do not equate drag queens with trans people.

  • MrEguy

    I realize we don’t get to say what other people should or shouldn’t find offensive. If Liza felt hurt, I understand that’s her reaction. However, I don’t believe the joke was intended to be malicious. Cher, by comparison, has actually been mistaken for a Cher impersonator a few times–and even talked about it on Late Night with David Letterman with great humor.

  • keepcalm

    It’s amazing how many people still don’t understand an obvious joke that wasn’t transphobic at all.

  • Aromaeus

    Intentionally misgendering someone is transphobic…that’s like basic.

  • Jeremie

    I have no issues with Ellen but if she was a straight male there would be no question of whether or not it was inappropriate.

  • inbama

    Oh, for Chrine out loud.
    The woman is a drag idol – this has nothing to do with trangenderism.
    Last time I checked DRAG QUEENS are GAY MEN!
    Our Lesbian, Gay, Bacon and Tomato movement is getting more idiotic and insane by the minute.


    She didn’t seem upset at the show. She even ran down to be in the ‘selfie.’ She didn’t get to push in, but you can see her in shots from the back. I think she got upset when she realized she could play it for 15 more minutes.

  • inbama

    She’s a celebrity, so of course and I don’t blame her for milking it for all it’s worth – that’s part of the job.
    What’s pathetic is seeing gay men betraying their gay culture – of which drag queens, Ellen and Minnelli are apart – to get on this crazy and boring “everything is transphobia” bandwagon.

  • nf0603

    when did suddenly saying someone looks like a drag queen become “Transphobic”? Lady Gaga, Ann Coulter, Wendy Williams to name a few have been accused of being men in drag for years, suddenly now it’s a slur? WTF. Considering Liza was the icon to many drag queens for many years, how was Ellen’s comment transphobic?

  • jckfmsincty

    The joke was just disrespectful. Gay icon, or not, no biological woman wants to be referred to as a drag queen.

  • Lazycrockett

    Okay then lets get rid of all the drag queens. Buh Bye Logo.

  • jantheman4903

    if it were not for adoring drag queens most people would have forgotten about her. with all of the reasons that kept her out of public eyes, her impersonators kept her relevant. this joke was simply an acnowledgement of that.

  • JimboinLA

    My problem with it is that Liza isn’t quite the pixie she used to be and does sort of look like a female impersonator of her younger self and the joke seemed to point that out and exploit that. Don’t kid yourselves, Ellen is a shark.

  • Lazycrockett

    @JimboinLA gawd you’re so ageist. Haterz.

  • Vince Smetana

    Liza nailed it.

    And I’m sure Ellen feels bad.

  • Geoff B

    For Pete’s sake, does anyone really think Ellen is transphobic? Maybe the joke was Ill advised, maybe it wasn’t, butdoes anyone truly see malice here? Bigotry sucks, I think we can all agree, but we certainly don’t need to create enemies when there are so many real ones, do we?

  • IvanPH

    Liza is such a whining crybaby. The joke is not offensive. On the contrary, she should be glad and flattered by the fact that a lot of gay men imitate and ‘want’ to be her. Jeez, Cher had been imitated and have been the butt of jokes of countless gay men yet she feels no resentment and even laughs about it. Grow up, Liza! We love Ellen!

  • Lookyloo

    Liza was/is a decades long staple for ‘female impersonator’ performers. That’s what the joke was referencing. There was a time when if you went to a show featuring drag, ‘Liza’ would be on the bill sure thing – in both big and small productions in both straight and gay skewed venues.
    I’d even bet that far more people have seen a male Liza impersonator live than have seen actual Liza live.

    Know/learn your showbiz history people. The joke had nothing to do with transgendered-ness and I fear the backlash claiming anti-trans stuff has confused Liza into thinking she should be offended.

  • Jake357

    For someone so terribly offended she sure is milking it for all it’s worth. I guess there really is no such thing as bad press.

  • gauty

    @Aromaeus: Like, totally. Go back to your Tumblr social justice blog and make some more badly photoshopped “Cis Scum” mockups until you’re not thirteen anymore lol

  • BitterOldQueen

    Is this still a thing? That joke was weeks ago, darlings. Now, the unfortunate fact that some humorless, quick-to-offense pearl-clutching transactivists are milking their deep and painful humiliation is hardly a reason to keep flogging this. Ellen, who is obviously not especially phobic of anyone, was clearly and obviously referencing Liza’s abiding popularity among drag impersonators, which is a fact. And my trans brothers and sisters know that very well, and really need to lighten up if they expect to be taken seriously and not dismissed as trying to rally the troops over crap like this, when there are real and serious issues to address. And if Liza didn’t get it, well, I’m not entirely sure Liza gets a lot of things, really.

  • sweetbrandigirl2004

    @jckfmsincty: would say if bio women of Liza age DON’T want to be call drag queens then they shouldn’t wear tons of make up because more isn’t better. They have forgotten the #1 rule of make up less is better. we’ve all seen those all women in our society who the older they get the more they layer on the make up and many of them look like drag queens….. Ellen was just calling a spade a spade.

  • vive

    Who said “transphobic”? Liza or the writer of this article trying to be polemical? I don’t see the word mentioned in the quote from Liza Minelli.

    In any case, the joke had nothing to do with trans people. It had to do with drag queens. Big difference.

  • Shannon1981

    I think people are barking up the wrong tree here. The joke was obviously a jab at all the drag queens who impersonate Liza. It wasn’t transphobic. Hell, Ellen Degeneres is the LAST person who is bigoted against anyone.

    If people want to call out bigots great. But stop harping on community members and allies. All you’re doing is alienating those who are already on your side.

  • Merv

    Honestly, the joke made me cringe. I understood what Ellen was trying to do, but it really sounded as if she was saying Liza looked like a man in drag. It was especially unfortunate because Liza’s outfit and hair were stunning that evening, and she deserved some positive recognition.

  • jar

    It was tacky of Ellen to poke fun at Liza in that manner when she had been invited because they were honoring her mother. Ellen, however, is likely grateful for all the attention because it distracts from the humorless disaster that she was as host of the show. Ellen is neither funny nor bright (the two usually go together).

  • vive

    @jar, strange how people’s tastes are different. I find Ellen quite hilarious, whereas a lot of American humor (like SNL) is completely unfunny to me.

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