Music on The Ellen DeGeneres Show is unique among talk shows. Most daytime shows go without music, theme songs notwithstanding. Intros and outros are accompanied by prerecorded material. Late night talk shows host a house band, like The CBS Orchestra or Late Night's The Roots, who welcome guests and provide back up for musical guests.
Ellen mixes it up by employing a house deejay. Ellen's deejay, presently Tony Okungbowa, works the turntable and kicks the show into gear every day after Ellen's monologue when she's "just gotta dance." The deejay also acts as Ellen's sidekick, engaging the talk show host in conversation.
Since the show's debut in 2003, four deejays have dropped beats on Ellen's stage. And most casual fans are surprised to learn that Okungbowa was not the show's first deejay.
Let's meet all four deejays and learn a bit about each:
DJ Scott K (2003)
DJ Scott K was the first deejay on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The Los Angeles-based deejay only lasted a few weeks on the show, before being replaced by Okungbowa. Today you can still find Scott K. playing in clubs across the country, primarily in L.A. and Chicago. He is one of DJ Magazines Top 100 deejays.
Tony Okungbowa (2003 - 2005, 2008 - present)
Tony Okungbowa, born Anthony Victory Okungbowa in Nigeria, is best known as Ellen's regular deejay, though he left in 2005 to pursue an acting career. He later returned during Ellen's sixth season to perform guest deejay services. In 2011, he returned to his tenure as full-time deejay and has remained a fixture on the program ever since.
Raised in London, Okungbowa graduated from Middlesex University with a drama degree and a desire to become an actor. He moved to New York City in 1992 to pursue that dream, studying the art at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. By the end of the decade, Okungbowa moved west to L.A.
Okungbowa picked up bit parts in TV shows like The X-Files and NYPD Blue.
He made a splash on the L.A. deejay scene when he turned his acting connections into business connections and started playing music on the photo shoot sets for photographer Andrew McPhearson. It was on one of these shoots, for TV Guide, that Okungbowa met Ellen. Before long, he was invited to join the program.
Okungbowa continues to pursue his filmmaking career, recently producing and acting in the independent film Restless City.
Jon Abrahams (2006 - 2007)
Abrahams deejayed for Ellen during the show's fourth season and was known as DJ Jonny. Though his stint on Ellen was short, the New York native has had an active acting career. He's probably best known for his role as Bobby in the original Scary Movie. Fans of Meet the Parents may know him best as Denny Byrnes.
Ted Stryker (2007 - 2008) A well known radio personality in the Los Angeles area, Ted Stryker deejayed for Ellen for one season. Known simply as Stryker to his radio fans, the afternoon KROQ deejay was also once the co-host of the popular Loveline radio program with Dr. Drew Pinsky.
Stryker was born and raised in Los Angeles. He attended the University of Arizona, where he first dived into radio. It wasn't long before he was working full-time at a local Tucson radio station. Success there led him back to L.A. and to the city's popular KROQ, where he served as the voice of afternoon drive time.
Outside of radio, Stryker has leant his voice to a video game, Burnout 3: Takedown. He's also hosted television specials and acted in feature films (though you probably haven't heard of them).
And, yes, the deejay gets his name from the protagonist from the smash hit 1970s film, Airplane!. His real name is Gary Ramon Sandorf.