Ellen DeGeneres and Sean Hayes exchanged barbs Wednesday, teasing one another about their respective legacies as two of the most prominent LGBTQ stars on mainstream television. Rest assured, however, that it was all in good fun.
During a conversation on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” that the host dubbed the “battle of the gays,” Hayes joked that the success of his Emmy-winning series, “Will & Grace,” surpassed that of “Ellen.” DeGeneres’ sitcom was canceled in 1998, shortly after her character came out as a lesbian.
DeGeneres, however, wasn’t fazed by Hayes’ cheeky jab, and pointed to the fact that her series is widely credited for having paved the way for “Will & Grace” and other queer-inclusive TV programming.
“That’s right, I had to come out first for you all to do that sitcom,” she replied, as seen in the clip above. “Go ahead!”
Of course, there’s no true rivalry between the two stars. Hayes later presented DeGeneres with what he said was a “beefeater hat,” as a belated birthday gift. (It’s actually called a busby hat.)
The host modeled her new headgear, prompting the audience to erupt with applause ― though she had lingering doubts about her ability to drive home while wearing it.
This article has been updated to add more details about the hat, which Hayes described inaccurately.