Comedienne ELLEN DeGENERES fought back the tears of pride on her daily US chat show this morning (30NOV05) as she celebrated the 25th anniversary of her first performance as a stand-up comic.

The funny lady invited pals Jay Leno and David Spade to join her as she celebrated her landmark, but it was a clip of her debut on The Tonight Show with beloved TV host Johnny Carson that had the comedienne choked up.

DeGeneres became the first comedienne to be invited to sit with Carson for a chat after her routine floored America 21 years ago.

A teary Ellen received a standing ovation from her studio audience after the clip and cut to commercials as she struggled to keep her composure.

After the break, DeGeneres reappeared wearing the shirt and trousers she wore on the Carson show and a wig to recreate her look from the programme.