Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.
This Thanksgiving, many Americans will have somewhat awkward conversations with extended family members or friends. But take it from Dakota Johnson: There is a way to defuse any situation gracefully.
The actress appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show this week, where DeGeneres playfully accused Johnson of not inviting her to Johnson’s 30th birthday party. Note this was being filmed in front of an audience, and Johnson was able to turn a genuinely awkward conversation into a pretty endearing comedic bit where both women came out looking well-meaning.
DeGeneres started by wishing Johnson a happy belated birthday. “How was the party? I wasn’t invited,” DeGeneres quipped.
“Actually, no, that’s not the truth,” Johnson said politely with a smile. “Ellen, you were invited.” DeGeneres was about to say something but Johnson raised her finger. Still smiling though! Because you should never lose your cool. “No, last time I was on the show last year, you gave me a bunch of shit about not inviting you, but I didn’t even know you wanted to be invited.”
“Well, who wouldn’t want to be invited to a party?” DeGeneres replied.
“Well, I didn’t even know you liked me,” Johnson said with a laugh. That got a big gasp out of the audience and was a good pivot.
“Of course I like you. You knew I liked you.” Johnson said nothing. So DeGerenes continued. “You’ve been on the show many times and don’t I show like?”
“But I did invite you, and you didn’t come, so…” Johnson said, sticking to the real issue at hand.
“This time you invited me?” DeGeneres asked.
“Are you sure?” DeGeneres asked.
“How do you know—I don’t think so,” DeGeneres said incredulously. But Johnson stuck to her answer.
“Ask everybody,” Johnson replied. “Ask Jonathan, your producer.”
“I was invited?” DeGeneres asked Jonathan. “Why didn’t I go?”
“I don’t know,” Johnson told her.
Then DeGeneres was told she was out of town. “Oh yeah, I had that thing,” DeGeneres said, so Johnson was right, and her persistence paid off. “It [the party] was probably in Malibu. That’s too far for me to go to,” DeGeneres quipped.
“Yeah, it was,” Johnson confirmed with a nod.
“No, I think I do remember, I was invited,” DeGeneres said. “Thank you!”
“You’re welcome,” Johnson said with a smile and laugh.
Then the conversation turned to the comedian Johnson had perform at her party, Tig Notaro. That’s where DeGeneres got offended again when Johnson called Notaro her “favorite comedian.”
This time Johnson almost jokingly walked off the stage when, as a retort, DeGeneres said Jennifer Aniston was her favorite actress. (Use discretion before you try leaving the Thanksgiving table at home though.)
You can watch the entire thing below. It really is a master class on how to keep your cool around your pesky but well-meaning relatives.