As producer Craig Zadan tells the Hollywood Reporter:
“When Ellen said she wanted to do it, we said we’d hire an actor, but she said, ‘No, no, no. You’re not hiring an actor. I want a real pizza delivery person,’” Zadan revealed. “We said that the FBI would have to do a background check. She said, ‘I don’t care. I want it to be real. I want this guy to walk in and not know he’s going to the Academy Awards.’”
To set up the bit, an order for 20 pies, ostensibly for the show’s writers, was placed with Big Mama’s and Papa’s Pizzeria in Hollywood. To ensure the pizzas wouldn’t arrive cold, the show had warming ovens ready in the wings. Although the producers weren’t sure the celebrity crowd, dressed in its finest, would reach out for pizza, DeGeneres reassured them, “Trust me. When you sit there for four hours, you are so hungry. They are going to eat the pizza, I promise you.” And she was right.
Russian-born Edgar also appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show today. He ended up with a pretty hefty tip.