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Jennifer Aniston, Justin Timberlake surprise Ellen DeGeneres on her 2,000th show

The A-listers helped the host celebrate the 2,000th episode of "Ellen," which premiered Sept. 8, 2003.
/ Source: TODAY

Ellen DeGeneres usually is the one doing the surprising (just ask TODAY's Matt Lauer), but her talk show staff still shocked her with two A-list guest stars to help celebrate the 2,000th episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Aniston — who appeared as a guest on the show's first episode — helped DeGeneres mark the milestone in a clip that aired Thursday.

"Do you know how hard that is, to surprise this person?" Aniston asked the studio audience, who'd erupted when she emerged as DeGeneres' first secret guest.

The "Friends" star came bearing gifts, including a familiar one to fans who'd been watching the talk show from the beginning. She carried a welcome mat seemingly identical to the one she gifted the host on the talk show's very first episode, which aired Sept. 8, 2003.

And if pop superstars can be considered gifts — and let's face it, they should be — Aniston also helped "bring sexy back" to DeGeneres' stage in the form of Timberlake, who'd appeared on the talk show's second episode.

"I thought for sure you knew, or that [you'd] find out," the Grammy Award-winning singer claimed.

DeGeneres insisted she was shocked, adding, "You're two of my favorite people."

Quipped Timberlake, "Yeah, but, like, if you had to pick one…."

Chimed Aniston, "It's such a no-brainer."

Ever the diplomat, DeGeneres said it would be "the both of you together, as one unit."

Timberlake embraced the similarities, joking, "We're both fun-loving women."

The singer teased one more surprise: Her studio stage was officially dedicated in her name, an honor that happened for just the fourth time in Warner Bros. history, according to TV executive Peter Roth.

"[It] will forever more be known as The Ellen Stage," Roth told DeGeneres, who grinned as various plaques were unveiled to another rousing audience ovation.

The episode also featured an eight-minute montage of hilarious and sweet moments from the talk show's 12-year run (and counting). Check out some of the all-time highlights below.

Follow writer Chris Serico on Twitter.