"Aw man, this one time...."
Contrasting with the gloom outlook of the zombified South and comments from fellow survivor Nick, Ellis plays mostly as the game's comic relief. Along with his attitude and thick Southern dialect, Ellis occasionally lightens the mood with humorous stories about his misadventures with friends before the outbreak until he is interrupted by an irritated survivor.
A recurring character in these stories is a friend named Keith who has a tendency to get himself hurt in a variety of humorous, blue-collar ways such as trying to deep-fry a turkey, getting run over by a riding mower, and being assaulted by a Klansman.
Keith is never seen in-game, and it is not certain if he had survived the epidemic.
- (When he finds a weapon) "Hey, some guns here! Who ain't right in the head now?"
- (When shot) "Man, why you shooting me? Shoot zombies, not me!"
- (When healing a teammate) "Here ya go, had no use of this anyhow I don't get shot."
- (When finding an axe) "Looks who's got an axe..."
- (When finding an axe) "Heh, always wanted to be an axe murderer."
- Ellis is voiced by Eric Ladin and his face is modelled off of model Jesy McKinney.
- Ellis worships stock-car racing legend, Jimmy Gibbs Jr., claiming that he "would take a bullet" for him and would "bear the man's children" if he could. An optional encounter in the game has the group confronted by the reanimated corpse of Jimmy Gibbs, and Ellis is inconsolably distraught upon discovering his hero has become a zombie.
- Ellis is a fan of rock music. His favorite known band is the Midnight Riders, a Southern rock supergroup. Some dialogue also hint that he may be a fan of horror-punk group, the Misfits. Additionally, before the outbreak, he played bass guitar for a friend's band.
- Like Francis from the last game, Ellis claims that he is indestructible.
- Ellis' hat and shirt is available from the Valve Store, the latter also available as an Xbox LiveAvatar Award.
- His hat also appeared as a bonus item in Team Fortress 2 for those who ordered Left4Dead2 before or during the sale to commemorate the release of The Sacrifice/the Mac port. It is wearable by all classes, but the second item, The Frying Pan, is only usable by Demoman and Soldier.
- Ellis loves horses and gets angry at Nick for apparently eating horse meat.
- In a poll conducted by Valve, Xbox 360 players named Ellis as their favorite survivor from the game. He tied with Nick for the PC players.
- Ellis has "always wanted to be an axe murderer".