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Kate McKinnon thanks Ellen DeGeneres in Golden Globes tribute

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Golden Globes 2020 - Ellen DeGeneres Kate McKinnon

Kate McKinnon thanks Ellen DeGeneres in Golden Globes tribute

On the night that talk show host and LGBTQ icon Ellen DeGeneres was given the honorary Carol Burnett Award during the Golden Globe Awards last Sunday, Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon put into words why DeGeneres was special.

In her speech at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards, McKinnon thanked DeGeneres for her courage to come out both on TV and in real life in 1997.

DeGeneres was visibly touched by the tribute when she received the award for her “outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen.”

Kate McKinnon’s speech at the Golden Globes

McKinnon, in her introduction before giving the honorary award, shared how DeGeneres’ groundbreaking decision to come out in the ’90s had inspired her.

She pointed out that DeGeneres’ character on the TV show Ellen became the first gay lead character on TV. At the same time, DeGeneres came out on the cover of Time magazine.

McKinnon said DeGeneres “risked her entire life and her entire career in order to tell the truth and she suffered greatly for it,”

“Of course, attitudes change, but only because brave people like Ellen jump into the fire to make them change. If I hadn’t seen her on TV, I would have thought, I could never be on TV. They don’t let LGBTQ people on TV,” she added.

“More than that, I would have gone on thinking that I was an alien and that I maybe didn’t even have a right to be here. Thank you, Ellen, for giving me a shot at a good life,” she declared.

Honoring Ellen DeGeneres at the Golden Globes

As McKinnon stated in her speech, the Carol Burnett Award is “given to someone who, like its namesake, Carol Burnett, has given us decades of laughter, tears and a new sense of what’s possible.”

DeGeneres is the second recipient of the award. McKinnon joked that DeGeneres had given her personally two pairs of Stan Smith sneakers, her “best collared shirts,” and a sweater featuring a baby goat.

Moreover, she said DeGeneres had given her “a roadmap for a way to be funny that is grounded in an expression of joy” and “a desire to bring everyone together by laughing about the things that we have in common.”

In response, when DeGeneres came up the stage to accept her award, she thanked McKinnon for her speech.

“Thank you for flying here, thank you for writing something, thank you for the amazing the words that you said. Thank you so much, I love you. I love you,” she said.

Ellen DeGeneres’ response to the Carol Burnett award

DeGeneres said Burnett was also an inspiration: “I feel like we all think we know someone, there’s a connection when we watch someone on TV for as long as we are on TV, and that’s what it was like for me with Carol Burnett.”

“I felt like I knew her, I felt like she showed us who she was every week, she was larger than life. We counted on her to make us feel good, and she delivered, every single week,” she said.

“And I always felt like she was speaking to me when, at the end of the show, every time she pulled her ear, I knew she was saying, ‘It’s okay, I’m gay too’,” DeGeneres added.

She further declared that the real power of television “is not that people watch my show, but people watch my show and then they’re inspired to go out and do the same thing in their own lives.”

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