WATCH: Kate McKinnon’s moving Golden Globes tribute to Ellen DeGeneres


kate mckinnon ellen degeneres golden globes carol burnett coming out lesbian gay
Photo: NBC

Actress Kate McKinnon has given a moving speech as she presented her idol Ellen DeGeneres with a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globe Awards.

McKinnon presented the comedian and longtime talk show star with the Carol Burnett Award for Achievement in Television, honouring “outstanding contributions on or off the screen.”

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In a moving speech, McKinnon opened up about watching Ellen’s coming out on TV at the same time as she was discovering her own sexuality.

“In 1997, when Ellen’s sitcom was at the height of its popularity, I was in my mother’s basement lifting weights in front of the mirror thinking, ‘Am I gay?’” she recalled.

“And I was. And I still am. But that’s a very scary thing to suddenly know about yourself.

“It’s sort of like doing 23andMe and discovering that you have alien DNA. And the only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV.”

McKinnon continued, fighting back tears, “She 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.

“And if I hadn’t seen her on TV, I would’ve thought, ‘I could never be on TV. They don’t let LGBTQ people on TV.’

“More than that, I would’ve gone on thinking 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.”

Ellen DeGeneres accepts award and thanks her ‘husband Mark’

Holding back tears, McKinnon then called DeGeneres up onstage to accept the award.

DeGeneres jokingly began her acceptance speech by thanking her “husband Mark and kids”. She went on to quip that she would keep her speech brief, before going on to tell the story of her birth.

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DeGeneres went on to pay tribute to the award’s namesake, veteran US entertainer Carol Burnett.

“All I’ve ever wanted to do is to make people feel good and to laugh,” Ellen said.

“There’s no greater feeling than when someone tells me that I’ve made their day better with my show or that I’ve helped them get through a hard time.”

DeGeneres said she was especially gratified by viewers who were then inspired to support people in their own lives.

“They make people laugh or be kind or help someone who is less fortunate than themselves,” she said.

“That is the power of television, and I’m so, so grateful to be a part of it.”

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