In presenting an award to Ellen
DeGeneres at this year's Golden Globes, Kate McKinnon opened up about
DeGeneres, 61, was honored with the
Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Carol Burnett Award at Sunday's
ceremony. The award is presented to “an honoree who has made
outstanding contributions to the television medium on or off the
Carol Burnett was the recipient of last
year's inaugural award.
In presenting DeGeneres with the award,
McKinnon thanked her for making television more accepting of LGBT
“In 1997, when Ellen’s sitcom was
in the height of its popularity, I was in my mother’s basement
lifting weights in front of the mirror and thinking, 'Am I gay?' And
I was, and I still am,” McKinnon, 36, said. “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.”
“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 have thought, 'I could never be on TV. They
don’t let L.G.B.T. people on TV.' And 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.”
“So thank you, Ellen, for giving me a
shot. A shot at a good life,” she added.
In accepting the award, DeGeneres
reflected on how Burnett had influenced her own life.
“I felt like I knew her. I felt like
she showed us who she was every week,” DeGeneres said.
“I always felt like she was speaking
to me. At the end of the show, every time she pulled her ear, I knew
she was saying, 'It's OK. I'm gay, too,'” she joked.