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Kate McKinnon Chokes Up Thanking Ellen for Coming Out at Golden Globes

Kate McKinnon and Ellen DeGeneres

The Saturday Night Live star introduced Ellen DeGeneres, who received the honorary Carol Burnett Award. 

Audiences don't often see Saturday Night Live's MVP Kate McKinnon out of character. But she delivered a beautiful speech at the Golden Globe Awards in which she thanked Ellen DeGeneres for her courage to come out on TV and in life in 1997 and for paving the way for other LGBTQ people. A visibly moved DeGeneres was there to receive the honorary Carol Burnett Award for "outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen."

McKinnon began her intro to DeGeneres's honorary award with a series of jokes before she shared about how the talk show host helped shape her life and career when her character Ellen Morgan on Ellen became the first gay lead character on TV at the same time DeGeneres came out on the cover of Time magazine.

"At the height of its popularity [DeGeneres's sitcom] I was lifting weights in front of the mirror in my mother's basement, thinking, Am I gay? And I was. And I still am," McKinnon said as the camera panned to DeGeneres laughing.

"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 risky 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," McKinnon continued. "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."

"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," McKinnon said nearing tears. "Thank you, Ellen, for giving me a shot at a good life."

When DeGeneres took the stage, she thanked and praised her friend McKinnon and said that she loved her.

Watch McKinnon's speech below.

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Tracy E. Gilchrist