Kate McKinnon was tasked with giving a touching tribute to Carol Burnett Award winner Ellen DeGeneres at the 2020 Golden Globes.
The Saturday Night Live star made her speech both personal, funny, inspiring and touching, that it’ll be one speech to remember.
“Carol Burnett has given us decades of laughter, tears, and a new sense of what’s possible, so I would like to read a list of things that tonight’s recipient Ellen DeGeneres has personally given me,” she said.
McKinnon joked, “Some of these are spiritual and some of them are pieces of clothing I got to keep after doing impressions of her on her talk show.”
“A road map for a way to be funny that is grounded in an expression of joy. Two pairs of Stan Smith sneakers. (That’s one of the clothes ones.) A desire to bring everyone together by laughing about the things that we have in common. My best collared shirts. A sense of self.”
She added. casually mocking, “I have to explain that one more. 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 and thinking, Am I gay? And I was. And I still am.”
The speech was met with a loud applause.
“But that’s a very scary thing to suddenly know about yourself,” the star continued. “It’s sort of like doing 23 and Me 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.”
McKinnon concluded with, “And 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—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. And thank you also for the sweater with the pictures of a baby goat on it.”