“I would have gone on thinking that I was an alien and that I maybe didn’t even have a right to be here.”
Kate McKinnon delivered a passionate speech about her sexuality at this year’s Golden Globe Awards.
The Emmy-winning comedian presented the Carol Burnett Award to Ellen DeGeneres during Sunday night’s ceremony (5 January), which is given to someone who has “given us decades of laughter, tears and a new sense of what’s possible”.
Kate, who has been out as a lesbian for years, read a list of what Ellen has “personally given” to her as a gay woman.
“A road map for a way to be funny that is grounded in an expression of joy, two pairs of Stan Smith sneakers,” she said. “A desire to bring everyone together by laughing about the things we have in common, my best collared shirts, a sense of self.”
The star continued: “I have to explain that one more. 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.
“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.”
Kate praised Ellen for risking her “entire life” to live authentically and noted that her career suffered because of it.
“Of course, attitudes change, but only because brave people like Ellen jump into the fire to make them change,” she added. “And if I hadn’t seen her on TV, I would have thought, ‘I could never be on TV. They don’t let LGBT 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. So thank you Ellen, for giving me a shot. A shot at a good life, and thank you for the sweater with a picture of the baby goat on it.”
After Kate’s speech, a montage showed Ellen’s most legendary television moments.
Ellen then delivered her own heartfelt speech, saying all she’s ever wanted to do is “make people feel good and laugh, and there is no greater feeling than when someone tells me that I’ve made their day better with my show”.
“But the real power of television, for me, 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,” Ellen explained. “They make people laugh or be kind or help someone that’s less fortunate than themselves. And that is the power of television.”
Ellen continued to say that she’s “so, so grateful to be a part of it”.