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Kate McKinnon Thanks Ellen DeGeneres for Making It 'Less Scary' to Be Gay in Emotional Golden Globes Tribute

The SNL star brought down the house in a touching speech

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Keisha Hatchett

Kate McKinnon, one of the funniest women to ever grace the Saturday Night Live stage, left everyone misty-eyed during the 77th Annual Golden Globes with a touching tribute to Ellen DeGeneres, who received this year's honorary Carol Burnett Award for her extensive work in comedy. In a heartfelt homage to the comedic legend, McKinnon revealed that DeGeneres' coming out helped during her teenage years as she realized her own sexuality.

"I have to explain that in 1997 when the Ellen 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?' I was, and I still am," McKinnon said.

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"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.The only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen [DeGeneres] on TV. She risked her entire life and her entire career in order to tell the truth, and she suffered greatly for it... Attitudes change 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."

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DeGeneres gave the comedian a teary-eyed round of applause before taking the stage to accept the award, where she thanked McKinnon for her speech.

"The real power of television for me is ... that people watch my show and then they're inspired to go out and do the same thing in their own lives," DeGeneres said.

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Kate McKinnon, 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards

NBC