"All I've ever wanted to do is to make people feel good and to laugh," DeGeneres said


Ellen DeGeneres just received a huge honor.

During Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, the daytime talk show host, 61, accepted the Carol Burnett Award after an emotional presentation from comedian Kate McKinnon.

The Bombshell star — who formed a special bond with DeGeneres after hilariously mimicking the talk show host on Saturday Night Live — honored DeGeneres with a list of all the things the comedian “has personally given [her],” some being “spiritual” and others being “pieces of clothing [she] got to keep.”

McKinnon, 36, also added that DeGeneres impacted her own sexual identity growing up.

“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 thinking, ‘Am I gay?’ And I was. And I still am. But that’s a very scary thing to suddenly know about yourself,” she laughed.

“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’ve thought, ‘I could never be on TV.'”

Ellen Degeneres Golden Globes
Ellen DeGeneres accepting the Carol Burnett Award at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards.
| Credit: NBC

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Holding back tears, McKinnon called DeGeneres up to accept the coveted award.

In her acceptance speech, DeGeneres jokingly thanked her “husband Mark and kids” and quipped that she would not drag on her speech, before going on to tell the story of the day she was born.

Jokes aside, DeGeneres thanked Carol Burnett for inspiring her to become the entertainer she is today.

“I feel like we all think we know someone when we watch someone on TV for as long as we’re on TV. That’s what it was like for me with Carol Burnett. I feel like I knew her. She showed us who she was every week. She was larger than life. We counted on her to make us feel good, and she delivered, every single week. She never let us down,” the comedian said.

“She was hilarious in all the sketches that she did, and when she did the Q and A with the audience, she was genuine and personal and I always felt like she was speaking to me,” DeGeneres added.

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The talk show host went on to share how grateful she is to inspire those who watch her show.

“All I’ve ever wanted to do is to make people feel good and to laugh, and there’s no greater feeling than when someone tells me that I’ve made their day better with my show or that I’ve helped them get through a sickness or a hard time in their lives. 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 do the same thing in their own lives,” she said.

“They make people laugh or be kind or help someone who is less fortunate than themselves. And that is the power of television, and I’m so, so grateful to be a part of it,” DeGeneres ended her speech.

After accepting the award, DeGeneres was asked in the press room whom she looks up to and her answer was the very person who presented the award to her.

“Kate McKinnon,” DeGeneres said. “I mean, I look up to not just people that are older than me, but people that are starting out now and paving the way I think Kate McKinnon is brilliant. And I think she’s strong, and I think she’s brave so I look up to her. I look up to so many people. These are the questions that I should anticipate, I didn’t think about that one. Can I get back to you?”

DeGeneres also talked about how she has coped with success and loving herself — before jokingly giving her “husband Mark” another shout-out.

“I think that I’m really happy for every single thing that happened in my life,” she said. “I’m happy for the people that didn’t support me I’m happy for the times that were the hardest times of my life because I feel like that’s what makes you, you know. If everything is easy, you don’t really have anything to compare it to.”

“So, I’m really grateful for all the hard times, all the things that didn’t work out the way I wanted them to work out and I feel bad for people that have everything working all the time, because that’s just not life. Life doesn’t work that way so I’m just grateful for my journey, and of course my husband Mark.”

Ellen Degeneres and Carol Burnett
Credit: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic; Steve Granitz/WireImage

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) announced in November that DeGeneres would be receiving the accolade, which celebrates the highest level of achievement in television.

“The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is delighted to honor Ellen DeGeneres with the Carol Burnett Award,” HFPA President Lorenzo Soria said in a statement of The Ellen DeGeneres Show host. “From her sitcoms, to stand-up, to becoming a household staple on daytime television, she is a pioneer who has captivated audiences for nearly 25 years with her undeniable charm and wit.”

“In addition to her television success, she’s an advocate and philanthropist, lending her voice to those who don’t have one, and spreading kindness and joy through the power of her platform,” Soria added. “We look forward to celebrating her achievements at this year’s ceremony.”

Ellen Degeneres
Ellen DeGeneres

Named after Burnett, the award, which is presented annually to an honoree who has made outstanding contributions to the television medium on or off screen, was first awarded to The Carol Burnett Show star at the 2019 Golden Globes. DeGeneres is the second entertainer to be honored with the accolade.

And the star’s generosity is stuff of legend. Last month, she joined forced with celebs like former First Lady Michelle Obama, Justin Timberlake, Robert Downey Jr., Melissa McCarthy, Chrissy Teigen and Jennifer Aniston to give families a Christmas they would never forget, as part of her Ellen’s Greatest Night of Giveaways.

According to CNN, Aniston, 50, and DeGeneres gifted one family with a trip to Europe for a month, in honor of their late mom’s travel bucket list. The family also received $150,000 in Visa gift cards and had their home secretly decked out with Christmas trees, lights, gifts and more.

The 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony is airing live on NBC from the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 5.