Comedian-host Ellen DeGeneres says all she ever wanted to do was make people feel good and laugh, and she is glad that she could do it through television. DeGeneres opened up about the power of television while accepting the Carol Burnett Award at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards here on Sunday.
"All I ever wanted to do was make people feel good and laugh, and there's no greater feeling than when someone tells me I've made their day better with my show or that I've helped them get through a sickness or a hard time with their lives," she said.
"The power of television for me is not that people watch my show, but that they watch my show and then they're inspired to go out and do the same thing in their own lives. They make people laugh or be kind or help someone that's less fortunate than themselves and that is the power of television and I'm so, so grateful to be a part of it," she added.
Carol Burnett Award is presented to "an honoree who has made outstanding contributions to the television medium on or off the screen".
Kate McKinnon introduced and presented the award to DeGeneres, by expressing how she has been an idol for LGBTQ community.
After McKinnon realised she was gay, she said that DeGeneres' coming-out gave her a "shot" at making it in the entertainment industry.
"The only thing that made it less scary was seeing Ellen on TV. She really 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 have thought, 'I could never be on TV. They don't let LGBTQ people on TV'. And more than that I would've gone on thinking that I was an alien and that maybe I didn't even have a right to be here. So thank you, Ellen, for giving me a shot," McKinnon said.
DeGeneres took the stage following a montage that showcased career highlights and philanthropic endeavors. She began her speech by expressing her concern about the fires in Australia.
"It's a prestigious award, and what I like most about it is I knew coming in I would win," she joked, adding, "There's nothing worse than sitting there and, like most of you, waiting and wondering if you're going to win."
Sharing her story, DeGeneres said: "Before I knew it I had a successful sitcom, and I came out, and then I lost that sitcom, and then I got another sitcom, then I lost that sitcom, too. Then I got to do something that I had never been able to do before, and that is make my own whiskey, and after that I got my own talk show, and I was able to be myself and that was 17 years ago."
"I feel like you've all really gotten to know me over the past 17 years. I'm an open book and I couldn't have done it without my husband, Mark," she joked.
She continued, "Mark, you are my rock", going on to thank her fake kids.
"The point is, you all know me and obviously you know me or you wouldn't have laughed at that. I feel like we all think we know someone -- there's a connection when we watch someone on TV for as long as we are on TV, and that's what it was like for me with Carol Burnett," she said.
Reflected on Burnett's influence on her own life, the comedian said: "I felt like I knew her. I felt like 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.
"I always felt like she was speaking to me. At the end of the show, every time she pulled her ear, I knew she was saying, 'It's OK. I'm gay, too'. Television influenced everything that I am today."
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