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At the Golden Globes, LI's Kate McKinnon thanks Ellen DeGeneres for helping her come out as gay

Kate McKinnon presented the Carol Burnett Award to

Kate McKinnon presented the Carol Burnett Award to Ellen DeGeneres at the Golden Globes. Credit: AP / NBC / Paul Drinkwater

"Saturday Night Live" star Kate McKinnon is usually known getting laughs, but on Sunday's Golden Globes she played it heartfelt as she paid tribute to Ellen DeGeneres.

Sea Cliff native McKinnon, who made history as the first "SNL" out lesbian cast member in 2012, thanked DeGeneres, who made headlines in 1997 when she came out. “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,” McKinnon said. “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.”

While fighting back tears, the 36-year-old McKinnon went on to say, "If I hadn’t seen her on TV, I would have thought, ‘I could never be on TV. They don’t let LGBTQ people be on TV.’ And more than that, I would have gone on thinking that I was an alien and that I maybe even didn’t have a right to be here. So thank you, Ellen, for giving me a shot at a good life.”

When a touched DeGeneres, 61, took the stage to accept the Carol Burnett Award for Excellence in Television, she thanked McKinnon for her "amazing words."

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