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Ellen DeGeneres gives heartfelt speech for Carol Burnett Award at Golden Globes

DeGeneres was the second recipient of the Carol Burnett Award, given for a lifetime of contributions on and off the screen.
/ Source: TODAY

It's hard to imagine loving Ellen DeGeneres more, but after her speech at Sunday's 2020 Golden Globe Awards, we think we just might.

DeGeneres was the second recipient of the Carol Burnett Award, given for a lifetime of contributions on and off the screen. (Burnett, who was in the audience, was the first.) And while DeGeneres joked around a lot during her speech, she also shared how important television has been to her, and her life.

Ellen DeGeneres was funny and poignant as she accepted the Carol Burnett TV Achievement Award at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday.Paul Drinkwater / NBC

"Television inspired, influenced everything I am today," she said after being introduced by "Saturday Night Live" star Kate McKinnon. "All I ever wanted to do was make people feel good and laugh. There's no greater feeling than when someone tells me that I made their day better with my show.

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"But 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," she continued. "They make people laugh or be kind or help someone less fortunate than themselves. That is the power of television."

DeGeneres has been a part of our entertainment lives since the 1980s, when she wowed Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show" with her stand-up. She's had two sitcoms: "Ellen" (1994-98) and "The Ellen Show" (2001-02), famously announcing "I'm gay" on a 1997 episode. McKinnon specifically pointed out DeGeneres' courage in coming out as helping her to also be out in Hollywood.

"Saturday Night Live's" Kate McKinnon (r.) watched DeGeneres accept the award like a true fan.Paul Drinkwater / NBC

But it's been with her "Ellen DeGeneres Show" talk show, which has been airing since 2003, that DeGeneres really found mass acceptance and love. She traces all of that directly back to being inspired by TV comedians, most especially Burnett.

"We all think we know someone, there's a connection when we watch someone on TV," she said. "That's what it was like for me with Carol Burnett. ... We counted on her to make us feel good, and she delivered every single week. She never let us down... I always felt like she was speaking to me. At the end of her show, every time she pulled her ear, I knew she was saying, 'It's OK, I'm gay, too.'"

Clearly, there are few more charming people in the business than Ellen DeGeneres.

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