Ellen DeGeneres became the second recipient of the coveted Carol Burnett Award during the 77th Golden Globe award ceremony held at Beverly Hills in California on Sunday night. The Carol Burnett Award is an honorary Golden Globe Award given for "outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen."
The organisers of the award show, Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), introduced the award in 2018. It was named in the honour of its first recipient Carol Burnett, who received it in January 2019 during the 76th edition of the awards. The award is deemed to be equivalent to its film appreciation counterpart, the Cecil B. deMille Award, which went to actor Tom Hanks, this year.
Ellen wants people to laugh
During her acceptance speech, Ellen came up with her trademark wit and humour. "I'm going to be quick, although I don't have to because it's a special award and they don't play me off.... I was born in New Orleans in 1958."
Ellen who has successfully hosted her daytime talk show "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" from past 17 years, spoke the about importance of making people laugh. "All I've ever wanted to do is make people feel good and laugh, and there is 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," she said.
"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 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. I'm so, so grateful to be a part of it," she added in her speech.
The award was presented by Saturday Night Live's Kate McKinnon who termed Ellen as giving her "with a road map for a way to be funny that is grounded in an expression of joy."
Ellen lost a sitcom for being gay
Maintaining that legends like Lucille Ball, Mary Tyler Moore, Dick Van Dyke, Burnett, and Bob Newhart inspired her, Ellen added: "Television inspired and influenced everything that I am today. There's a little bit of all of them in me."
It was in 1994 that Ellen, a standup comic starred in a sitcom Ellen. It was during an episode telecast in 1997 that she came out as gay on the show. The controversial Puppy episode brought her an Emmy for writing. Talking about the incident in her speech, the comedian said: "I had a successful sitcom and I came out, and then lost that sitcom, and then I got another one and I lost that sitcom too."