Though she's had a controversial past few years, there's no doubt that out comedian and television legend Ellen DeGeneres has had a huge impact on generations of LGBTQ+ people, especially since she was one of the few openly lesbian media personalities during times in the world where it still wasn't socially acceptable to be so open and honest about your sexuality.
And one of the people she has had a direct impact on includes fellow gay comedian Jerrod Carmichael.
During a Friday appearance on Ellen's self-titled daytime talk show (which is coming to an end very soon), the 35-year-old comic, who publicly came out as gay in April of this year in his critically-acclaimed HBO special Rothaniel, stopped by and chatted with DeGeneres about how much seeing her be open and authentically herself helped him in his journey to self-acceptance.
"I have so much to say to you," Carmichael tells DeGeneres, going into a story about since the last time he was on her show, he was closeted, and he didn't think he'd ever be able to tell her how much she and her work have meant to him.
"You faced coming out at a time when it was impossible, there was no precedent," he says elsewhere during their chat. "You faced a lot. I watched it with my mom. I watched all of it, I watched the sitcom, I watched you talk to Oprah, I watched the interpretive dance and the specials. And my mom watched you, and she laughed at you, and you were welcome in the home. It's no small thing, I don't want to discount that because it's really, really huge being Southern and Christian and these things where the idea of having a gay person welcome in my mother's home, it seemed impossible. And you did it. And I'm thankful. It's no small thing. It's really, really huge."
"You're like a gay, white Desmond Tutu," he jokes as the audience laughs.
Watch Jerrod Carmichael's emotional appearance on Ellen DeGeneres' talk show in the video below.