Obama made an appearance on The Ellen Show on February 12, and things got a a bit emotional. It started with Ellen telling the President that she can’t thank him enough for what he’s done for the gay community. Hold up, girl, Obama thinks he should be thanking you.

In the clip above, Obama explains that Ellen’s presence on a wildly popular daytime talk show, and her openness about her sexuality and marriage has had a huge affect on the public’s perception of gay people. He says:

We were driving over here today — and I meant this. I said it to my staff — I said, as much as we’ve done with laws and ending ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ et cetera, changing hearts and minds — I don’t think anybody has been more influential than you on that. I really mean that. You being willing to claim who you were, that suddenly empowers other people. And then suddenly, it’s your brother, it’s your uncle, it’s your best friend, it’s your coworkers. And then attitudes shift. And the law is followed, but it started with folks like you. I’m so proud of you.

Ellen tears up, but like all comedians, deflects feelings with a joke: she admits she’s not really gay, but people responded so well she felt she had to go along with it. Obama responds by saying, “But, on TV, you play one and it’s great.” All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely gay players.

Image via The Ellen Show.