What Kate McKinnon Gave to “Saturday Night Live”
Since Kate McKinnon’s first sketch on Saturday Night Live in 2012, it was obvious that she would be a star. Appearing in a Pantene ad as Penélope Cruz, alongside then-host Sofía Vergara, McKinnon delivered Cruz’s Castilian Spanish accent with a touch of wink. While Vergara focused on highlighting all the healthy, easy-to-say ingredients, such as “aloe,” McKinnon as Cruz was left to describe the harmful, hard-to-say ingredients that shampoo doesn’t contain, such as “ammonium laureth sulphate”. McKinnon clearly relished the opportunity to build a character around this pronunciation challenge – a spirit that has served her well, carrying her through 10 years of notable celebrity impressions and eccentric characters, such as the defender of adoption of older cats. Barbara DeDrew and veteran actor Debette Goldry.
Last night, SNL said goodbye to McKinnon, along with longtime cast members Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson and Kyle Mooney, in its season finale. Rather than making plenty of room for McKinnon throughout the episode, the series mostly contained his open cold farewell. She returned as Colleen Rafferty, whose alien encounters bordered on sordid sexcapades that made the host involved in every sketch character. (Ryan Gosling started the trend in 2015.)
This time, Rafferty detailed her wildly unkempt pubic hair, which fascinated the “little gray aliens with big dumb eyes” who abducted her. “I have more hair sticking out the sides than a hipster’s beard stuffed into an N95,” she gleefully gushed. After sharing more sinister details, Rafferty agreed to help the US government by leaving with the aliens for good. The sketch cut to a spaceship door; McKinnon walked over to it, leaned against the frame, and took a deep breath. “Well, Earth, I love you. Thank you for letting me stay a while,” she said, before saying emotionally “Live from New York, this is Saturday night” by herself.
It was a moving and special moment that recognized all that McKinnon had accomplished and contributed to the series since its debut as a feature film in 2012, when Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, Jason Sudeikis and Seth Meyers were still part of the show. . In the following season, they would all leave for new opportunities (Meyers left midway through the 39th season). It’s never easy when SNL loses such tremendous talent in bulk, and McKinnon stepped in to carry much of that slack as a repertoire player.
In many ways, McKinnon was at the heart of SNL since his arrival ten years ago. As an ensemble comedy, the series requires cast members who support each other in the service of a skit — a lesson it learned after Chevy Chase left after the first season. McKinnon’s talent attracted attention, but she was an equally adept stage partner. She did not use her talents to isolate herself. Instead, she put nervous guests at ease and warmly made room for everyone to do their best. The results read on camera: She always seemed to be having the most fun.
As the series’ first openly gay woman, and thanks to her time The Great Gay Sketch ShowMcKinnon played weird characters in a way that struck. This satirical game brought greater visibility to LGBTQ characters on what is arguably the most well-known comedy scene in the world. However, when given the opportunity to use SNLprominent platform, she would have speak loud and clearas she did against Florida’s recent “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
McKinnon was also a skilled and fluid political impressionist, delivering takes on women and men. She played former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, among others. She took over the identity of Hillary Clinton from Amy Poehler, managing the 2016 presidential election, which included a dark, soulful cold open after Clinton’s surprising defeat. But it was his impression of former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that tended to go viral thanks to his sassy take on the famous legal wit.
Bryant joined SNL the same year as McKinnon, and brought a tempered sweetness to his time on the show. Last night she appeared in a final “Trend forecasters” with Bowen Yang, where the decidedly chic duo covered summer fruits, greetings and trends of the time. The “Weekend Update” bit got sentimental towards the end. “In: 10 Great Years,” Bryant said with a smile. Yang replied, dropping his assignment, “In: a friend I couldn’t have done this without.”
Davidson also said goodbye to “weekend update“, using the monologue format he had often used over his nine seasons to discuss more personal topics, like being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. In many ways, his life – and who he was dating – overshadowed his comedy, a fact he denounced last night. “I’ve had tremendous success barely showing up to work,” he said. Between the punch lines, Davidson got surprisingly serious: “I remember when I auditioned for SNL, [the show’s creator, Lorne Michaels,] looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘I don’t…think you’re good for this show, so let’s screw this together.’ And that’s exactly what we did.
Mooney’s goofy demeanor earned him a spot on the show in 2013. Often relegated to supporting work during live sketches, his comedic sensibilities were best shown in the various digital shorts he developed, including understood a little in progress on his fake relationship with fellow cast member Leslie Jones. Last night it appeared throughout the episode but never in a way that openly acknowledges that it was his last. In the final sketch, however, he stood alongside McKinnon and Bryant in a commercial parodying pigtails for graying older women. “He’s like a guy is magic, and we’ll love him forever,” Bryant said of his character, Richard, but the line resonated on a deeper level about Mooney himself.
It’s not uncommon for multiple cast members to leave SNL at the end of a season, but losing McKinnon, the series loses its anchor. He’s survived such losses before, but with his 50th birthday fast approaching, and with dark headlines and a global pandemic still creating problems for the institution of comedy, it’s unclear what’s to come. will develop in its absence. In the meantime, for my part, I cannot wait for her to return to the host.
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