In my interview with Kate McKinnon for our Power of Women in Comedy issue, she hinted that this could be her last season as a regular cast member on “Saturday Night Live.”
McKinnon stopped short of confirming that she was planning to leave the show after a nine-year run. But when asked how much longer she foresaw being part of “SNL” beyond this season, the Emmy-winning performer nervously answered: “Umm, gosh, it’s April. It’s early, and I really love working there, and I really love everyone who works there, so we will see.” I responded that her answer was a non-answer and begged her to tell me more. I assured her that Lorne Michaels wasn’t listening to our call, that it was just between us girls! “Honestly, no, I can’t. I’m sorry,” she sheepishly apologized.
She then went on to say, “It’s like this thing, Claudia, that you never do leave. It’s such a family and such an institution. … My heart will never leave, and people come back and pop in and do things.” Call me crazy, but that sure sounds like McKinnon is about to go the way of Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig and other former cast members who “pop in” to host or do guest spots on “SNL.”
Like other regulars, McKinnon has been able to balance outside projects — including roles in “Bombshell” and “Ghostbusters” — with her “SNL” duties. She dropped out of Hulu’s forthcoming series “The Dropout” due to “a scheduling conflict,” but is still set to play Carole Baskin in a new “Joe Exotic” limited series, and has other “special stuff up my sleeves,” she says.
Hopefully, McKinnon won’t be bidding adieu to “SNL” anytime soon. I would be crushed if she did, knowing I would no longer be able to look forward to seeing more of her wonderfully eccentric impressions of colorful real-life figures. No matter how unsavory and unsympathetic a person might be, McKinnon somehow finds a way to empathize with the characters she plays. “In order to do that, you must find something about them that tickles you, even if you disagree with what they’re doing,” she explains. “You’ve got to find something you admire in them and that you like. I try to do that.”
What could she possibly have found to admire in Jeff Sessions and Rudy Giuliani? I ask. She laughs, then pauses before saying, “That might be my little secret.”