Kate McKinnon 15 Now-You-Know Facts (Including Why She Left SNL)

A send-off salute to SNL's 10-year star player.
Kate McKinnon 15 Now-You-Know Facts (Including Why She Left SNL)

Not long after Kate McKinnon joined the cast in 2012, it was abundantly clear that this sketch comic was going to steal every scene she was in. At the very least, whenever she was on screen you knew the sketch was going to be fun to watch, if not just for her lines. McKinnon's SNL career spanned an entire decade, and her send-off ushers in a new SNL era, wrapping her's in a beautiful bow, with no parting gift aside from giant shoes to fill. Here are 15 facts about Kate McKinnon.

Kate’s Pre-Show Ritual

Kate McKinnon Golden Globes


Kate told Interview, “I have taken to dancing in between our dress rehearsal and our live show, because it helps me let off some steam. There’s this little nook in this sort of abandoned hallway where I kind of go crazy, dancing with my headphones on. I try not to be seen, but sometimes it’s inevitable. People don’t know what I’m doing, or why. The song I have been dancing to all year happens to be song ‘Filthy.’”

Leonardo, Monet, And McKinnon

Kate McKinnon Aidy bryant SNL

Broadway Video

According to an interview with GQ, McKinnon is also a skilled painter. She said painting in her one-bedroom apartment would fill the space with toxic fumes making it difficult to breathe. She added that while she used to paint portraits, she later moved on to photo-realistic still life.

The Character McKinnon Identifies With The Most

McKinnon said the SNL character she identifies the most with is, “Ms. Rafferty, the perpetual alien abductee. I, too, prefer bad restaurants, bad hotels, bad train rides, bad movies, and bad weather. I thrive in those environments. I feel alive.”

Kate Is An Extreme Introvert

Despite being one of the top sketch comedians in the world, McKinnon describes herself as having extreme social anxiety. McKinnon told Variety, “People are often confused when they meet me because I’m soft-spoken and pensive. I am extraordinarily introverted,” McKinnon added that at ten years old she began speaking in silly voices as a way to cope with her anxieties. “I found I was more easily able to communicate with people doing a funny voice. I found it was a way to share joy and to bring a sense of fun and community in a way that I had trouble doing just in my own voice. I do have a personality, but I find it easier still in some ways to communicate in character.”

McKinnon’s Dream Role

Willy Wonka

David L. Wolper Productions

McKinnon told Margot Robbie, that if she could play any character from film history it would be Willy Wonka. She continued, “I once tried to rock a purple velveteen blazer at school, but you can’t get away with that without a top hat and without owning a chocolate factory where children get murdered.”

What Makes Kate Laugh More Than Anything

McKinnon told The New York Times that nothing makes her laugh harder than farting. She continued, “It’s such an insult that foul gas comes out of a hole in our butt with a sound to announce itself. It’s the ultimate bad thing about being a person.”

McKinnon’s Favorite Part Of SNL

Kate McKinnon Colin Jost

Broadway Video

McKinnon told Interview, that her favorite scenes to perform on SNL were during Weekend Update because it gave her the chance to speak directly to the audience and make whichever Weekend Update host she was with laugh.

McKinnon’s Comedy Heroes

Kate McKinnon grew up in Long Island, New York and idolized the Saturday Night Live cast, citing that her three comedy heroes and biggest influences growing up were Molly Shannon, Ana Gasteyer and Kellyanne Conway.

Kate’s Favorite Impression

According to Variety, Kate McKinnon’s favorite impression to do on SNL was Ruth Bader Ginsberg, “Because of the tidal wave of love and goodwill that I could feel emanating from the audience, and because she is so beloved and such a force for political change in our world, it felt so good to have that energy in the studio when I conjured that person. I loved her so much. She was the closest thing to a superhero.”

Kate Was Once An Umpire

Kate’s first job was as an umpire at little league softball games. McKinnon said, “I only lasted a few games because I wasn't one hundred percent clear on all the rules.” That’s a pretty solid reason to get fired considering the umpire is supposed to be IN CHARGE of the rules.

Her Family Prioritized Comedy

Kate McKinnon Aidy Bryant SNL

Broadway Video

McKinnon told Refinery29 that she grew up in a very comedy-centric household. She and her sister Emily Lynn recalled  “There was a lot of sketch comedy in the house,” said McKinnon. “They loved SNL. They encouraged us to watch Mel Brooks movies, which was required viewing.” “The Producers,” Lynne recalls. “I had no idea what that movie was about, but I knew all the dialogue.” “For me,” McKinnon added, “it was watching The Producers once a week and — we didn’t own Young Frankenstein — but when we did get to watch it … ” “It was very exciting,” Lynne adds. Madeline Kahn was “tops,” McKinnon recalled. “Our mom and dad are both very funny. And, they always encouraged us to look at things in a funny way.”

Her Strange Childhood Pet

Kate told Oprah Magazine, “I grew up with a pet iguana named Willy. We had a very contentious relationship. It turns out that iguanas are not meant to live in suburban homes. Willy was constantly stressed out, he pooped everywhere, he developed eating problems—it was a mess."

How Kate Prepares An Impression

Kate McKinnon Dr.Fauci

Broadway Video

When working on her impressions, McKinnon said she watches hours of YouTube alone in her office, repeating phrases back to videos. She added, “I like to devise axioms and notice patterns of what works and what doesn’t so I can codify those into little rules I can use. If someone has a vocal tic or an accent, it’s so much easier to hook into something. It always starts with the way they talk, and then you add the layer of their energy. Then it all depends on what they’ve done that week. They can’t just be someone who did something five months ago. It’s got to be à la minute.”

Kate Made History

Kate McKinnon Jimmy Fallon


Kate McKinnon was the first out lesbian in the history of Saturday Night Live. She was cast all the way back in 2012 and was a featured player for just a year before becoming a full-cast member. 

Why Kate Left Saturday Night Live

Kate McKinnon Leaving SNL

Broadway Video

Kate McKinnon ran the Saturday Night Live stage for an entire decade and was apprehensive about leaving. McKinnon said on LIVE With Kelly & Ryan, “I thought about it for a very long time, and it was very, very hard,” she said. “All I ever wanted to do in my whole life was be on Saturday Night Live. So, I did, I loved it, I had the best decade, and then I was just like, my body was tired, and I felt like it was time.” McKinnon added, “I don’t know that I can watch the show yet because it’s just too emo because I miss everyone so much. I mean, it’s my family,” she continued. “It’s a little … it’s too emo. So, I think I’m just going to tape The Bachelorette and watch it.”

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