Kate McKinnon Gets Candid About Leaving 'SNL'

Kate McKinnon smiles for cameras a photocall. She is wearing a black blazer.
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Aug 8, 2022 2:09 PM ET

When Kate McKinnon joined the Saturday Night Live cast back in 2012, she made history as the first openly lesbian cast member. Over the next 11 seasons of the show, she would win an Emmy award and have the longest run of any female cast member. When she announced her departure from the sketch series in May of 2022, many fans were shocked and left wondering what motivated the comedian.

McKinnon finally opened up this summer when she sat down for an interview with Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest. Keep scrolling to find out why she left SNL and if she still watches the show at home.

Her Early Years

Kate McKinnon poses for cameras at a photocall for an event. She is wearing a black dress with a sheer V cut in the front.
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Before McKinnon became known for her SNL impression of Hilary Clinton, she was an Ivy League theater student. After graduating from Columbia University in 2006, she landed a spot on The Big Gay Sketch show. She left in 2010, eventually making her way to Saturday Night Live. During her decade-long tenure, she also branched out into movies. Most notably, she's had roles in Ghostbusters, The Spy Who Dumped Me, and Bombshell.

After receiving positive reviews for her impression of Hilary Clinton, she went on to play Elizabeth Warren in SNL sketches. She has also done impressions of Justin Bieber and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Her emotional goodbye sketch was covered by People, but she didn't break her silence about why she left. Read more about her departure in the next section.

On Leaving 'SNL'

When she sat for an interview on Live with Kelly and Ryan, she opened up about taking a long time to make the decision to leave SNL. It was something she thought about carefully, because "all I ever wanted to do in my whole life was to be on Saturday Night Live. So, I did. I loved it; I had the best decade...". But, as she explained, she was physically drained from the demands of live weekly performances. Her body was, as she put it, "tired". She knew when it was time for a curtain call.

But does she still tune in every Saturday night? Keep scrolling to find out.

On Watching SNL

Despite McKinnon's deep love for SNL, she isn't so sure if she'll be tuning in again right away. As she told Seacrest and Ripa, "I don't know if I can watch the show yet. It's just too emo because I miss everyone so much. I mean, it's my other family,". Perhaps McKinnon will become a viewer again in time.

Scroll down to find out what's next for McKinnon.

What The Future Holds

Kate McKinnon wears a blue dress and smiles for cameras.
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McKinnon's future is as bright as ever, with two movie projects forthcoming in 2023. She's set to costar with Margot Robbie in the Greta Gerwig-directed Barbie movie. She'll also star in The Lunch Witch, which began as a popular book by Deb Lucke. With a high profile ahead, her fans will likely see much more of her in the coming years.

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