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20 Kate McKinnon SNL Sketches That Belong in the Comedy History Books

Paranormal close encounters, killer impressions, and physical comedy: No wonder Seth Meyers says "nobody did it better" than Kate McKinnon. 

By Jessica White & Samantha Vincenty

The Season 47 finale of Saturday Night Live was bittersweet—because it was Kate McKinnon's last SNL episode as a long-running cast member. The comedian and Barbie actress joined the cast midway through Season 37 in 2012, and over the course of 11 seasons in 10 years, McKinnon truly delivered. From her face-contorting impressions of political figures like Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, and Kellyanne Conway to a way of delivering lines that made Hosts and cast members break into laughter, McKinnon proved her singular talent in Studio 8H every week. 

How to Watch

Watch Saturday Night Live Saturdays at 11:30/10:30c on NBC and next day on Peacock.  

The SNL MVP left the building in 2022. On December 16, 2023, Kate McKinnon will host SNL for her first time—a feat she told Seth Meyers is blowing her mind, even after all of her success on the program. 

"It's something I always wanted to do," McKinnon said. "The dream was to be on the show, and the exponential dream was to host the show—which is like, beyond the imagination."

Ahead of McKinnon's hosting debut, Meyers told his fellow SNL alum, "I'm so jealous of everybody who works on that show—that they get to get one more week with Kate McKinnon, because nobody did it better."

Below, revisit some of Kate McKinnon's greatest SNL moments. 

Kate McKinnon's political impressions, from Hillary Clinton to Rudy Giuliani 

McKinnon has played countless political characters, expertly imitating their mannerisms while staying focused on the funny. Some of her most memorable impressions include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former Mayor turned indictee Rudy Giuliani, and Hillary Clinton. 

Summertime Cold Open

Michigan Hearings Cold Open

Weekend Update: Angela Merkel on Donald Trump

Jeff Sessions Gump Cold Open

Kate McKinnon makes everyone break

SNL Hosts have the challenging task of not busting out in laughter while performing live with some of the best working comedians. McKinnon made that task even more difficult. Exhibit A: The "Close Encounter" sketches with Host Ryan Gosling.

Close Encounter

Close Encounter

Another Close Encounter

Another Close Encounter

A Journey Through Time

Final Encounter

Final Encounter Cold Open

Christmas Miracle

Hotel Ad with Billie Eilish

Weekend Update: Olya Povlatsky

Kate McKinnon's celebrity impressions are A+

McKinnon's tackled numerous Hollywood names like Jodie Foster, Ellen DeGeneres, and Justin Bieber during her time on the show. 

Kate McKinnon as Justin Bieber

Kate McKinnon as Jodie Foster

Kate McKinnon as Ellen DeGeneres

Kate McKinnon as Long Island Medium's Theresa Caputo

Kate McKinnon as RBG

Cat ladies, Kellyanne Conway, and alien abductions: Kate McKinnon shines as a recurring character on SNL

With standouts like the "Whiskers R' We" sketches, saucy "Paranormal Encounter" bits, and her Kellyanne Conway impression, SNL fans lived for McKinnon's recurring characters.


Revisit all your favorite McKinnon sketches by streaming episodes of SNL on Peacock.

Originally published Jun 16, 2022.