Why Kate McKinnon Really Left Saturday Night Live?


After an impressive tenure of over 200 episodes on “Saturday Night Live,” Kate McKinnon bid farewell to the iconic variety show in May 2022, leaving behind a legacy of remarkable comedic performances. Renowned for her uncanny impersonations of notable figures like Ellen DeGeneres, Justin Bieber, and Angela Merkel, McKinnon entertained audiences for a decade. Her contributions earned her nine Emmy nominations and two wins before her departure alongside fellow cherished cast members: Pete Davidson, Kyle Mooney, and Aidy Bryant.

In one of her final sketches, McKinnon utilized her recurring “SNL” character, Ms. Rafferty—an alien abductee—to help fans come to terms with her exit. Humorously, the skit concluded with McKinnon willingly returning to her alien captors. As Rafferty, she quipped, “I kind of felt like an alien on this planet anyway,” expressing gratitude to Earth for the experience. Despite the warm reception of her last performance, lingering questions persisted regarding the reasons behind her departure.

McKinnon subsequently disclosed that her decision to leave “SNL” was primarily due to exhaustion rather than a desire to exit. Contrary to some former cast members who departed with different motives, McKinnon cherished her time on the show. In an episode of “Live! With Kelly and Ryan,” she confessed, “All I ever wanted to do in my whole life was be on Saturday Night Live.” However, the demanding nature of the job took a toll on her physical well-being despite considering it the best decade of her life. She revealed, “And then I was just, like, my body was tired, and I felt like it was time.”


In an interview with Vulture in August 2022, McKinnon delved into the grueling schedule of the show, admitting that the taxing routine led her to contemplate leaving. She acknowledged her struggle with the rigorous schedule and her natural inclination to rise early and retire by midnight, a lifestyle incompatible with the show’s late-night demands. Her realization that she couldn’t stay awake until 1 a.m. marked the tipping point. “Okay. I have to go. As scared as I am and as sad as I am, it’s time,” McKinnon recounted.

Post-“SNL,” Kate McKinnon’s presence in Hollywood remained robust. She graced the highly anticipated live-action “Barbie” movie, portraying a character named “Weird Barbie.” McKinnon’s character, with her unapologetically quirky traits, instantly captivated audiences. The scene where she introduced herself as “Weird Barbie,” highlighting her peculiarities, garnered immense favor among fans. Mattel even released a line of Weird Barbies inspired by McKinnon’s character for enthusiasts to collect, according to Teen Vogue.