Saturday Night Live cast member Kate McKinnon starred in "Ghostbusters" as the brainy scientist Jillian Holtzmann. While the film angered some especially misogynistic fan-boys for daring to have an all-female cast, McKinnon was praised by critics and audiences alike for her performance.
It’s hard to call that her breakout, since she’s been getting a lot of attention — and Emmy nominations — or her work on SNL, particularly her impersonation of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
McKinnon has also done impressions of Ellen DeGeneres, Iggy Azalea, Justin Bieber, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and even Robert Durst of Showtime's murder-documentary series, "The Jinx." The comedian has been doing impressions since she was young, with one of her first being of a former "Saturday Night Live" cast member.
The first impression that I liked doing was an impression of Cheri Oteri's Barbara Walters impression on SNL. I found that I could mimic that pretty well and people got a kick out of that.
The Frame's John Horn spoke with McKinnon about how she wanted to be on "Saturday Night Live" ever since she was young, her Hillary Clinton impersonation, the controversy surrounding "Ghostbusters," and how she avoids using social media.
On watching "Saturday Night Live" when she was young:
I definitely wanted to be on "Saturday Night Live" and we were watching a lot of it. I would actually transcribe my favorite sketches because I wanted a written record of them. That's how deep it went. I taped them all on VHS. I still have them.
On playing Hillary Clinton in front of the actual Hillary Clinton:
It was so much fun because at our first run-through, she just nailed all of the comedy. Her delivery was so natural and her timing was so right on. We just looked at each other like, Oh my God, she's funny! What the heck? She was just so game and so sincere and so kind, and that was a really magical moment for me.
You're growing up, you're on Long Island and you want to be a sketch comedian. You don't think — in the course of even accomplishing that — that you'll brush with someone who might be the president. That was just a whole other level of wild.
On how she prepares for her various impersonations:
It's different every time and it's a different challenge every time, but ... you watch the person and you try to figure out what you have in common with them and why you like them, what you think is delightful about them. Then, just amplify that. Anything about how they move or who they are or how they laugh or how they talk. And I gotta like them. That's the one criteria I have — I can't do an impression of someone I don't like.
On the common bond between her and Hillary Clinton:
I feel similar to her in that ... I think she really wants to help people and she really wants to do well, and I certainly share that. I think the way that I'm obsessed with comedy, I think she's obsessed with helping. I kind of went from there.
On not using social media and the hate speech on Twitter against "Ghostbusters":
I think that's just really disgusting and vile and scary, and has nothing to do with whether someone elects to be on Twitter or not. I think it just is a travesty. I don't do it because it's not in my nature for some reason. I never found myself using Facebook in college when it came out.
I don't know what it is. I'm just not into it. It's just me, but I think it's a great tool for connecting with people. And I applaud people who have enough stuff to say that they do it. Mine would just be pictures of my cat.