The INSIDER Summary:
• Kate McKinnon nails her impersonations of Hillary Clinton on “Saturday Night Live.”
• She tries to make her impressions as human as possible.
• The writing staff wanted to capture the former Secretary of State’s “sweetness.”
Leave it to Kate McKinnon, the most powerful force of comedy on “Saturday Night Live,” to perfectly portray the woman who might soon become the most powerful person in the country.
McKinnon is certainly not the first person to play the former Secretary of State on the show — Amy Poehler famously played her while she was a castmember on the show.
But there is one little thing that makes McKinnon’s impression so unique. C0-head writers Chris Kelly, Sarah Schneider, and Bryan Tucker discussed what goes into writing for McKinnon at a recent New York Comic Con panel for “Saturday Night Live.”
“We wanted to show [Clinton’s] sweetness. That she could be sweet or that she’s incredibly qualified and so hardworking,” Kelly told fans. “And also have that ‘I’m so qualified and hardworking, why don’t you just give it to me [attitude].’ She’s making good points, and she’s making them so hard sometimes.”
A lot has changed since Poehler was a castmember portraying Clinton. When Poehler was last on, Clinton lost in the Democratic Primary to then Senator Barack Obama. Since Poehler left the show, Clinton has been Secretary of State, weathered various scandals, and eventually won the Democratic presidential nomination. McKinnon, and the writers, had to take all of those factors into account.
“I think Amy played on Hillary’s awkwardness and Kate plays on her ambition,” Tucker said.
Luckily, they have McKinnon on board who, according to co-head writer Sarah Schneider, makes sure all her impressions still “feel like it was a person.” Let’s not forget, McKinnon is a true professional.
“We said this about Kate before, but it’s true that you can just give [her] jokes and they just know that character, that person so well that they make them come alive,” said Kelly. “Kate [has] done Hillary for so long that some of the sketches we feel are like, ‘Great. These are good jokes. I feel pretty proud.’ [With] some, you’re not sure if this joke is good enough. And then Kate will just be like, ‘I’ll make it good enough!’ Not that she says that, but that’s just the vibe she excludes.”
After November 8, we’ll know for sure whether or not Kate McKinnon will be portraying the president week after week.
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