After 11 years on the late-night mainstay, Kate McKinnon hung up her Hillary Clinton power suit in May with one of the best résumés in the show’s history.
On Thursday, McKinnon discussed why she decided to leave after such a long stay for the first time since her heartbreaking farewell. Only seven other cast members have been there for longer than a decade, making her one of the longest-serving.
It’s interesting that two of them are still working on the show. Kenan Thompson has already aired for 20 seasons, and Cecily Strong was only a few episodes behind McKinnon by the end of the 47th season. Neither one has said they are leaving the show.
Only Fred Armisen (11 years) and Seth Meyers (13 years) and Darrell Hammond (14 years) have been on the program for as long or longer. Al Franken was a mainstay on the show for 17 years, appearing in 11 seasons.
Although several cast members are nearing or have passed their own ten-year milestones, cast stability has been surprisingly consistent in recent seasons thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, and Pete Davidson all said their goodbyes on McKinnon’s last episode. What then, eventually persuaded McKinnon that the moment had come?
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McKinnon remarked on Thursday’s “Live with Kelly and Ryan”: “All I ever wanted to do in my life was to be on ‘Saturday Night Live. I did it, I enjoyed it, I had the best decade of my life, and then I realized that it was time to stop because my body was exhausted.
McKinnon has expressed uncertainty about returning for Season 48, despite the fact that several of her close friends from the show are still employed there. She added, “The show is too emo for me to watch right now; I miss everyone too much.” In other words, “They’re my relatives.”
She quipped that she was more likely to record “The Bachelorette” and watch that instead.
One of the most legendary restaurants on the show is McKinnon’s. She received a total of eight Emmy nominations and two awards. In addition, EW reports that she uttered the immortal words “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night” seventy-five times. That makes her second-to-last behind Hammond.
As a result of her long tenure, she now holds the title of the longest-serving female cast member, however Strong, if she returns for Season 15, stands a good chance of overtaking her.