The Untold Truth Of Kate McKinnon

Kate McKinnon has secured her spot in history as a comedic genius. You've tuned into SNL to see her spot-on impersonations of everyone from Hillary Clinton to Justin Bieber. You've laughed until your guts hurt over her eccentric characters: the alien-abducted Mrs. Rafferty, the drunk and amorous Sheila Sovage, the impossibly charismatic engineer Dr. Jillian Holtzmann

There's also no denying that there's even more than meets the eye to this comedian-slash-actor, as is often the case with people so inherently interesting (and, real talk, charmingly bizarre). She is a woman who has built her career portraying other people so well that, at the end of the day, you feel like you know them better. But what about McKinnon? What makes her tick? 

The woman behind the impersonations and over-the-top characters is just as fascinating — arguably even more so — than her comedic personas. If you need further proof McKinnon might just be one of the coolest people on the face of the planet, we have it.

You won't believe how she made her first buck

Kate McKinnon is so genuinely hilarious that it's hard to imagine she was ever not famous. But before she caught her big break, the SNL standout was just like the next person: taking odd jobs to make ends meet. What was the first of those jobs that ever netted McKinnon any cold hard cash? Here's a hint: Strike three — you're outta here!

For a brief moment in time, McKinnon made her money on a ball field. Of her first paying gig, she revealed to Marie Claire, "I was an umpire at little league softball games. I only lasted a few games because I wasn't one hundred percent clear on all the rules."

While not a particularly difficult job (not the easiest either, though), McKinnon wasn't cut out for the umpire life. And while she was cut out for being a comedian and actress, she jokes that she has her fallback career all lined up (and, spoiler alert, it's not being an umpire). "I would live in the woods and be a carpenter," she told Marie Claire. "I already have my outfits picked out."

Gillian Anderson makes her wax poetic

Everyone has a celebrity crush, and Kate McKinnon is no exception. In an interview with Vanity Fair, she let it slip that Gillian Anderson was her first crush. In fact, said McKinnon, "[She]'s still my queen." Accordingly, fans lost their minds when Anderson tweeted a photo of young McKinnon dressed as Anderson's X-Files' persona Dana Scully. "Kate McKinnon, we have something in common & it's not slimy green things," Anderson captioned the cute throwback.

Things took a truly hilarious turn, though, when McKinnon and Anderson were cast together in the 2018 film The Spy Who Dumped Me. The night before filming began, Anderson decided to Google her co-star. She drew a bath, grabbed her phone, and stumbled across a skit deemed one of McKinnon's best. 

Describing the roughly six-minute skit to James Corden, Anderson recounted how it entailed McKinnon sitting on a bed speaking directly into the camera, as if the camera was Anderson, and professing her undying love. "I'm sitting in the f***ing bath as if she's talking to me through the thing — it was embarrassing," Anderson told Corden, feigning shock. "I felt this was the most intimate thing. It was like we were Skyping. I was Skyping Kate McKinnon who is professing her love for me, and then I had to work with her the next day. I mean, what the f***?"

Anderson never mentioned the moment to McKinnon, and it was back to business as usual during filming.

Her first time meeting Hillary Clinton was during a sketch

It's no big secret that Kate McKinnon has the utmost respect for Hillary Clinton. Outside of portraying the former senator and secretary of state on SNL, McKinnon openly supported Clinton's bid for presidency — and, upon the loss, performed a poignant rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" in Clinton's character for the show's first cold open following the election.

While it would be easy to assume McKinnon had met Clinton at some point prior to her portrayal, the pair actually never met until they filmed the 2015 "Hillary Clinton Bar Talk" skit for SNL. In the scene, the politico slings drinks as a bartender serving McKinnon's Clinton, all the while making fun of herself. The endearingly self-deprecating skit prompted McKinnon to tell Rolling Stone, "I feel very close not only to the real Hillary, but also to this Hillary character we've created." 

As for Clinton, she confessed to People that occasionally McKinnon's version of her causes self-doubt. "Her really dramatic impersonation of me does make me think, 'Oh my gosh, did I roll my eyes? Lift my eyebrows?'" But she was also quick to point out that McKinnon's Clinton is "hilarious" and that "the combination of Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon is priceless."

She lives for breakfast, especially this one

You probably heard it from your parents tons of times growing up: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Although there are surely plenty of people out there who don't live by that adage, McKinnon isn't one of them. She's a self-professed super-fan of breakfast, telling Oprah magazine it is her favorite meal of the day. 

"I have to have coffee and two poached eggs with a vegetable quinoa melange underneath," she said of her morning meal. "The dish takes way too much time, but I wake up early to make it because it's my ritual." 

As far as breakfasts go, McKinnon is hooked on a pretty good one. Coffee, eggs, and super grains like quinoa are all cited in "The 20 Best Foods to Eat for Breakfast" compiled by Health. "You want to aim for a breakfast that combines good carbs and fiber with some protein," Dietitian Erica Giovinazzo of Clay Health Club and Spa in New York City, told the outlet. According to Health, eggs are a good source of protein and nutrients, coffee could potentially help you live longer, and grains are high in fiber and proteins. Good call, McKinnon.

The Notorious RBG gave her the stamp of approval

Kate McKinnon has impersonated many (many, many) people over the years, among them some of the greatest feminist icons of our time. Hillary Clinton, of course, is one. But another favorite of SNL viewers is McKinnon's impression of beloved Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In the skit, Ginsburg is predictably fierce and fabulous, often dropping knowledge and following it up with a trademark catchphrase: Gins-burn! 

SNL fans aren't the only ones who go gaga over the sketch, though — "the Notorious RBG" herself admits to digging the impersonation. In what one can only imagine would be the highest compliment a comedian could get, Ginsburg gave two proverbial thumbs up for McKinnon's likeness of her.

When asked by Sundance Institute to comment on the SNL skits of herself, the venerable justice said, "I like the actress who portrayed me, and I would like to say 'Gins-burn' sometimes to my colleagues." Now that would make for good television!

The movies she and her sis obsess over will make you say, Same!

There are certain movies that never grow tiresome, no matter how many times you watch them. You know the type — the nostalgic hits you watched growing up or the quirky cult classics you've come to love even more with the passing of time. 

Kate McKinnon knows the deal. Not only did she grow up watching those movies, but she and her kid sister Emily Lynne categorize many of them as part of their education. The girls honed their comedic chops by watching classics of TV and film, and their parents fostered their viewing habits. "There was a lot of sketch comedy in the house. They loved SNL. They encouraged us to watch Mel Brooks movies, which was required viewing," McKinnon told Refinery29

But it's the movies the sisters cop to watching together "a million, thousand times" that will convince you they are your kindred spirits: Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Legally Blonde, Death Becomes Her, and Troop Beverly Hills. Oh, plus one more! 

McKinnon admitted that when she starred in 2015's Sisters, she couldn't bring herself to speak to her co-star (and childhood hero) Dianne Wiest on set. "I saw her. I was too scared to go up to her because one of our movies is Practical Magic," McKinnon said of the film in which Wiest memorably plays Aunt Jet.

Whoever smelt it, dealt it

Someone could probably quickly ascertain the kind of humor you find funny by perusing your YouTube watch list or asking what your favorite SNL skits are. But what about the people behind those hilarious videos? What cracks them up? Well, besides each other — SNL comedians often struggle to keep their composure during skits, and it seems like half of the time McKinnon is the one making them break focus.

If someone wanted to make her laugh, though, they wouldn't have to go to very great lengths as long as they aren't squeamish. In an interview with the New York Times, McKinnon confessed that the thing she finds funniest is — wait for it — farting. "Nothing makes me laugh more than farting," she said. "It's such an insult that foul gas comes out of a hole in our butt with a sound to announce itself. It's the ultimate bad thing about being a person." 

Geography is her jam

Kate McKinnon's mastery of accented characters is enough to impress the most unflappable of critics. But even though she makes it look effortless, don't be fooled into thinking there's no method behind McKinnon's lingual madness. Rather, the comedian told American Way magazine that she credits her accents in part to the fact that she's a self-professed "geography nut." 

"While people who come from a certain place have unique personas of their own, there's still something about being from this place that's common to their psyche. However small it is, it's there in the way they speak," McKinnon told American Way.

Commitment to her craft undoubtedly also contributes to her role as a linguistic chameleon. During her interview with American Way, McKinnon detailed the legwork she put in prior to playing a brash Australian in the comedy Rough Night. "I was worried about doing it for an entire film," she told the outlet, which noted that McKinnon listened to hours upon hours of Australian podcasts in prep. "I ended up learning about the latest [Australian] novels," McKinnon joked of becoming so immersed in the language and culture Down Under.

Who wouldn't get starstruck over this cast?

If you ran into Kate McKinnon walking down the street, you'd be understandably starstruck. McKinnon has always been a comedic force to be reckoned with, but her career really shot into the stratosphere when she started covering Hillary Clinton during the presidential election. Now also a bona fide movie star, she'd make anyone nervous. So it's funny to think about the shoe being on the other foot. 

Yes, McKinnon gets starstruck, too. Chatting with We Got This Covered about her 2016 blockbuster Ghostbusters, McKinnon confessed that the most challenging part about making the film wasn't anything technical, like nailing her nerdy engineer character's scientific jargon. Instead, it was her co-stars

"I was a bit intimidated, initially, at working with Kristen [Wiig], Leslie [Jones], and Melissa [McCarthy], because they're such wonderful comedians, and I wasn't sure if I could keep up with their pace, even though I've worked with Leslie on SNL and Kristen and Melissa have appeared on SNL as hosts," McKinnon said. "They're my comedic heroes, so the challenge, on Ghostbusters, was to get myself to improvise alongside them." 

Not surprisingly, McKinnon rose to the occasion and aced that challenge. As for her co-stars? According to McKinnon, they all "became a very close group." 

Hurting anyone's feelings is the last thing she wants to do

Poking fun at people is part and parcel when it comes to being a comedian. As naughty as it sounds to admit, comedic skits probably wouldn't be nearly a comedic if they were rooted entirely in flattering caricatures. Rather, a little light-hearted jesting goes a long way toward making a hilarious point about the person being portrayed. However, some comedians definitely cross the threshold from funny to mean.

For Kate McKinnon, though, that's the last thing she wants to do. During an interview with Deadline, she revealed that she spends a lot of time stressing over whether or not he will hurt someone's feelings by impersonating them on SNL

"It's something I really grapple with throughout the week leading up to the show, and so whatever makes it to air I've thought a lot about and done a lot of soul searching about already," she explained. "To my knowledge, there hasn't been a ton of upset about something I've done, thank god. That would really upset me."