SNL to add Kate McKinnon to featured cast

The easiest way for me to tell you how thrilled I am about Kate McKinnon joining the cast of Saturday Night Live is to remind you what I’ve told readers about McKinnon.

From my review of her “one-woman sketchtacular,” Kate McKinnon on Ice, last year during its run at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in NYC (where she also performed with Maude sketch teams Gramps and High Treason):

  • “how she hasn’t emerged already as a comedy star is beyond me”
  • “What makes McKinnon so special is that she manages to be both charming and likable, while having a wild, mischievous streak lying so close to the surface that you can see it waiting to burst out at any moment.”
  • “Kate McKinnon is a joy to watch, and more people need to see her and feel that joy for themselves.”

After not hiring any cast members in the fall, and facing a possible mass exodus of talent come what May, Lorne Michaels and co. brought in 14 comedians from around the country in February for a “secret” audition showcase in front of a live studio audience at The PIT in NYC.

Following those auditions, the buzz was that SNL and Lorne were zeroing in specifically on adding one or perhaps two women in April to both give them a tryout and potentially ease the transition to next season should the new women work out well.

The first comedian’s name to surface so far is McKinnon, who is expected to join the cast when they return from their spring break next week, with host Sofia Vergara.

Along with Andy Samberg (whose Lonely Island cohorts aren’t spending much time in the building this season) and Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig is about to wrap up her seventh season on SNL — and Jason Sudeikis, Kenan Thompson, Fred Armisen and Seth Meyers have all been around longer than that. But there aren’t many women in the current cast, and Wiig alone tends to dominate whenever the show calls for a big, bold character. This is exactly the kind of role that fits McKinnon perfectly.

There’s not nearly enough video of McKinnon online. Here is some:

McKinnon performing at a “Real Characters” show in a bookstore:

Here she is starring a webseries, The 40-Year-Old 20-Year-Old. Roll the first episode, please!

And of course, McKinnon also has previous TV sketch comedy experience, performing for all three seasons of Logo’s The Big Gay Sketch Show,¬†which hired her straight out of Columbia University. Her characters included Barbara Walters, Fitzwilliam (a young boy who wanted to have girl parts) and more. Here’s a sketch in which she played a hotel employee confused by the idea of gay marriage. Roll it!

In 2009, she also won Logo’s NewNowNext Award for “Brink of Fame Comic.” And now she’s certainly much closer to that brink. I’m excited to watch her on our TVs and Internet TVs for years to come.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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