Top 20 Hilarious Kate McKinnon SNL Performances
VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu
WRITTEN BY: Tal Fox
These hilarious Kate McKinnon performances made her an "SNL" MVP. Our countdown includes Ellen DeGeneres, Kellyanne Conway, Rudy Giuliani, and more!
Top 20 Hilarious Kate McKinnon SNL Performances
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Hilarious Kate McKinnon Performances
For this list, we’ll be looking through Kate’s greatest hits to bring you her funniest moments as a member of the “SNL” cast
What’s your favorite Kate McKinnon sketch? Let us know in the comments.
#20: Theresa Caputo
As a Long Island native herself, it only made sense that McKinnon step into this role, and boy, does she nail it. Her look is perfect from the bleach blonde hair and perfectly manicured nails to her precise choice of outfit. However, it’s her exaggerated accent and spot-on mannerisms that really take this sketch over the edge. Of course, nothing’s funnier than seeing a medium communicate with a squirrel or engage in a group reading with someone’s uncle Sal. Her final joke really hit the spot and we were most definitely laughing. Even if you weren’t, we know one person who was clearly a fan.
#19: Dre from “Themyscira”
This sketch served to address those subtle LGBTQ+ undertones that the “Wonder Woman” movie left unexplored. Kate and Aidy play two lesbian women who wash up on Themyscira, just to find the whole experience highly disappointing. The longer they spend the island the more hilariously frustrated they become. And, as a result, they deliver one priceless line after another. Of course, it’s Kate and Gal Gadot’s kiss that got social media buzzing. And by the following Monday afternoon, it had already reached 2.7 million views on YouTube. Nevertheless, with that parting gift, the pair decide to try their luck on a different island.
#18: Martha Stewart
After the real Martha Stewart signed up for the dating site, “SNL” followed up with this hilarious spoof commercial. While the other women share what they’re looking for in a partner, McKinnon’s Stewart has a slightly different agenda and a very specific list of desired shared interests. Living up to Ana Gasteyer’s memorable impression, McKinnon effortlessly captures the voice, tone, and directness of the TV personality. But of course, she injects her own unique quirky humor like only Kate McKinnon can. If Martha ever needs help updating her dating bio, she knows who to call. So, why did Martha Stewart choose Match.com?
#17: The Devil
In one of “SNL’s” riskiest sketches, Kate McKinnon plays a star-struck devil who welcomes impeachment lawyer Alan Dershowitz to hell. Whoever came up with the idea of making Satan the inventor of podcasts is a genius. And of course, with McKinnon in the role, it’s simply magnificent. She hilariously checks off all of Dershowitz’s wrongdoings while making it sound like a list of achievements. Only someone as loveable as Kate could make this hellish character so endearing. This sketch went hard and took no prisoners. But with Kate at the helm as Satan, it could not have been more perfect.
#16: Shud the Mermaid
She might not be the typical fairytale mermaid but there’s no blobfish-maid quite like Shud. While her more conventionally attractive sea sisters present the men with a fantasy they can’t refuse, Shud’s approach to seduction is, well, different. McKinnon has us in stitches as she describes in explicit detail exactly how eating, breathing, and mating works when you’re part blobfish. But nothing’s funnier than Shud’s attempts at attracting a partner through song. Especially when she’s joined by her friend, Kunk. So far Shud has only surfaced twice but this character is just too weird, wonderful, and funny not to bring back in future episodes.
#15: Rudy Giuliani
The 45th administration was an endless source of material for SNL, with Kate featuring as several of its key players. As she told Seth Meyers, she found some common ground with the disgraced former attorney which helped her create the character. The fact that she also managed to accurately mirror his mannerisms and tone is just a testament to her immense talent. With every far-fetched headline he made, we couldn’t wait to see in which direction Kate would take the narrative. She’s definitely the best Giuliani we’ve seen on the show, and that includes the time the former New York mayor hosted back in 97.
#14: Barbara DeDrew
If you love Kate McKinnon, cats, and feline-related puns, this is the re-u-purring sketch for you. Kate plays Barbara DeDrew, who runs a cat rescue center. She’s joined by various overly affectionate partners who tend to pussyfoot around while she tries to stay focused. And yes, pun very much intended. Kate is totally in her element surrounded by cats with apparently very quirky personalities. Her descriptions never fail to surprise us but always make us laugh out loud. It’s almost impossible for anyone to get through this skit without breaking. Especially when you have the dream team of McKinnon and Wiig.
#13: Elizabeth Warren
Ahead of the 2020 election, Kate added Senator Elizabeth Warren to her impressive repertoire of impressions. Fans were super impressed with the way she embodied the presidential candidate while still delivering comedy gold. If you try and watch the real senator after watching a McKinnon sketch, it’s almost uncanny how accurate her impression is. From the voice to the hand gestures and even the energy of her performance. And of course, no one will ever forget that time that she danced as Elizabeth Warren with the real Elizabeth Warren. This will definitely go down as one of her most memorable impersonations.
#12: Jeff Sessions
As we’ve already seen, Kate played a huge role in bringing us the latest from the chaotic 45th administration. Proving that there’s no character she can’t play, she took on the former Attorney General with meticulous precision. After all, who’s to say that the real Jeff Sessions isn’t a possum, an elf on the shelf, or wouldn’t make a perfectly deplorable Forrest Gump. All we know for sure was that we loved Kate’s caricature version of Sessions and we could never quite get enough of it. She may not have been the obvious choice to play the Alabama native, but we’re glad that she did.
#11: Penélope Cruz
McKinnon plays Penélope Cruz, alongside host Sofia Vergara in this Pantene commercial. Only Penelope seems to have drawn the short straw with her lines. This versatile performer once again proves that there’s nothing she can’t handle, expertly maintaining Cruz’s accent, without dropping the ball on the comedy either. Supposedly, McKinnon did her Penélope Cruz impression during her audition for the show. Given how flawless her performance is, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that this sketch also marked her “SNL” debut. For many of us, this was our first introduction to the comedian and we just knew that she was going to be a star.
#10: Justin Bieber
Kate McKinnon has never been one to limit herself to female roles, and being cast as Canada’s most infamous pop star was a stroke of genius. Uncannily capturing the musician's cocky physicality, the role is funny not only for the exaggerated impersonation, but also because of how realistic it is. It’s worth putting on display not only for her expected comedic abilities, but also for how much it shows her versatility as an actress.
#9: Ruth Bader Ginsburg
From a young man to an old woman, Kate can squeeze comedy out of any role. As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, she embodies the woman’s badassery in absolutely ridiculous fashion. What’s brilliant about this impression is the way that she manages to satirize the duality of her old age and her extreme energy. She also shows off her improvisation skills, particularly when she manages to make Colin Jost break character. It showcases McKinnon’s undeniable charm, ability and versatility. We just hope that she keeps on Ginsburning in the seasons to come.
#8: Debette Goldry
Women certainly don’t have it easy in Hollywood, but it was even less of a cakewalk back in the film business’ golden age. Debette is a senile actress who participates in panels of actresses discussing women’s roles in the film industry, describing some horrifically quirky trends that she was put through. She captures the character’s age with her voice and mannerisms even more than the makeup does, and more often than not causes her co-stars to break. She may be old, but even so we have a feeling she’ll be sticking around studio 8H for quite a while.
#7: Angela Merkel
The liberal German chancellor may be a bit more of an obscure figure than her other impressions, but McKinnon was able to make her one of her best characters. With an exaggerated German accent, she plays the overworked and awkward politician to perfection. The satire here is widespread, from German and American politics to German culture and women in government. Her love for Barack Obama and frustration with Donald Trump presents a hilarious view of politics, and McKinnon’s crazy-eyed performance is all over the place, nailing every punch line she’s given.
#6: Ellen DeGeneres
Kate McKinnon’s impression of Ellen DeGeneres proves that she can anchor a sketch almost all by herself. Her impersonation of Ellen’s voice and mannerisms is as on-point as it gets. However, the funniest aspect of the role is the physical humor, as she changes into ridiculous sitting positions, even while she addresses her audience. McKinnon hits the perfect notes of Ellen’s humor and comedy style, both making fun of it and respecting it. As “SNL”’s first openly lesbian cast member, she was a natural choice to play this gay icon, and even Ellen herself approved of the performance.
#5: Sheila Sovage
We hope to never see a situation like this in real life. Sheila is a particularly unappealing woman who always manages to hook up with an equally unappealing man at a bar’s last call. It’s a different role than she normally performs, but McKinnon manages to deliver her signature charm even as a gross character. She always goes all the way for the sake of laughs, unafraid of getting nasty, and it’s just one of the many reasons we love her.
#4: Ms. Rafferty
Mrs. Rafferty should be the luckiest woman alive, but as it turns out...she’s not. The chain smoker is involved in several miracles along with her friends, although her story always turns out to be a bit less miraculous than the others’. The contrast between her deadpan performance and the other character’s genuine stories brings the hilarity to these sketches. She embodies the character from head to toe, and her tales are so earnestly delivered, we can almost visualize them happening, which brings an entirely new level of comedy to the character. Let’s just hope next time she’s able to keep her pants.
#3: Kellyanne Conway
Kate McKinnon was invaluable to the show during the 2016 election, due in large part to her impeccable impression of Donald Trump’s counsellor, Kellyanne Conway. Conway has the unfortunate task of having to defend the businessman’s unhinged behavior, and McKinnon perfectly captures her impressive ability to dodge questions. This is a multi-faceted impression, from exhausted Kellyanne, to crazy Kellyanne, to terrifying Stephen King-inspired gutter clown Kellyanne. It can be a bit cruel at times, but that doesn’t make it any less funny. All the craziness of the Trump campaign and administration is encapsulated in McKinnon’s impression.
#2: Olya Povlatsky
With Russia in the news so much lately, Olya is the mouthpiece for life in the Eastern European country. Once again utilizing an exaggerated accent, Olya appears on Weekend Update to discuss how awful her life is. While she often appears to misunderstand American customs, she always reveals that she’s referring to an even sadder Russian custom. It’s probably one of “SNL”’s darkest characters, as we laugh at her misery. Every movement and facial tic adds to the bleak picture of Olya’s horrifying life, once again proving McKinnon’s physical comedy prowess. Hopefully Putin doesn’t get mad and hack our beloved Kate.
#1: Hillary Clinton
Many talented “SNL” players have played Hillary Clinton, but none of them have brought the same finesse as Kate McKinnon. Playing a Trump-era iteration of Clinton, she brilliantly displays her chilling determination and desperation to win the presidency. Radiantly satirizing her struggle to win over voters, her impression is scarily accurate, from the voice to the quirks to the uptight personality. Sparring with the equally entertaining Alec Baldwin as Trump and Larry David as Bernie Sanders resulted in some of “SNL”’s most memorable moments of political satire. McKinnon’s Clinton will no doubt be seen as legendary in the years to come.