Kate McKinnon breaks silence on decision to leave SNL: ‘My body was tired’

Kate McKinnon smiles as she wears a black outfit and her blonde hair is styled in waves. She is standing in front of a billboard for the the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards

Kate McKinnon revealed the reasoning behind her “very hard” decision to leave Saturday Night Live (SNL), saying she was “tired” after a decade on the show.

McKinnon joined SNL in 2012 and quickly became one of the long-running sketch comedy show’s breakout sensations. She bid farewell to the show at the end of season 47 in May with an emotional tribute to one of her most out-of-this-world characters

McKinnon told Ryan Seacrest and Kelly Ripa on their daytime TV show Live With Kelly and Ryan that she thought about leaving SNL for a “very long time” before she made the “very, very hard” decision to end her run.

“All I ever wanted to do in my whole life was be on Saturday Night Live,” McKinnon said. “So I did. I loved it. I had the best decade, and then I was just like, my body was tired and I felt like it was time.”

Seacrest questioned Kate McKinnon on her new Saturday schedule and if she considered tuning back in to watch another episode of SNL

McKinnon admitted she was hesitant to watch any new episodes later this year because she’s still “too emo” about leaving her “family”. 

“I don’t know that I can watch the show yet because it’s too emo because I miss everyone so much,” she said. “It’s my family.”

She continued: “It’s too emo. So, I think I’m just going to tape The Bachelorette and watch it.”

Kate McKinnon was nominated for nine Emmys during her SNL stint, winning twice. She’s in the running for a potential third Emmy win this year for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series”.

The beloved comedian wowed audiences and split sides for her amazing impressions of Hillary ClintonRuth Bader GinsburgElizabeth Warren and Kellyanne Conway – just to name a few. 

She crafted iconic original characters on SNL like Colleen Rafferty – a cigarette-smoking, blunt-talking woman who had multiple extraterrestrial encounters. McKinnon reprised the role as Rafferty in her last appearance on the iconic comedy series. 

In the sketch, Rafferty described a very unique encounter she had with “little grey aliens with the big dumb eyes”, and she quipped the aliens were her “most stable relationship” after their repeated meetings. 

The hilarious sketch later turned emotional after Rafferty volunteered to go live with the aliens and boarded their spaceship. Kate McKinnon teared up as her character turned around and thanked people for “letting me stay awhile”.