Kate McKinnon ‘Felt Ashamed’ Breaking Character on ‘SNL,’ Cries During Exit Interview: ‘Telling Lorne Was Really Hard’

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Kate McKinnon revealed on “Live With Kelly and Ryan” last month that she left “Saturday Night Live” because “my body was tired, and I felt like it was time,” but the Emmy winner gave a far more in-depth exit interview while appearing on Vulture’s “Good One” podcast. As the interview notes, McKinnon broke down in tears several times throughout the conversation. She couldn’t hold tears back when asked about telling “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels about her exit.

“Telling Lorne was really hard,” McKinnon said. “He knew it was coming. He was very sweet. But he has been a father figure to me, and so much more. It was just really hard — simple human emotions, not wanting to say goodbye to something you love.”

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McKinnon added through tears, “This is fresh. It only happened two months ago.”

Much of the “Good One” interview is devoted to McKinnon’s beloved “Close Encounter” sketches, which found the comedian bawdily recounting what happened to her character during an alien abduction. The sketch often led McKinnon and her co-stars to break character (most famously Ryan Gosling during one version of the sketch in which McKinnon pinched his butt).

“I felt ashamed, because we’re not supposed to, and there’s something unprofessional about it,” McKinnon said about breaking character during “SNL” sketches. “And yet sometimes it was just too fun. There was a hint, I guess, of wanting the audience to know like, ‘Oh, man, I love this. You have no idea how much I love Aidy Bryant and how much I love this job and how much I love these jokes.’ So sometimes I would allow myself to just go there.”

More tears flowed as McKinnon said, “The most meaningful moments were moments when, like on a Friday night at rehearsal, I decided to stop and look around at the people who I loved so much and just make a memory of it. Nothing special — we were all just sitting around, and Mikey [Day] was doing a bit or Alex [Moffat] was doing a bit, and we were catching up and just looking around at the crew. Those are the moments that meant the most.”

McKinnon added that she is aware she’ll miss “SNL” forever, “and especially the people — just the greatest people, and an absolute family of people. But I’m also excited to join new families and explore other parts of myself. I mean, I think that as you could maybe tell from listening to this interview, I also have sadness. I have joy and I have sadness, and maybe I’ll see if I can do something with that. I don’t know.”

Head over to Vulture’s website to read McKinnon’s “SNL” exit interview in its entirety. McKinnon won two Emmys for supporting actress in a comedy series thanks to her work on “SNL,” and is in the running for a third this year.

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