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June 13, 2024

McKinnon’s Triumphant SNL Homecoming Delights Fans

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Dec 18, 2023

Kate McKinnon made her long-awaited return to Saturday Night Live this weekend, hosting the show’s Christmas episode to the delight of fans. The versatile comedian has been sorely missed since her departure from the show last season, but she proved her hosting chops still shine in this holiday spectacular.

An Iconic SNL Homecoming

McKinnon stepped back onto the iconic SNL stage Saturday night for the first time since her tearful farewell last May after 10 years as a cast member. She earned wide acclaim for her masterful character work and impersonations during her decade on the show, winning two Emmys and cementing her status as one of SNL’s all-time greats.

Her hosting gig allowed McKinnon to revisit some of those beloved characters, while also showcasing surprising new sides of her talent. Critics praised the show as a return to form, while McKinnon’s longtime admirers were thrilled to have her back in Studio 8H where her singular genius first mesmerized America.

Reuniting With Old Friends

The cold open featured McKinnon participating in a silly “ChristmasAwards” sketch alongside her real-life BFFs and former castmates Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig. Their contagious chemistry lit up the screen, taking viewers down memory lane to some of SNL’s best female-driven years.

The trio’s clear off-screen bond only heightened the hilarity, especially when they broke into an impassioned rendition of ABBA’s “Mamma Mia” while dancing with … Christmas trees? We’re still trying to parse out that bit, but their commitment sold it. The three comics have a knack for finding absurd joy in even the weirdest concepts.

McKinnon also incorporated Rudolph and Wiig into her opening monologue later on, further celebrating the kinship between these three hilarious women who indelibly shaped the show.

Returning Fan-Favorite Characters

Devoted SNL viewers were perhaps most excited for McKinnon to reprise some classic roles, comedic creations that have been dearly missed. She didn’t disappoint, reviving her beloved β€œWhiskers R We” cat lady Barbara DeDrew to assess the adoptability of various Christmas kittens with musical guest Billie Eilish.

Longtime fans delighted at seeing Barbara’s return to the screen after a two-year absence. McKinnon clearly relished inhabiting the quirky character once more, serving up her iconic cat-inspired hand gestures and affected voice.

The sketch also featured Eilish doing her best McKinnon impression as fellow employee Claudia O’Doherty. While not quite as seasoned in sketch comedy, the singer-songwriter showed she can hold her own riffing opposite a pro like McKinnon.

Showstopping Musical Performances

Beyond the night’s array of comedy sketches, Billie Eilish also wowed the crowd with two stellar musical numbers spotlighting her powerhouse vocals and vulnerable lyrics.

She first performed her brooding new single β€œWhat Was I Made For,” appearing in an ethereal white gown against a backdrop of floating doll heads and limbs. The haunting staging appeared to unnerve some viewers, but complemented the song’s themes of feeling lost and empty.

For her second number, Eilish went in a more traditional holiday direction with a sweeping rendition of β€œHave Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Her emotional delivery gave the classic carol new poignancy, earning the singer a mid-show standing ovation.

Between her intense performances and surprise comedic chops, this multi-talented 20-something proved herself to be one of SNL’s strongest hosts and musical guests in years.

Critical Acclaim for McKinnon and Crew

McKinnon’s much-hyped SNL return has earned rave reviews from television critics applauding her versatility and magnetism:

Los Angeles Times:

“One of the finest all-around performers the show has ever enjoyed … McKinnon remains a singular talent, fully committed whether the bit works or not.”

AV Club:

“A joyous return for McKinnon … her patented panache for physical comedy and elastic facial expressions was gloriously intact.”

The Daily Beast:

“McKinnon brought her A-game … demonstrating how much the show has floundered in her absence when it comes to political satire and overall playfulness.”

The Guardian:

“McKinnon retaliation proved her irreplaceable… she will always have a home at Studio 8H.”

Critic Publication Summary of Praise
Lorraine Ali Los Angeles Times Praised McKinnon’s commitment and talent
Dennis Perkins AV Club Applauded her joyous comedic skills
Matt Wilstein The Daily Beast Says show has declined without her
Charles Bramesco The Guardian Calls her irreplaceable SNL talent

While reviews for the episode’s sketches were mixed, McKinnon herself earned universal raves across the board. Her fans look forward to seeing what characters the gifted comedian might tackle when she inevitably hosts again.

What Comes Next for McKinnon?

So now that McKinnon has made her big SNL comeback, what projects lie ahead for the dynamic star?

She appeared alongside Margot Robbie in this summer’s blockbuster Barbie movie and earned praise for heragainst-type turn as the villainous doll villain, so fans are eager to see her take on more film roles that showcase her impressive range.

On the TV front, McKinnon is an executive producer and star of The Dropout, a Hulu miniseries dramatizing the rise and fall of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. She previously portrayed a version of Holmes on SNL, so it will be exciting to see her sink her teeth further into this complex role.

The new year will also bring McKinnon’s animated series The Hospital, which she created and voices the lead character for. Centered around doctors at a children’s hospital, early clips suggest it will blend comedy with emotional warmth.

And of course, almost no future appears completely implausible when it comes to McKinnon and SNL. Despite her official departure from the cast, fans undoubtedly hope she’ll continue returning as a frequent host for years to come.

A Festive Triumph

This Christmas visit marked a long-awaited homecoming for one of SNL’s brightest stars, reminding fans across America why we fell in love with Kate McKinnon’s singular sensibility in the first place.

Whether she was resurrecting classic sketch characters, harmonizing with her friends in a nonsensical holiday medley, or even milking laughs from a cat tampon ad, McKinnon proved yet again why she’s a true queen of comedy. From her tour-de-force physicality to her earnest emotional vulnerability, she can do it all.

McKinnon also showed some promising new shades to her skill set with this hosting gig, from surprisingly adept musical skills to strong chemistry with an unexpected scene partner in Billie Eilish.

After too many months without McKinnon gracing the late-night airwaves with her loopy genius, this holiday episode felt like the greatest gift SNL could have offered fans. Our only complaint is having to wait so long to see her manic magic at work again.

But for now, we’ll content ourselves rewatching McKinnon squeeze into Spanx, warble through ABBA classics, and rekindle her kinship with some of comedy’s greatest women once more. Welcome home, Kate!

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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