How Kate McKinnon Paid Tribute To The Late Ruth Bader Ginsburg On Saturday Night Live

Kate McKinnon as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Colin Jost on Saturday Night Live

Saturday Night Live made its long-awaited return to 30 Rockefeller Plaza last night, and the show managed to come back in full force. Host Chris Rock managed to keep the energy going, and host Megan Thee Stallion crushed her performances. In addition, fans also got their first glimpse at Jim Carrey’s Joe Biden, who strolled into the cold open with shades on. In the midst of all the comedy though, Kate McKinnon and her co-stars also took a moment to pay tribute to the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

For the last several years, Kate McKinnon has donned a black robe and glasses to play her witty and dance-prone version of Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg. Following her passing, it would appear that McKinnon be retiring the role but, during SNL’s Weekend Update segment, she appeared in character one final time.

At the end of Weekend Update, the camera panned over to McKinnon, in costume as Ginsburg, who could be seen sitting among the masked audience members. McKinnon remained silent, placing her hand over her chest and slightly bowing her head before looking above. The show then went to a commercial break with a special graphic that read, “Rest In Power.” You can check out the sweet moment for yourself in a Twitter post from WXYZ’s Brad Galli:

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s spirit has been such a big part of Saturday Night Live over the last few seasons, and McKinnon’s portrayal has been a highlight of the sketch comedy. The fact that they crafted such a subtle but sweet tribute to Ginsburg is truly special.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18 at the age of 87 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. Following her death, many across Hollywood took the time to remember the trailblazing supreme court justice.

SNL isn’t the only way in which Ginsburg managed to have an effect on pop culture. In 2018, Focus Features released On the Basis of Sex, a biopic that chronicled Ginsburg’s early life and career as a women’s rights lawyer. Star Wars alum Felicity Jones played Ginsburg in the film and, upon learning of her passing, she posted a sweet message to honor her.

Her legacy even expands to fictional characters, as Law & Order: SVU’s Olivia Benson is also an admirer of Ginsburg. This stems from actress Mariska Hargitay’s actual love and respect for the late justice. Needless to say, Ginsburg’s legacy is one that has definitely permeated the entertainment world in an interesting way.

Admittedly, it will seem a bit strange not to see Kate McKinnon dancing and calling “Ginsburns” during SNL’s Weekend Update. But the memories of the performance are still well preserved, as is the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself.

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Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.