Kate McKinnon Returned To SNL Last Night, And Of Course She Crushed It

Kate McKinnon dressed as Dr. Fauci during an SNL sketch.
(Image credit: Saturday Night Live/ NBC)

Fans who have been on the edge of their seats wondering when they’d finally get to see Kate McKinnon this season saw their wishes granted last night when Saturday Night Live opened with the popular performer dressed as Dr. Anthony Fauci. Fittingly, her first words of the season were “I’m back,” which was, of course, greeted with thunderous applause from the audience. 

Not surprisingly, Kate McKinnon’s reprise of Dr. Fauci has proven to be the breakout sketch from last night’s SNL episode. The cold open has already been viewed more than three hundred thousand times on YouTube and was discussed widely on Twitter. You can check out McKinnon working the room and delivering some commentary on Covid below…

Of course it’s great to see Kate McKinnon back to sketch comedy. That has to be the first takeaway. The popular SNL star missed the early part of the season, reportedly to film her new Tiger King project. SNL headman Lorne Michaels is reportedly a lot more tolerant of performers working on other stuff these days, but her absence has still been felt, as no one else on the show quite falls into her same comedic lane. 

It’s not as if other cast members haven’t stepped up though. The above sketch is a great showcase of just how deep and talented the SNL roster is right now, and it’s also a great example of a format SNL uses on occasion in which one performer is the centerpiece of a sketch and the action gets bounced out to others for short little impressions or comedic moments before returning to the centerpiece. It’s the upshot of having so many capable people around, which is probably why the show also used it in the fun sketch about Christmas cards on the fridge.

It’ll be interesting to see what the rest of the season looks like for Kate McKinnon. She is, in my opinion, a top 20 or 25 SNL performer of all-time. She’s an absolute powerhouse who can play both off the wall and conventional characters really well. I’d love to see her on Saturday Night Live for many more years to come, but she also has a thriving career outside the show and a wide variety of varied interests. She takes live action roles, voice work and even podcasts. At some point she may decide working in SNL is just too much, as has been rumored.

Regardless, I’m going to enjoy having her back for as long as she’s back. There’s plenty of time to worry about the future, and besides, the great thing about having a deep cast is you can easily transition if an all-time performer does leave. So, for now, it’s welcome back and thanks for anymore incredible sketches you give us. 

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Mack Rawden is the Editor-In-Chief of CinemaBlend. He first started working at the publication as a writer back in 2007 and has held various jobs at the site in the time since including Managing Editor, Pop Culture Editor and Staff Writer. He now splits his time between working on CinemaBlend’s user experience, helping to plan the site’s editorial direction and writing passionate articles about niche entertainment topics he’s into. He graduated from Indiana University with a degree in English (go Hoosiers!) and has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of publications including Digiday. Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, a great wrestling promo and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.