Kate McKinnon Reveals Why She Left Saturday Night Live After 11 Seasons

In a new interview, two-time Emmy winner Kate McKinnon is opening up her decision to depart Saturday Night Live following an 11-season stint on the late-night sketch series.

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“I thought about [leaving] for a very long time, and it was very, very hard,” McKinnon said during Thursday’s episode of Live With Kelly and Ryan. “All I ever wanted to do in my whole life was be on Saturday Night Live. 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.”

The comedian was also asked if she’d tune in for the upcoming Season 48. “I don’t know what I’ll do,” she answered. “I don’t know if I can watch the show yet. It’s just too emo because I miss everyone so much. I mean, it’s my other family…. I think I’m just going to tape The Bachelorette and watch that instead.”

McKinnon, along with Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson and Kyle Mooney, all were rumored to exit SNL in the lead-up to the May 21 finale. She signaled the end of her run with with a final — and ultimately emotional — take on her oft-abducted Mrs. Rafferty character. Davidson, meanwhile, went on to appear one last time at the Weekend Update desk, as did Bryant (as part of the recurring segment “Trendsetters,” opposite Bowen Yang). McKinnon and Bryant then joined Mooney for his sendoff, a five-to-1 commercial sketch for “Grey Adult Pigtails.”

McKinnon — whose myriad impersonations over the years included Justin Bieber, Hillary Clinton, Kellyanne Conway, Ellen DeGeneres, Anthony Fauci, Rudy Giuliani, Laura Ingraham and Elizabeth Warren — recently earned her ninth Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, a category she previously won in 2016 and 2017. It’s her 10th nomination overall, having also been nominated for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics in 2014 for co-writing “(Do It On My) Twin Bed.”

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