'SNL' Alum Kate McKinnon Explains Why She Exited Legendary Series

Kate McKinnon is easily one of the funniest members of the Saturday Night Live cast for the past decade, but she decided to leave the show behind at the end of Season 47. During a stop on Live with Kelly and Ryan Thursday, McKinnon opened up about her departure from the show, which earned her two Emmys. Aidy Bryan, Kyle Mooney, and Pete Davidson also followed McKinnon out the Studio 8H door.

"I thought about [leaving] for a very long time, and it was very, very hard," McKinnon told Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest notes TVLine. "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 hosts asked McKinnon if she would support former co-stars when Season 48 debuts by watching the show, but it sounds like McKinnon hasn't planned out her future Saturday nights yet. "I don't know what I'll do," she said. "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."

During her 11 seasons on SNL, McKinnon was nominated for the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Emmy every year from 2014 to 2022. She won back-to-back in 2016 and 2017. In 2014, she also earned an Emmy nomination for the song "Home for the Holiday (Twin Bed)," sharing the nod with Bryant. McKinnon also has a Screen Actors Guild nomination as a member of the Bombshell cast.

McKinnon already has her next project in the works, as she has an unknown role in Greta Gerwig's Barbie movie with Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie. She also voices a character in the upcoming animated movie DC League of Super-Pets. McKinnon will also star in The Lunch Witch, based on the novel by Deb Lucke.

It's unknown who SNL creator Lorne Michaels plans to replace McKinnon, Bryant, Mooney, and Davidson with. Whoever he hires will have huge shoes to fill, as the show lost one of its great impressionists. McKinnon played Justin Bieber, Ellen DeGeneres, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ellen DeGeneres, and many other celebrities, and created several hilarious characters.

"It is just these four people who have defined what that show is in the last decade," Bowen Yang, who is expected to return, told Entertainment Tonight of the departures last month. The four stars leaving were "distinct presences, distinct voices, and four people who were sort of the best to ever do it." Yang said the last day on the set "was so emotional."

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NBC has not announced when the first episode of SNL Season 48 will air, but Season 47 started on the first Saturday of October. Aside from Yang, the returning repertory players include Michael Che, Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman, Heidi Garner, Colin Jost, Alex Moffat, Ego Nwodim, Chris Redd, Cecily Strong, Kenan Thompson, and Melissa Villasenor. Season 47's featured players were James Austin Johnson, Andrew Dismukes, Aristotle Athari, Punkie Johnson, and Sarah Sherman.