If you’re a huge SNL fan, chances are you know exactly who Kate McKinnon is. After all, she’s hilarious – how could you not know her? However, to the general public who may not always love sketch comedy, she’s just now becoming an official A-Lister thanks to her movie roles in flicks like the Ghostbusters reboot and Office Christmas Party. And while she may seem like a typical gorgeous blonde starlet, Kate McKinnon is actually a whole lot more than that. She’s completely fearless when it comes to committing to comedy, which means she’s always hilarious on stage or on camera. She’s a proud lesbian who is doing a lot of fantastic things for the LGBTQ community. She’s totally unashamed of her quirks and flaws and particularities, and is more than willing to share stories about her overweight cat and DIY disasters. I mean, it’s hard not to love her.
We have a feeling you’ll be hearing a lot more about Kate McKinnon in the year to come, so until then, check out this list of 15 things you may not know about her. This way, when she wins her next huge award, or you go to see one of her movies with a friend, you’ll have some fun trivia to share.
15. She Got Her Start In Sketch Comedy
Lately, Kate McKinnon has been breaking into the mainstream entertainment industry by snagging roles in feature films, whether major starring roles, such as in the Ghostbusters reboot, or as a hilarious supporting character, like in Office Christmas Party. However, before she started exploring the film world, McKinnon was a sketch comedy girl, through and through. Most fans know her from her countless brilliant performances on SNL, but before she snagged that gig, she spent three seasons on Logo TV’s The Big Gay Sketch Show, and also did live sketch comedy with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York for years. As she told GQ, “that’s where I learned everything, just by doing and doing and being around funny people and being taught by funny people.” In comparison to the pressure of live sketch comedy, filming a movie probably seems easy!
14. She Was The First Openly Gay Woman On SNL
Nowadays, Hollywood is a much different world than it used to be – more and more individuals are feeling comfortable being themselves, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It requires a lot of courage to let your true self shine, particularly if you don’t quite fit the typical starlet mold – but McKinnon is doing just that. She never tried to hide her sexual orientation – in fact, she speaks about it openly and honestly all the time. As a result, she’s become another strong voice in Hollywood that individuals who may be struggling to be open about their orientation can look up to. Plus, the fact that she snagged a coveted role on the biggest sketch comedy show on television proves that you don’t need to fit the entertainment industry’s stereotypical mold to make it big – and that’s a pretty amazing message.
13. Her First Major Film Role Was In The All-Female Ghostbusters Reboot
Kate McKinnon is not about to dim her shine in order to please a man, and when she broke into the film industry, you’d better believe she didn’t just get a generic role as a female love interest— even though she could have easily played the lead in a rom-com with her good looks and blonde locks. Nope. When it came time to make her big screen debut, she opted to do so as a member of an all-female, all-badass squad in the Ghostbusters reboot alongside other killer comedians such as Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kristen Wiig. It just proves that McKinnon is all about doing things on her own terms in Hollywood – which we love. Plus, let’s be honest, she was hilarious in the movie.
12. She Already Has An Emmy On Her Shelf (And Has Had Four Nominations)
There are many, many popular actresses who have starred on popular television shows for years but just never got the prestigious Emmy nod to acknowledge their work. While Kate McKinnon is currently focusing her efforts on the silver screen, if she were to ever to return to her television roots on a scripted show rather than a sketch comedy classic, she’d have one thing that many of her co-stars probably wouldn’t – an Emmy. Thanks to her work on SNL, McKinnon has actually already received four Emmy nods, and in 2016 she snagged a statue for Best Supporting Actress in a comedy. And honestly, if she were ever to star in a sitcom, it would probably be a cake walk in comparison to the demanding live nature of SNL.
11. She’s A Master At Celebrity Impressions
It’s no secret that most SNL cast members become fairly skilled at celebrity impressions – after all, while there are many, many original characters created for the show, one of their favourite things to do is poke fun at current affairs. Having a cast that can transform into basically anyone is a huge asset, and not many do it quite as well as Kate McKinnon. While most SNL cast members have become known for particular impressions (such as Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin), McKinnon has transformed into everyone from Ellen DeGeneres to Justin Bieber to Hillary Clinton. There is basically no impression that this woman can’t absolutely nail if given enough time, and it just goes to prove how impressive her comedic chops are. Honestly, we could watch her impressions all day long.
10. She Plays Guitar, Cello, And Piano!
Kate McKinnon is obviously a woman of many talents, but you may not have known she was musically inclined. Many saw her playing the piano as Hillary Clinton in a particular SNL sketch, but she wasn’t just going through the motions – she was actually playing. It turns out, McKinnon knows how to play guitar, cello, and piano, which is a pretty impressive feat for someone who considers herself an actor and comedian, not a musician. We have to confess, once we found out this fact about her, all we’ve been able to think about is her starring in a film as a bizarre cellist who somehow gets into a prestigious orchestra and causes hijinx. Whichever Hollywood screenwriter wants to craft that particular gem, feel free – Kate McKinnon could pull it off flawlessly.
9. She Has A Degree In Theatre From Columbia University
Education is a bit of a funny thing in Hollywood because to be an actor or comedian, well, you don’t necessarily need a degree. There are many A-Listers who just graduated from high school and packed up and moved to Los Angeles with a dream. However, there are also many who opted to get a degree before trying to make it big in the entertainment industry – and Kate McKinnon was one of the latter group. This smart cookie actually attended Columbia University in NYC, studying theatre. It’s not something you would expect from the comedic genius, but her pedigree proves that she could probably just as easily nail a meaty, dramatic role if that’s what she wanted – but we kind of hope she continues down the comedy path because she’s absolutely hysterical.
8. She’s A Cat Lady
Being considered a cat lady is an insulting idea to many, but it’s a label that McKinnon wears proudly. She first became a mom to a cat baby when she found her current cat, Nino Positano, at a pizzeria, and she makes no secret about how obsessed she is with her cat — during an interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, she referred to little Nino as her son. She also shared the above hilarious photo of her carrying around her overweight cat in a specially designed hoodie, so, seriously – legit cat lady status. As if that weren’t enough, she also indulges her love of felines by doing voice work on a PBS Kids show entitled Nature Cat, and in a recurring sketch on SNL called Whiskers R We with co-star Kristen Wiig. That’s a lot of love for cats!
7. She Doesn’t Really Get Involved With Social Media
Social media has become a huge tool in the life of virtually every celebrity out there – it gives them a chance to offer fans a peek behind the scenes, to check out what their life is like on set, and get a look at what’s involved in getting all glammed up for a red carpet event, etc. While some celebrities absolutely love engaging with their fans on social media, Kate McKinnon isn’t one of them. As she revealed in an interview with the New York Times, “it just feels unnatural to me to broadcast anything other than the character I’ve created.” However, she did confess to the Hollywood Reporter that, if she were to get an Instagram account, it would just feature pictures of her beloved Nino Positano, which shows that she already knows what makes social media tick – adorable animal pictures.
6. She’s Weirded Out By The Thought Of On-Screen Kisses
As is the case with many performers who get their start in improv or sketch comedy, there really isn’t much that Kate McKinnon wouldn’t do to make a scene work. I mean, she’ll do over-the-top impressions, she’ll pull goofy faces, and she’ll wear insane costumes, all to get a laugh from the audience. However, there is one thing that many actresses wouldn’t bat an eye at which McKinnon is totally grossed out by… the on-screen kiss. As she told Details, after a sketch appeared on SNL where she smooched comedian Louis C.K., “if you asked me to seriously kiss someone on a screen, I would be very uncomfortable… but I will lick any part of your face.” So, lesson learned – perhaps McKinnon wouldn’t be the best fit for a serious love story like The Notebook, but she should be first in line for the parody version where there’s crazy face licking.
5. She’s Not A Big Party Animal
Kate McKinnon has probably had coveted invites to SNL after-parties for years, but when it comes to Hollywood and red carpet after-parties, she’s just now getting her foot in the door – but she’s not going to be one of the actresses who the paparazzi catch swigging from a bottle of straight liquor and getting totally out of control. While she has no trouble portraying wild characters on screen, in real life, she’s pretty tame. “The afterparty is always at a restaurant, and for me, the fun starts when I get a cheese platter,” McKinnon joked in an interview, “That’s as f***ed up as I get.” Honestly, when there are so many hot messes in Hollywood who destroy their careers because they focus too much on fame and the party lifestyle, it’s refreshing to see McKinnon’s take on things.
4. Breakfast Is Her Favourite Meal Of The Day
If you ever wonder which meals celebrities truly love, you no longer have to wonder about Kate McKinnon. When it comes to dining, she digs breakfast way more than lunch or dinner — and she even has a specific ritual. “I have to have coffee and two poached eggs with a vegetable quinoa mélange underneath. The dish takes way too much time but I wake up early to make it because it’s my ritual,” says McKinnon. Given how many celebrities confess that they just grab breakfast on the go in the form of a black coffee, we sort of love that McKinnon has this early morning ritual. It takes a true breakfast devotee to poach eggs and pull together that meal every single morning – mad respect, McKinnon.
3. She Had A Pet Iguana Named Willy When She Was A Kid
Many celebrities opt to get unique or exotic pets when they become rich and famous because, well, they can afford to. I mean, who could forget Mike Tyson and his white tigers that cost more to maintain than an average person’s annual salary? Well, while she has an average cat now that she’s a star, Kate McKinnon actually had a slightly unusual pet when she was growing up – an iguana named Willy. That’s right, while other kids were playing fetch with their dogs, McKinnon was dealing with an iguana who she says she had a “contentious relationship” with. “Willy was constantly stressed out, he pooped everywhere, he developed eating problems – it was a mess,” said McKinnon in an interview. We would love to see a childhood photo of McKinnon with her rebellious iguana.
2. If You’re Trying To Make Her Laugh, Just Play Goat And Sheep Noises – They Crack Her Up
When you’re talking to someone as naturally hilarious as Kate McKinnon, it’s probably quite intimidating to even approach the topic of anything funny. After all, why would you bust out your favourite funny impression in front of the queen of impressions? Well, if you ever meet McKinnon and are looking for a way to get her laughing, it turns out there’s a simple answer – and it just requires a quick YouTube search. McKinnon has confessed that she’s endlessly amused by the sounds that sheep and goats make when they bleat/scream like humans. “I cannot keep myself together when I hear that,” she confessed in an interview. When the goat version of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” came out, she must have been unable to do anything but laugh over that for days.
1. She Loves The Idea Of DIY (Although She’s Not Great At It)
In a hilarious interview with Seth Meyers, Kate McKinnon confessed her desire to become involved with DIY and woodworking, like the also hilarious Nick Offerman. “I thought this will bring me peace,” says McKinnon, “I bought all this stuff, I became a regular at my local hardware store.” However, she soon found out that doing something like refinishing a coffee table is, well, a little harder than you might initially think. And with that story, Kate McKinnon officially became like all the rest of us, because honestly, who hasn’t started a project thinking it would be so, so easy and soon found out that it’s pretty much impossible? Every single one of us. Perhaps she can star in a show with Nick Offerman someday where he teaches her how to become a master woodworker – that would 100% become a smash hit.