While fans and critics can debate all day over the quality of the sketches on Saturday Night Live, or which generation of cast was superior, the fact is that SNL still churns out weekly episodes that get people talking. And, when a Kate McKinnon character widens her eyes and stares with a superhuman toothy grin you know the sketch is going to be a winner. In the four decades since Saturday Night Live first aired in 1975, the series' cultural reach has been one of its defining legacies and that wouldn't be the case without the series' cast members and the bold, insane, and nonsense characters that they've brought into the world.
While every one can remember McKinnon's amazing impressions of politicians, it takes an SNL purist to remember her countless characters that are less iconic. But for Kate McKinnon, who began her run on Saturday Night Live back in 2012, the list of less iconic characters are still painfully funny and just as Emmy-worthy as anything else she's done in her magnificent run up to this point. The best Kate McKinnon SNL characters are all at once brash, bold, and charming.
Just by looking at all the Kate McKinnon characters from Saturday Night Live on this list, it's obvious that McKinnon is one of the best things to come out of the show in the last decade. To celebrate her talent before she leaves the halls of Studio 8H for good, let's get dumped out of an alien spacecraft that looks like an airplane toilet and onto the roof of a Long John Silver's because it's time to rank this list of all Kate McKinnon characters from Saturday Night Live.
Without a doubt McKinnon's most well-known character, Colleen Rafferty is everything Kate McKinnon does best wrapped up into one sketch. Sitting with her legs apart and smoking a cigarette right down to the filter, Rafferty explains, in that coarse, blunt, McKinnon way, her less than ideal alien abduction experience as her friends describe their transcendent close encounters. Showcasing just how funny McKinnon is when she's not doing much at all - she has Ryan Gosling and company laughing throughout the entire sketch - Colleen Rafferty became a fan favorite even before she got dumped on top of that Long John Silver's.
Barbara DeDrew is a very simple carricature of a cat lady, but Kate McKinnon brings all her wierdness to the character as she slurs and smiles her way through this pun-filled sketch. Laughing it up with Kristen Wiig, whose character lost track of her age in a bunker, McKinnon's DeDrew is one of her most popular characters, maybe because of the wig, because of the Wiig, or just because the sketch has a lot of cute kittens.
Whenever Russia is in the news, whether it's during the Sochi Olympics or because of Ukraine, it gives Kate McKinnon a chance to do her best Russian accent and appear as the beleaguered Olya Povlatsky on Weekend Update. In true McKinnon fashion, Olya enjoys shouting (through deranged smiles) about how miserable her life is as those around her try not to laugh. She also dated a dog who was the top lawyer in her village, so that's something.
Debette Goldry is Hollywood royalty, although when she shows up at various film functions and panels with other celebrities, it becomes clear just how ancient, out of touch, and insane she really is. Featuring McKinnon as the most nonsensical, rambling old actress, Goldry defends every horrible practice of Hollywood as the females around her seem shocked at what she had to endure. From being forced to marry a gay chimpanzee to being doped up on opium throughout her career, Goldry is a relic that McKinnon plays with ease.