Emmy win ushers in an age of Kate McKinnon

Gabby Seed

This past July saw the release of an all-female reboot of “Ghostbusters,” a reimagining that many fans weren’t thrilled with. Though I personally enjoyed the movie, the general public was quick to dismiss it as another unnecessary remake with only one saving grace: actress and comedienne Kate McKinnon.

Headlines like “Why Fans Adore Kate McKinnon As Holtzmann in ‘Ghostbusters’” and “We Love You, Kate McKinnon. And Thanks for Saving ‘Ghostbusters’” are some of the first things that come up when Googling the actress’s name alongside the movie’s title.

It takes a special kind of performance from an actor or actress to make a writer say that he or she “saved” an otherwise dreary film. However, McKinnon is no stranger to standing out from the crowd and making her name known.

On Sunday night, McKinnon won her first Emmy — outstanding supporting actress for a comedy — for her work on “Saturday Night Live.” Obviously overwhelmed with emotion, McKinnon’s speech was shaky and tear-filled. She cited her late father for getting her interested in SNL at a young age.

McKinnon joined the 41-year-old variety show in 2012, quickly becoming a star that would replace household names that soon moved on from the show, like Nasim Pedrad, Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. Like Wiig, McKinnon is venturing into the realm of film, with “Sisters” and “Masterminds” serving as a few examples of her filmography.

Though the Academy might not have recognized McKinnon’s greatness until this past weekend, the comedienne’s cult-like fan base celebrated a win they saw as long awaited. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Emmys celebration “set(s) Twitter fans on fire.”

Today’s comedy fans are drawn to non-traditional comedians like McKinnon, SNL’s first openly lesbian cast member. Not only is McKinnon herself non-traditional, but her sketches, impressions and personas represent a range of insanely varied talent.

She is best known for her Justin Bieber and Hillary Clinton impressions, the latter of which she took over from the Amy Poehler (as Hillary Clinton) and Tina Fey (as Sarah Palin) duo, a decidedly difficult act to follow.

Lorne Michaels’ SNL stint hasn’t been consistently solid since the early 2000s, but McKinnon displays consistent talent in every sketch. This is a practically indisputable fact, given that most of the popular and successful sketches and characters of the last year or so have either featured or starred McKinnon.

McKinnon’s impressions have often left me in stitches, and I find myself scouring YouTube to dredge up some of her most memorable past sketches. SNL might not be completely consistent at the moment, but I rest in the knowledge that McKinnon is, if nobody else is.

So I will continue to host my weekly “SNL parties” — which, in fairness, sounds geeky — as soon as the show returns in October. I will also continue to screech whenever I see Kate McKinnon in, well, anything.

And for those of you just getting on board after McKinnon’s Sunday night Emmy win: welcome.

Gabby Seed is a columnist, contact her at [email protected].