On Sunday, Hillary Clinton made the announcement we all were expecting: we’re going to be seeing a lot more of her on Saturday Night Live. Well, that’s not exactly what she said, but happily, it’s the same thing.
But which Hillary will it be? Will it be Amy Poehler? Will she return? She has seniority, experience and name recognition. The comedian, who studied at Second City and at iO with Del Close, built an impressive Hillary portfolio during her eight seasons on Saturday Night Live. She impersonated Hillary alongside Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin and even alongside Hillary herself. She nailed Hillary’s forced lightheartedness and tendency to swing between girlish and steely with no middle ground in between.
Or will it be relative newcomer Kate McKinnon? She has been on Saturday Night Live since 2012 and is one of the cast members who has been making recent seasons memorable. She has an uncanny way of impersonating celebrities. She seems to turn them inside-out, their ticks and inner life on full display. She doesn’t impersonate so much as inhabit and in doing so, she makes her targets both human and insane but insane in universal and highly relatable ways. Her Justin Bieber was more Bieber-like than the Biebs himself. She conjured the sneering Gulf of Mexico-sized ego, but also the lonely teenage boy inside. Her comedy is both hilarious and poignant. I’m not sure how Kate McKinnon does it, but she does.
While Amy Poehler captured Hillary Clinton’s most visible traits, Kate McKinnon brings all the complexities of Clinton’s personality to the surface. Kate McKinnon’s Hillary is waging an epic inner battle between political decorum and megalomania. The great thing is we can see it. When the recent Clinton email scandal broke, Kate McKinnon’s Hillary sat on a couch, eyes gleaming like a jungle cat, snarling, “This is NOT how Hillary Clinton goes down!”
On Saturday Night Live this past weekend, Kate as Hillary jousted with an aide (Vanessa Bayer) over the tone of her upcoming announcement. The results had me laughing so hard my eyes hurt. Will Hillary listen to advice and convey warmth and humility? Mission not accomplished. Will Saturday Night Live return to its glory days? That mission has an excellent chance.
I’m voting for Hillary in 2016. I want four years of Kate McKinnon.
Do you agree? Who is your favorite Hillary?