Still not sure why all the fuss – and Critics’ Choice Award – over Saturday Night Live‘s Kate McKinnon? Watch these two clips from last night’s rarely dazzling Christmas episode and see her provide the tinsel for some pretty patchy trees.
The first is “Hillary, Actually”, a pre-taped, note-perfect parody of the famous cue card scene from Love, Actually, with the always dependable Cecily Strong in the Keira Knightley role and McKinnon in the card-carrying Andrew Lincoln spot. The gist, in case you didn’t see the movie: Kate/Andrew shows up at the front door of Cecily/Keira to pledge love, but does so silently, with cue cards.
You get the drift, and Strong does too, expertly mimicking Knightly’s every reaction and close-up. But it’s McKinnon who lands the jokes without saying a word – check out the expression after the “Cray” – and suggests something wistful beyond the anti-Trump potshots, maybe a caring and concern that’s more Kate than Hillary.
In the second sketch, “Christmas Miracle” – one of two bits from last night we might see in future SNL holiday clip shows – McKinnon repeats her crude, seen-it-all Colleen Rafferty, this time seated (with two others, played by Strong and host Casey Affleck) before a theological panel to answer questions about recent close encounters with Santa Claus.
The other two encounters are storybook: elves, magic dust, joy. But Colleen’s doesn’t even involve Santa, but rather his helper, a nine-foot-tall goat man named Krinkle Mouse, his ram-horned wife and a pervy Gollum-like creature with a vulgar name and odor of eggs.
There were a couple good jokes – “It wasn’t the worst time I’ve had on all fours” and “Damn it Colleen, you’re becoming your mother” (watch the clip for the set-ups), but the sketch works solely because McKinnon occupies this instantly familiar type like it’s a well-worn Christmas sweatshirt.
Take a look here, and see if you don’t agree: