The first time Kate McKinnon impersonated Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen DeGeneres Show was in 2013. Back then, she was still in her first year at Saturday Night Live and visibly nervous to be seated next to her comedy idol.
The comedian and star of the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot had a lot more confidence on Wednesday’s show when she strode out onto the stage dressed in the exact same outfit as the host and immediately launched into her “I’m Ellen” impression.
Standing next to DeGeneres, McKinnon delivered the day’s monologue in character. The story she told included a dog named “Kid” and her obsession with “kitty-kitty-kitty-cats.” The audience got a treat when both Ellens danced their way up and down the aisles together.
Later in the show, McKinnon re-emerged as herself and talked about what it’s like to impersonate people like DeGeneres, Justin Bieber, or Hillary Clinton while they are standing right beside her. “It is a lot of pressure,” she said, “because all of my impressions come out of absolute love for whoever I’m doing.”
“It is nerve-wracking,” she continued, “because it’s kind of like getting caught playing dress-up in your mom’s closet and you just want to be like, ‘Mommy, am I pretty?’” She described Clinton, with whom she shared the SNL stage back in October, as “so warm, so gracious” and “very funny.” She also praised Clinton’s own impression of Donald Trump from that sketch.
In an interview last year, McKinnon said she is “rooting for [Clinton], obviously,” but that doesn’t mean her portrayal hasn’t hurt the candidate. Unlike the aloof version of Clinton played by Amy Poehler, McKinnon represents her as a ruthless and often unfeeling machine who will stop at nothing to reach the Oval Office.
Most recently, she acknowledged Clinton’s failures by singing the Bonnie Raitt ballad “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” Perhaps McKinnon could make voters love Hillary, but so far she hasn’t.