You may know her as Justin Bieber, Kellyanne Conway, Hillary Clinton, or Ellen Degeneres—now SNL’s Kate McKinnon adds ELLE cover star to the list. For its Women In Comedy issue, out Tuesday, June 20, McKinnon gets interviewed by SNL alum Tina Fey about SNL impressions, her new movie Rough Night, and more. To celebrate the coup, as well as other women in comedy making waves, McKinnon joined ELLE editrix Robbie Meyers and women in media, plus a few guys, for a night of standup with headliners Jamie Lee, Cristela Alonzo (behind sitcom “Cristela”), Whitney Cummings (behind sitcoms “2 Broke Girls” and “Whitney”), and Tiffany Haddish at PublicArts in NYC’s Nolita nabe. Below, a sneak peek of the interview before the issue comes out next Tuesday!
Tina Fey: Let’s talk about political characters, Kate! How extensively do you follow politics in real life?
Kate McKinnon: I wasn’t a newspaper person until I got hired here. You have to get ideas from somewhere, and when the election began, I began reading [the New York Times]. Now it’s an everyday thing. When we’re off, I try not to do it as much because you want to have a moment of joy.
Tina Fey: It’s kind of stressful and all-consuming. When you play a person like Kellyanne Conway, what are the advantages of building a character off that person, as opposed to a common character?
Kate McKinnon: It’s much easier for me to do an impression of someone real, because you and the audience begin with a baseline understanding of this person’s life. And then if you subvert that in any way, it’s a little comedy surprise. That does the bulk of the work for you.