Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Kate McKinnon unveils her soon-expiring Marianne Williamson impression on Late Night

Kate McKinnon
Screenshot: Late Night With Seth Meyers

“Gosh, I wish there was an SNL show this week,” said Kate McKinnon to pal Seth Meyers on Thursday’s Late Night. And while McKinnon’s doing just fine keeping busy doing press for Yesterday, it’s hard not to feel for the consummate impressionist and goofball when a new, grand-slam public figure wanders right into McKinnon’s wheelhouse. Having sat in with Meyers’ writers room to watch the second Democratic presidential debate before Thursday’s live Late Night, one can only imagine McKinnon’s complicated joy at the emergence onto the national stage of presidential candidate Marianne Williamson.

While McKinnon did trot out her road-tested Elizabeth Warren for Meyers (joking that the eager Warren’s energetically on-point performance at the debate was akin to “a girl on her wedding day when everyone who’d ever bullied her was getting a divorce”), it’s clear that she was itching to unveil the new stuff in the form of her freshly minted, wide-eyed Williamson. For an SNL impressionist, a newsworthy person with “handles” is a gift, and, as self-help author and activist Williamson revealed during Thursday’s debate, she’s fairly bristling with easily identifiable handles for McKinnon to seize upon. The strangely unblinking stare, the sonorous ramble of vague and vaguely New Age-y good intentions, that inexplicable use of the endearment “girlfriend” when referring to another world leader—the bit practically writes itself, even if the on-hiatus SNL would have to have found a way for McKinnon’s Williamson and Warren to be onstage during the inevitable debate cold open.


Alas, Saturday Night Live takes the summers off, leaving McKinnon to reluctantly agree with Meyers assessment that, of the nearly two-dozen Democrats jostling to be the one who will save the world from Donald Trump, Williamson is “the one who might not make it to the fall.” Responding with the performer’s lament to Meyers prediction that “the window for Marianne Williamson impressions might be closing fast,” McKinnon referred to the instantly meme-worthy candidate as “a shining comet” and “a beautiful flower.” (Possibly, even if such descriptors are probably not the bulwarks against a lawless authoritarian takeover that America needs right now.) No word on McKinnon’s feelings about Montana Governor Steve Bullock, Massachusetts Representative Seth Moulton or Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam, the three Democratic candidates who, unlike Williamson, didn’t qualify for the debates, and who, looking at debate-qualifier Williamson’s already-infamous performance, have to have mixed feelings about making the cut next time.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter