“This is crazy. Is this crazy? This is crazy.”
Those were Kate McKinnon’s first words when E! News congratulated her after this morning’s announcement that she received an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy, and her disbelief only became more apparent from there.
“I think it’s f-cked up,” she tells us of the nomination. “I think there’s been an error, and I think I don’t know what I’m thinking, but I appreciate it and I am so thrilled and so happy.“
While an Emmy nomination (for the second time!) may seem crazy to her, anyone who has ever watched McKinnon on Saturday Night Live will absolutely disagree. This is not crazy. Had McKinnon not been nominated, that’s when things would have gotten crazy.
That’s not to say it’s not going to be a tough competition. She is joined in her category by the likes of Julie Bowen, Mayim Bialik, Gaby Hoffman, Jane Krakowski, Niecy Nash, and Anna Chlumksy, along with last year’s winner, Allison Janney.
“Reading the list of the other women in that category, I just crapped my pants,” McKinnon says.
That is quite the pants-crapping list of talented women, but it’s also a list of seven women who played seven characters total. McKinnon often plays seven characters in one night, and she does it better than most.
The 31 year-old actress has been at or near the top of SNL’s list of MVP’s since she joined the cast in 2012, and quickly became a fan favorite. From Weekend Update’s Russian friend Olya to her delightfully exasperated impression of Hilary Clinton, McKinnon has created a whole cast of characters who elicit huge applause from the studio audience whenever they appear on screen. If it weren’t weird, those of us watching at home would probably be clapping too.
We tried to get McKinnon to pick a character she was most proud of, but she couldn’t name just one.
“My joy in life is to play a multitude of characters, which is why I love working [on SNL] so much,” McKinnon says. “I think the whole appeal of the show, and why it’s been there for 40 years, is that you know, you witness something happen in the real world and then you, a day later, get to collectively have a sigh, point your finger at it, and laugh at it, and just laugh at it together as a country. Being part of that, and getting to see something on TV and then say, ‘Oh that’s funny, I want to do that,’ and then have this incredible team of people make me a wig and costume and have this amazing team of writers to work with—it’s just the greatest job in the world.“
So how does one of the world’s funniest women, with the greatest job in the world, spend the night before the Emmy nominees are announced? Definitely not sleeping.
“I feel great. I’m tired as hell. I couldn’t sleep. I wanted to sleep so bad but I kept having like weird hallucinogenic nightmares, you know,” McKinnon says, and we had to silently acknowledge that no, we do not know what it’s like to anticipate a major award nomination.
She continues: “I thought that this definitely wasn’t going to happen and I tried to put it out of my mind, but I was also naturally curious so was just sort of like not really able to sleep.”
When the time came, the news actually came from McKinnon’s mother.
“She called me. She, I learned, was also unable to sleep,” McKinnon says. “She’s very savvy, my mom. My mom watches really obscure stuff on IFC. She’s a real comedy fan. She knows everything that’s going on. It’s hilarious. So she found out before me and she called me.“
Of course, McKinnon isn’t taking all the credit for her nomination and potential award, because SNL requires a huge team of people in order to run smoothly.
“I love the people I work with so much, and I feel like it’s just for them, and they’re just the greatest people, and I’m so proud to work there with all of those people,” McKinnon says.
Come Emmy night, hopefully McKinnon can keep her pants clean long enough to meet fellow nominees Jane Krakowski and Niecy Nash, who she “f-cking love[s],” but for now, she’s got one very simple plan for how to celebrate her nomination.
“I’m going to walk down the street and maybe listen to some great rap music,” McKinnon says.
She’s also going to continue filming her starring role in next year’s highly-anticipated all-female reboot of Ghostbusters, but whatever. No big deal.