You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton: Kate McKinnon, and Your Questions for Hillary

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: I’m Hillary Clinton, and this is You and Me Both. On this week’s episode I get to do one of my favorite things: answering questions sent in by our listeners. We’ve heard from so many of you, from Anita down in Florida… 

VOICE MEMO – ANITA: Hello. I watched the whole podcast. I now know what a podcast is. 

HRC: To Kyle out in California… 

VOICE MEMO – KYLE: Hey Hillary, it’s Kyle. Lifelong supporter. Maybe you’ll run again one day. Maybe not. Don’t blame you if you want the rest. 

HRC: We got emails from people across the United States and beyond, from Australia to Germany, Romania, with questions on everything from my time in the Senate, to my favorite desserts, to the quality of the sheets and pillows in the White House. Now, as promised, I’m answering your questions with the help of a very special guest. It took some doing because we both have really busy schedules, but I’m so excited today to have joining me Saturday Night Live’s one and only Kate McKinnon. Kate joined the SNL cast back in 2011, and since then she’s become an Emmy award- winning audience favorite with all of her quirky characters and, of course, her incredible impersonations–everybody from Ellen DeGeneres to Jeff Sessions, from Lindsey Graham to Elizabeth Warren, Angela Merkel, Rudy Giuliani, and yes, me. And you’ve also seen Kate on the big screen, including in the all-women remake of Ghostbusters. She’s currently starring in Joe vs. Carole, a drama series from Peacock based on the 2020 Netflix true crime documentary series Tiger King

[Laughing.] Hi!

KATE MCKINNON: Oh, my gosh! Oh my goodness! 

HRC: I am thrilled to see you. I’m so happy you’re doing this. 

MCKINNON: I’m so happy. I’m scared of podcasts, but I like yours, and this one is nice, so. 

HRC: We’re just going to be really easy. OK, before we start, where’s your cat? 

MCKINNON: Umm— Nino!

HRC: Oh, there! Aw! 

MCKINNON: Say hello to the Secretary. Nini, say hello. 

HRC: How old is that little creature? 

MCKINNON: He is 13, and, and a teenager. You know, he’s getting tattoos, and he’s drinking. 

HRC: You got to watch those teenagers all the time. 

MCKINNON: Yeah. 

HRC: I mean, come on-

MCKINNON: He’s a bad boy.

HRC: Look at the wonderful life you have. What is the, what is wrong with you? [Laughter.]

MCKINNON: Look at who your mother is. 

HRC: Yes, you should be so proud. 

MCKINNON: I’m so fun. You don’t even know how fun I am. 

HRC: It is so great to see you again, and I just want to dive right in—

MCKINNON: Let’s dive.

HRC: to talk with truly one of my, my favorite people. So, Kate, you and I have a lot in common. You’ve played me, so I know we do. 

MCKINNON: I have.

HRC: But we also just got over COVID. And—

MCKINNON: You did?!

HRC: Yes. 

MCKINNON: Oh gosh!

HRC: After dodging it for, you know, two years. Thankfully, I came down with a really mild case, but I was so tired. I was so tired. That was like the only thing that I experienced. 

MCKINNON: Wow. 

HRC: Yeah.

MCKINNON: That’s good. 

HRC: Yeah.

MCKINNON: Good for you. 

HRC: But you’re OK? 

MCKINNON: I got a bad, what felt like a flu? And now I feel like I am a crumpled piece of paper drifting on the wind. I have no agency. I have no vitals. You know, I’m— [Laughs.]

HRC: You need a vacation, my friend. 

MCKINNON: I don’t, well, I don’t know if that would do it. I feel, I feel, you know, I think it’s more the, the crumbling of the post-World War II order that’s making my brain feel a little disorganized but-

HRC: I think that’s actually what happened to me. I think my immune system had been great until Ukraine, and then it just crumbled. And so here we are, but we’re fighting our way back. And that’s to be, I guess, appreciated. And you have a new show out, Joe vs. Carole. Now, honestly, you played Carole Baskin, and I know you love your cat, but how was it, like, loving those big cats? I mean, what was that like? 

MCKINNON: Well, she had made a public request to not utilize big cats during the production, which I found very important because her whole thing is we shouldn’t be interacting with these animals at all, they should only be in the wild. So I was happy that we were able to CGI all the cats. So when there was a cat on screen, it was actually just a very emotive Great Dane. [HRC laughs.] Some of the best actors in the world, I found, are Great Danes. Oh my God, the pathos on those big Great Dane faces. Yikes. 

HRC: Well, you know, you have been really just such an incredible inspiration, and I don’t know, just a great spirit, Kate and—

MCKINNON: Me? I don’t know about that. 

HRC: Well, I mean, I just, I’m just talking as a fan, so you know, you can dismiss it and discount it. But when did you first get interested in comedy and sketch comedy? 

MCKINNON: OK, so as you may, or cannot, tell, I was an odd child. Very, very deeply shy and quiet. I don’t know if you can relate, maybe not, but I was extraordinarily quiet. And people were always wondering, what’s in there? What is she thinking? And I felt always just too scared to speak in my own voice. And so I, I started to appropriate the voices of others and speak in British accents and speak as little weird characters and quote lines from movies and stuff. And I felt it so much easier to get any volume in my voice at all if I was doing a “voice” in quotes, and that, you know, led my kindergarten teacher to call my mother and say, “We don’t know if she’s understanding the difference between fiction and reality,” because I was so often speaking in film quotes. Anyway, you know, that’s saying too much here. But the point is, it became a, like a, I mean, it’s a coping mechanism clearly for social anxiety, and then I just like spun it into a career magically. So that’s great. [Laughs.]

HRC: Yeah, I mean, I really admire that. And I read that your father first introduced you to Saturday Night Live when you were what, about 12 or so?

MCKINNON: Yes, my mother and my father both were big SNL fans, and they would walk around the house quoting Mr Bill, and Toonces the Driving Cat, and the Landshark. And I thought these were just American idioms to go, “Oh nooo!”, you know, all these quotes. They were, my parents, both very, very funny. So it sort of was just like a household currency. 

HRC: Yeah. Well, your sister didn’t, isn’t your sister, Emily Lynne also—? 

MCKINNON: My sister is a comedian, and we’ve done a bunch of projects together, and that’s just the greatest thing in the world, because we do share a sense of humor, and not everyone else does. [Cackles with laughter.]

HRC: But, but at what point did you think, “I could make a living at this. I could be a professional actor, comedian.” 

MCKINNON: Only after booking my first job, I had never considered it as a way of life. I thought, I’m too much of a Capricorn. I don’t–not that astrology is real, except that it’s always correct. [Laughs.] And I, so I’m very, very deeply practical. And so I booked my first job, which was on a show called The Big Gay Sketch Show, and then I thought, Well, OK, I’ll give it a whirl, because I’ve already booked this job, but it’s not going to work out. And then for a long time, it didn’t. And then I thought, I’ll go to farm school, and I’ll, you know, that’s fine. And then I was hired at Saturday Night Live, and so I continued then. But it’s always sort of touch and go. 

HRC: Yeah, and did you try out for SNL? I mean, I hear about these really infamous tryouts that are conducted. 

MCKINNON: Yes, yes.

HRC: Sounds terrifying. 

MCKINNON: It is. It’s a tribunal, in the dark. Well, you know, you’ve testified in congressional hearings plenty- 

HRC: Yeah, well, I’ve had a few comparable experiences.

MCKINNON: Yeah, you’re fine. Yeah, I think you’d passed with flying colors, 

HRC: But you got the gig. I didn’t. 

MCKINNON: Oh my gosh.

MCKINNON: So, you know, that’s the only big difference. 

MCKINNON: Benghazi. Yeah, I mean, I watched the hearings. I’ve watched you. 

HRC: Was that sort of like an SNL audition? Is that, is that, was that the comparable experience? 

MCKINNON: No, yours seemed, yours seemed a lot worse. 

HRC: So what year was it that you started on SNL

MCKINNON: It was 2011, and I had moved to Los Angeles to do a showcase, and I thought, OK, this is my last ditch effort as a comedian. I’ll do this showcase, and then I’ll come home, and I’ll figure something else out, and I’ll be fine. And, but I always knew, you know, Saturday Night Live is, is so important to me as a comedian because it’s really the only place that people are doing character comedy, the kind of comedy I love. But also, as an American, it’s like, it’s like our collective way of processing so many things. And for so many years, I got my news from Saturday Night Live. So it always meant everything to me, and in the back of my mind, I was like, Well, I’ll never get on the show, but I, it is my dream, and I should at least try my darndest to at least audition. And then I got that chance after many years of doing comedy in a basement. And yeah, it was scary, but I, I had prepared as much as I possibly could prepare for something. I usually wing stuff— 

HRC: But this was, this was too big of a deal.

MCKINNON: I was like, if I don’t, I need to do everything I possibly can, or I won’t be able to live with myself afterwards. 

HRC: Did you do impersonations when you tried out or did the impersonating–you know, everybody literally, from Justin Bieber to Jeff Sessions to me, which we’ll get to in a minute–did you do impersonations before SNL, or was that something that happened while you were there? 

MCKINNON: I did. I learned a lot more about what goes into an impression inside of the pressure cooker of SNL, but I had always been doing impressions. I just think that a person’s voice is, for me, somehow the key to their inner struggles. I feel that, like, I can listen to someone’s voice and understand what they want and what’s getting in the way, which is, to me, the foundational blocks of any character, even a sketch character. And other people understand it through physicality or through what they say or their hair or whatever. For me, it’s just, my way in is always someone’s voice. And so, I’ve always loved impressions because you can just listen to someone, and I feel like I understand them or I have a theory about them. And what is a character really, but a theory about how best to live, or a theory about what happens if you live a certain way? 

HRC: Mm hmm. Yeah no, I like that. I mean, it is interesting how you get into a different character, how you even try to understand somebody if you’re not an actor like you are. And when you start thinking about how you’re going to try to portray somebody, do you listen to their voice, is that how you try to capture it? 

MCKINNON: Yes, I listen to hours and hours of YouTube footage. I don’t know how anyone produced a sketch show before YouTube. I mean, I think they were in there with VCRs copying news reports. It must have been impossible. But I, yes, I listen to hours, and I try to come up with, again, just what, what they want, and what’s blocking them, which are usually two disparate elements of their persona. That tension and that juxtaposition is what makes a character. For instance, I played Angela Merkel. And I thought, Well, how am I going to? What am I going to latch on to about this? I don’t speak German. I, I wish I did! What a gorgeous language with its many, many noun cases. But I wanted to capture something about her, and to me, what was the juxtaposition there that was interesting was that she’s this like staunch German politician, and yet there’s almost a, I saw a glimmer of like a girlish longing and insecurity and sweetness underneath that, and that tension is what I just sort of like, me and the writer who wrote it, just sort of like spun up into a sketch.

HRC: That’s so interesting, because yeah, because I know her, and you did. That’s a very good capture. 

MCKINNON: Yeah?

HRC: Oh yeah. 

MCKINNON: Is it? 

HRC: Because when I have spent personal time, private time with her, she’s funny, she’s unguarded, she is a good storyteller, she is very effusive. And then, you know, she does have to put on the, “I’m the leader of my country walk,” and go forth. But yeah, you really captured that. 

MCKINNON: That’s great! 

HRC: But you have to be almost an acute psychologist to do what you do, because you’ve got to find something to hold on to. I mean, you do somebody like Jeff Sessions, oh my gosh, I mean, what do you hang on to? I mean, what is there that you’re going to be able to find relatable, let alone, you know, humorous? It, it really requires some, some in-depth thinking, right? 

MCKINNON:  I mean, for that one, I just, I disagreed so vehemently with everything that he was doing and, and thought. But to me, he seemed like a perfectly jovial person, [HRC laughs] like a, filled with effervescent, puckish joy. And I thought, Well, that’s an interesting tension. 

HRC: That’s so interesting.

MCKINNON: I, you know, I hate what this guy’s doing, and yet I think I would like him if, if I didn’t know his politics. He’s this sort of, there’s something impish and boy-like about him that I, that I responded to. And that, to me, was an interesting tension. 

HRC: Are there people on your list that you want to impersonate at any time in the future, somebody that pops into mind? 

MCKINNON: Politicians are definitely my favorite because there’s always, and maybe you can attest to this, there’s always layers built in- 

HRC: Yeah.

MCKINNON: Because someone’s, the persona that any politician presents, I’m guessing, you know, correct me if I’m wrong, is not what is underneath, it’s something that’s constructed, and there’s always comedic tension to be mined there between someone’s persona and their private life. 

HRC: Well, obviously I saw that when you portrayed me. You know, I thought it was pretty brilliant. I loved doing that scene with you where I was Val, the bartender. 

MCKINNON: That was the best night of my life. [Laughs.]

HRC: I had so much fun. I was just so taken by the whole experience because even though I’d been on SNL, I think, once before, but it was some years prior, being there that time and having, you know, a whole scene where you and I were doing it together, and then going up to Lorne’s office while you talked about how it was going, and what the, you know, changes were needed, I found that fascinating. 

MCKINNON: I loved that so much because we had talked about, you know, I remember watching with absolute joy when you came on with Amy Poehler and we talked about doing something like that. And then our writers, Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, who are brilliant, were like, “No, it should be a more conversational, less presentational thing. What if you guys did a scene together?” And I thought, Oh, yeah, great. And then you were so funny, and you so embodied the character of Val the bartender. [Laughter.]

HRC: Yeah. You know, I mean, yeah, have me back. I mean, you know, the bartender has lots to talk about right now! I mean, there is so much going on! [MCKINNON laughs.] Hey, man, you know, let’s discuss the world! I have to say, I also, along with, you know, millions of other people, was just really knocked out by your singing “Hallelujah” that first episode after the 2016 election. And, you know, I didn’t know whether I’d ever get a chance to thank you or certainly do it in a, you know, public way. But that was an incredible performance, and it was so meaningful to me. How did that even come together? How did you all decide to do that? 

MCKINNON: Well, thank you, first of all, that means a lot. And we were, we had bandied a few things about. We were all so broken. I know for me that was the biggest heartbreak of my life other than my father dying when I was a teenager. I was so…  you know. And Leonard Cohen had passed that week, and my same, the same writer friends, Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, had sent along this verse of “Hallelujah” that I had never heard of, about “even when things go wrong, standing before the Lord of Song with nothing on your tongue but Hallelujah.” And I thought, Ah, that’s what this moment calls for if we can muster it. And I wanted to… it just came from a very personal place of wanting to commiserate and provide some shred of something to people who were devastated. And I knew it was going to not sit well with people who weren’t. And I just had to, you know, I just, I had to share how I felt. It was like a very primitive, just wanting to connect with my countrymen in that moment. And, and also on some level with you, I mean, I didn’t figure you’d be watching, but I wanted to say something that I thought you might say. And I thought, maybe you, in your infinite strength, might offer some ray of hope at that moment. [Takes a deep breath.] I wanted to just give people a hug, basically. 

HRC: Yeah, yeah, it was. It felt like a big hug and, you know, people still come up and cry with me, or around me, and so it just had such a huge impact on so many people. 

We’re taking a quick break. Stay with us. 

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HRC: You know, you’ve said, and I’ve heard you in other interviews and read, that you have a lot of eclectic interests, which I relate to, I mean-

MCKINNON: You do? 

HRC:  Everything from– I do, because I’m so I’m interested in so many odds and ends. And you’re interested in astrophysics, music theory, the history of the Silk Road, which I really relate to. So what are you interested in these days? What, you know, what’s catching your attention? 

MCKINNON: Well, other things that are in my fancy right now mostly have to do with survival. And I think you can understand why. [HRC laughing.] I’ve become very interested suddenly in plant science, farming, growing food, plumbing, heating and cooling systems, construction, things like that. 

HRC: Very good. 

MCKINNON: I’m a prepper now. [HRC laughing.] I will be going to my bunker and planting my-

HRC: You got your bunker picked out? I mean, do you know where it is? 

MCKINNON: I drive every weekend to look for it. Yeah, yeah. Don’t worry. Don’t worry about me. 

HRC: Well, just let me know in case I need a bunker. You know, you always need a spare bunker. You never know what’s going to happen. Well, as you know, we set aside some time in this last episode of the season to answer some listener questions, and you’ve graciously agreed to come along for the ride on this. And so let’s get started. See what people have on their minds, Kate. 

MCKINNON: Oh, my goodness. OK, so I have these printed out and I will read them to you and you would answer them as yourself. 

HRC: As myself. OK. Not, not as Val the bartender, but as-

MCKINNON: Or, or take on your alter ego, but get the shirt, please, and the nametag. Otherwise we won’t understand what’s going on. OK. This is from Melinda. “Dear Madam Secretary, or as you are now known in my head, Hilly Billy” [HRC laughs] which I think is so great, “I am a voracious reader, as I know you are. I have you to thank for introducing me to Louise Penny, whose entire oeuvre I have now devoured, including State of Terror, which was excellent. My question to you is this: What have you been reading lately, and what would you recommend?” 

HRC: Great question. Well, because I did have COVID and was down for a week, I caught up on some of my favorite historic fiction kind of series, so I read the latest Donna Leon, great mysteries set in Venice if you have not discovered those. I read the latest Charles Todd, set in 1920s after World War I England, very good. And then I’ve recently discovered the historical novels by Sharon Kay Penman. I’m reading her series about King Henry and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Very interesting.  Not only well-done, but really engrossing. So those are some of the things I’m reading. 

MCKINNON: Wow. What happens? Don’t tell me! [Laughter.] OK, here we have a question from Craig Flickinger. “What are your thoughts on the state of attack we find on the LGBTQ+ community with Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill passing 22 to 17, and Texas with its anti-trans agenda. I can’t help but wonder how this plays into the midterm elections.” 

HRC: Oh my gosh. First of all, it’s profoundly outraging and deeply sad that you have people in positions of power in our country who are more interested in undermining and opposing the rights of individuals than they are in bringing people together. And I think people have to stand up to it and the idea “Don’t say gay,” I mean, I think people should go around, you know, saying “gay” all the time. Anything we can do to puncture the hypocrisy and the cruelty that lies behind this, we need to be doing. So, that’s, you know, my hope. And do it with comedy. Do it with political action. And you mentioned the midterms, and let me just say, please, please turn out and vote. You know, the hypocrites and the hate mongers win when people don’t vote. So that would be my plea as we move forward in this year. 

MCKINNON: Let’s say it now, together, on three. 

HRC: One, two three: gay. Gay, gay, gay. 

MCKINNON: This is from Fi, or her email handle is Gryffindorequestriangirl. 

HRC: That’s a good one!

MCKINNON: “Hello, Hillary and mystery guest-” Ah! It’s me! Hello! “I have two questions. I hope that’s OK. One. What are some of your favorite songs and artists? My favorites are Joanne and Born to Die, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift and Nate Ruess. And do you have any pets? And how are they doing?” 

HRC: Well, let’s start with the easy question on pets. Yes. We have two dogs. Well, we have a labradoodle named Maisie, and we have a toy poodle named Tally, short for Tallulah. They’re both getting up in years, but they still are full of personality and incredibly fun to be around. Now, as to songs, I like your question and I like what you said about some of your favorites. So here’s what I’m currently doing. You know, I’ve always loved, from the time I was, you know, literally a teenager up until now, I’ve always loved listening to women’s voices. You know, women like Carole King and Judy Collins and Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell. I mean, they were really formative. So now, fast forward a very long time, I am listening to a lot of the really famous young women. So, I love, I love Lady Gaga. I love her both as a performer and a singer. I just really also like her sensibility. I mean, just in the last week, the way that she was with Liza Minnelli at the ill fated, infamous Oscars, she ended that with such a note of grace, which was well needed. At the Grammys, which I was watching, you know, she came and and carried the the train of a skirt for someone who was having trouble because of crutches. So, I like Lady Gaga. I really like Adele. I listen to everything Adele does. I’m listening to a lot of Taylor Swift, and I really like Taylor Swift. I like her storytelling. I’m getting really into Taylor Swift. I’m starting to listen to Billie Eilish. I think her talent is so multifaceted, everything from, you know, James Bond to ballads and all in between. So I’m just, I’m kind of educating myself, if that makes sense to you. Trying to hear and listen and learn about this new wonderful generation of wonderful women singers. 

MCKINNON: Wow. Bless you. 

HRC: How about you, Kate? Who do you listen to these days? 

MCKINNON: I stick, I just I stick with songs that I learned in college, and that’s it. 

HRC: Easier that way. 

MCKINNON: I don’t like to try new foods, OK? That’s not true. I do like to try new foods, which leads us into our next question from Kathie Lee. “I think you’ve said that your favorite job was being the U.S. senator from New York for eight years. Can you talk about a couple of issues-” OK, so the food part comes later. “Can you talk about a couple of issues that you worked on that were most meaningful to you, or events that are most memorable, that are not related to the 9/11 tragedy?” 

HRC:  Well, obviously 9/11 was the overwhelming experience. But then the after effects of 9/11, trying to get health care for the first responders and the emergency workers, and fighting that battle for years, trying to make sure that, you know, victims and their families got compensation because of the horrific losses that they experienced, and then rebuilding, rebuilding, you know, lower Manhattan, I spent a lot of time putting together legislation and deals to help get that started. I also spent a lot of time on health care, as you might guess, because I worked really hard and had been part of getting health care for kids. But then there were so many other issues, and one that I worked a lot on was trying to make sure that drug companies didn’t just treat children like small adults when they came to doing drug trials, because they’re not small adults and they need, you know, really special attention, as we’re seeing now with the COVID vaccines, which have been literally miraculous. For children under five, they’re not quite getting it right. It seems to be safe, but not that effective. And so frankly, the work that I did back when I was a senator is absolutely instrumental in how they’re trying to figure out, you know, what are the right doses and what’s safe and what works for kids with vaccines. I spent, you know, a lot of time on environmental issues, something I care deeply about, and I just don’t want to see our rules and regulations turned back. We, we fought hard to get clean water and clean air, and by God, those should be everybody’s birthright. 

MCKINNON: Well, bless you for that because I drink a gallon of New York City tap water a day and it’s been treatin’ me right.

HRC: And it’s good water! 

MCKINNON: It’s the best water in the world. 

HRC:  It is such good water. And you know, I just would add, Kate, because you’ve raised one of my favorite issues, New York City’s tap water. Look at why it’s so good, in part because one hundred and fifty years ago or so, people who ran New York City and New York state made the decision to buy up land upstate which had waterways and to create a reservoir system and then to protect it all these years. And it’s been one of the most important pieces of legislation, I think, passed in, certainly, New York and maybe even the country, because New York City water is still very lightly, if at all, filtered because it has been kept so pure from the sources. So if you plan ahead and you do the right things, it has long term, you know, positive effects. 

MCKINNON: Amen. And Kathie Lee also asks, and this, I want to know, “Can you share a favorite dish or dessert from five different places that you’ve traveled, because you’ve traveled every part of this world?” 

HRC: Oh my God, you know-

MCKINNON: You don’t have to do five. But you know, I’m curious. 

HRC: Yeah, I mean, OK, look, I adore dessert. Let’s start there. OK? 

MCKINNON: Uh huh.

HRC: I mean, let’s not be-

MCKINNON: OK. 

HRC: Let’s, let’s not pretend like I don’t adore dessert because I do. And I would have to say, anywhere you go in Italy, whether it is gelato of every flavor or tiramisu or any other incredible Italian dessert, I’m in, right? If you go to France, anything chocolate. I don’t know why, it is what my go to is. If you go to, I will say, Armenia, where I have been twice, I had the best fruit for dessert I think I’ve ever had in my life–apricots, peaches, cherries. I don’t know why. I don’t know why they were so delicious, but I just absolutely adored them. So those are just some of my favorites from my travels. 

MCKINNON: You heard it here first, folks. Stone fruits from the Caucasus. [HRC laughs.] The best. 

HRC: We’ll be right back. 

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MCKINNON: All right, and from Leslie in Oregon: “Pretty much everyone I know wrote to you after you quote unquote lost in 2016. It was somehow comforting for us and we hoped in some small way to lift you up and also to thank you for your courage and leadership. But how did it feel? Could you bear to read any of that mail and did it help?” 

HRC: Well, yes, it helped a lot and I tried to answer every one of them, and I don’t know, I hope I answered yours and your friends because it meant the world to me. You know, I got such heartfelt letters and they came from people of all ages, all kinds of formats, some, you know, pictures that little kids did for me, some heart rending, long handwritten letters, some very smart, typed formal letters, but with an impact to them. I got thousands and thousands and they will all end up in the library somewhere at some point. What was so moving to me was that the people who were writing me after that election were people who’d really paid attention. They didn’t just dip in and out of the campaign. They paid attention to what the candidates were saying, and they paid attention to what I was saying. And so their feelings were really rooted in an understanding of what I was not only saying, but what I intended to try to do, and that was particularly meaningful to me. 

MCKINNON: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. OK. And last but not least, we have two voicemails. Here’s one of them. 

VOICE MEMO – LEAH: Hi, Hillary. My name is Leah. I’m from Brooklyn. My question for you is, were the beds in the White House comfortable? Thanks.

HRC: [Laughs.] Leah, they were very comfortable. And I have to tell you that the mattress in the White House was so comfortable that, you know, when we moved, since the White House would provide a new mattress for our successor, we said, Can we take the mattress with us? And they said, Sure, we’re just going to throw it away otherwise. So literally, we had that mattress for 20 years. In fact, Leah, we have just bought a new mattress. It was that comfortable for that long. 

MCKINNON: [Laughs.] OK. And here’s one more.

VOICE MEMO – SOPHIE: Hi, Secretary Clinton, my name is Sophie and I am in Virginia. And my question is more about your personal daily routine. I think for many of us and certainly you, the past six years have felt like one trauma after another. And I think many of us are grappling with how we spend our time, day to day, in order to keep hope and to keep optimism going, both for ourselves, but also the people who are around us. I love to walk a lot. I love to read. But I’m wondering if there are other things that you personally do and that you are committed to to keep yourself feeling hopeful. Thank you. 

HRC: Oh, Sophie, yeah, I know that that’s a really common feeling and I feel it myself, so I really relate to your question. Here’s what I have done, and it really helps me a lot. One is, spend a lot of time outdoors. I try to go for a walk, and I try to go to a place like a park, a preserve, some woods, just anything to kind of break my routine and try to walk for an hour. I highly recommend it. You know, there’s a concept in Japanese called “forest bathing,” which I love the concept of, where you are just immersed in nature. So hiking, walking, biking, anything that gets you outdoors. I’m a huge supporter of that. Secondly, I like to spend time with, you know, people that are positive and have positive energy because there’s so much that’ll drag you down these days. So spending time with people that I like and admire, people who are old friends and new friends, I’m very grateful for that. As a grandmother, I spent a lot of time with my grandchildren. I have a seven year old granddaughter and a five and two and a half year old grandson, so I have three altogether. And they are constantly, you know, just little engines of positivity. I also try to read and watch things that make me laugh, make me smile, make me think, but don’t depress me because, you know, I’m not tuning in to all of the meanness and the anger. I read about it, which I can handle better than watching it. And then I use my social media to speak out against it. I’m angry beyond words about Ukraine and what Russia and Putin are doing, and so I’m trying to be helpful there, but I’m trying not to let it totally consume me. So I don’t know if that’s helpful, Sophie, but that’s how I try to deal with a lot of the stuff that we’re all living with. 

MCKINNON: [Sighs.] Gosh. You know, I love you. I’ll say it. I do [laughs], you know, as a public figure and as a person. You know, you watch that many hours of footage of someone and you feel like you- I feel like you’re my best friend. I know that you don’t feel the same about me necessarily [laughs] but I, you know, I feel like I really got to understand and adore you on a very personal level. And it has just been the absolute honor of my life to have any proximity to you at all. And so thank you for having me on this podcast and for being my Val. 

HRC:  Thank you so much for doing this, Kate, and right back at you, and let’s go out and have some dessert sometime. 

MCKINNON: OK, great. 

HRC: You won’t find Kate on social media, but you can find her on this season of Saturday Night Live, which wraps up later this month, and on the Peacock drama series Joe vs. Carole

And I want to give a big thank you to all of you who called or wrote in with your questions for this episode. I so appreciate hearing from each and every one of you. I wish we had the time to answer all of your questions. 

And that, my friends, is it for this season of You and Me Both. We’ll be back in a few months, but in the meantime, we’ve got lots of great conversations you can go back and listen to, including another round of listener questions I answered with help from James Corden. 
You and Me Both is brought to you by iHeartRadio. We’re produced by Julie Subrin, Kathleen Russo and Rob Russo, with help from Huma Abedin, Oscar Flores, Lindsay Hoffman, Brianna Johnson, Nick Merrill, Laura Olin, Lona Valmoro and Binita Zaman. Our engineer is Zach McNees and original music is by Forrest Gray. If you like You and Me Both, please tell someone else about it. And if you’re not already a subscriber, what are you waiting for? You can subscribe to You and Me Both on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening. Let’s keep taking care of ourselves, each other, and our democracy, and I’ll see you when we come back.