Kate McKinnon reveals how her Saturday Night Live 'Close Encounter' goodbye sketch came together

·2 min read

Throughout her run on Saturday Night Live, Kate McKinnon became famous for her "Close Encounter" sketches, in which her nutty character Ms. Rafferty recounted the intimate (and hilarious) details of her abductions by a race of lewd aliens.

In the cold opening of her final episode, she reprised her role once again, this time discovering that the extraterrestrials wanted to take a human with them… permanently.

"Well, I can read the room," she said in the sketch. "It's me, right? Well, sure, why not? I always kind of felt like an alien on this planet anyway."

Now, McKinnon has opened up about how the bizarre and touching send-off came to be.

"A while ago, Streeter [Seidell, SNL writing supervisor] and Mikey [Day, SNL writer and actor] had floated the idea of me getting in a spaceship at the end," she said on a new episode of Vulture's Good One podcast. "And I thought that was beautiful."

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Pictured: Kate McKinnon as Ms. Rafferty during the Final Encounter cold open on Saturday, May 21, 2022
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Pictured: Kate McKinnon as Ms. Rafferty during the Final Encounter cold open on Saturday, May 21, 2022

Will Heath/NBC Kate McKinnon takes her final bow on 'Saturday Night Live.'

McKinnon added that she didn't actually write the "I always kind of felt like an alien" line, though she thought it was spot-on. "I read it in the draft that they sent, and I was like, 'Oh, shoot, this kind of lays me bare,' but I loved it. It was exactly what I would say if I had written it. I felt a little naked doing it, but in a good way."

The sketch concluded with McKinnon standing on the entrance ramp of the spaceship, desperately trying to hold back her very real tears and saying, "Well, Earth, I love ya. Thanks for letting me stay a while."

As perfect as the sketch turned out to be, it wasn't McKinnon's initial idea for her goodbye. She originally wanted to play her sloppy barfly character, Sheila Sovage.

As Sheila, she would have made out with every single one of her fellow cast members. "But due to COVID restrictions and due to the other idea being such a beautiful idea, we went with that," she told Vulture. "So I didn't get to make out with everyone, which is a bother… but maybe one day."

Watch McKinnon's final "Close Encounter" sketch above.

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