New Saturday Night Live cast members often struggle to make an impression. But not Kate McKinnon. She’s been the MVP of SNL since, well, pretty much her first episode, and never looked back. In four short years she’s gone from an unknown, first plying her wares for Logo’s The Big Gay Sketch Show, to a Ghostbuster. She’s been nominated for three Emmys, and will be cohosting the 2016 Spirit Awards with Kumail Nanjiani on Feb. 27th at 5P ET on IFC. To get you ready for Kate’s big cohosting gig, here are ten of her most drop dead funny SNL characters . Watch these, and tell us she isn’t the next big thing in comedy.
10. Hillary Clinton
McKinnon isn’t the first comedian to play Hillary Clinton, and if things work out for the former First Lady this November, she won’t be the last. But her spin on the Democratic frontrunner, who doesn’t understand why the people won’t just let her lead, is so spot on, even Hillary had to stop by and give her a scalding hot vodka along with some props.
9. Alien Abductee
For a recent sketch, this character is already approaching cult status. Playing a poor woman snatched by a bunch of aliens with some odd fetishes, McKinnon nailed it so hard, host Ryan Gosling could barely get through the sketch. Here’s hoping this high-waisted chain smoker gets to see God next time, and not just be dumped on the roof of a Long John Silver’s with her coot coot and prune shoot hanging out.
8. Justin Bieber
Listen girl, don’t nobody tell us that McKinnon doesn’t own this Justin Bieber impression. Playing the Biebs as a cocky little twerp who loves to seduce the ladies between naps, she nailed the King Joffrey of pop music so hard, he had to go on a year long apology tour.
7. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
McKinnon’s impression of Ginsburg paints the 82-year-old Supreme Court Justice as the Queen of Insult Comedy. Nobody’s safe, from the state of Kentucky to that the late Justice Scalia, when the “Gins-Burns”start up. Thankfully, when the Grim Reaper came for young Ruth, she punched his lights out and stole his robe, so she isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
6. Sheila Sovage
It doesn’t get much darker than poor Sheila, who turns last call into a playground of regret. McKinnon told Seth Meyers that she and the hosts often share a silent moment of reflection after these sketches, knowing they shared something truly horrible. If ever you need a definition of going for it in comedy, look no further than this nightmare of tongues and hairlines.
5. Ellen DeGeneres
McKinnon is a master mimic. Just look at her impression of Ellen, which can be hard to tell from the real thing. Somehow, SNL‘s take on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, full of vanilla rap songs and puppy dog writers, is spot on, and yet oddly more entertaining.
4. Penelope Cruz
Kate came out swinging in her very first episode of SNL, when she played Penelope Cruz as a shampoo pitch person in way over her head. Her ability to turn nonsense words into laughs, while still nailing a pitch perfect impression, announced that the next big SNL star had arrived.
3. Mrs. Santini
And then there’s Mrs. Santini, “Weekend Update” host Colin Jost’s nosy neighbor. Just because she can’t stand the other tenants in her building doesn’t mean she has to be rude about it. A nice note will always make your point, whether you’re thanking the “elephant family” upstairs, or the parents who apparently gave birth to a car alarm.
2. Olya Povlatsky
Oh poor Olya, the Russian villager who wakes up crying and can’t throw herself into the sea because the line is too long. McKinnon has a rare ability to turn the desperate and intense into comedic gold, notably with her impressions of Hillary Clinton, and Angela Merkel. But no one is more desperate than poor Olya, who knows just what song she wants played at her funeral — “At Last.”
1. German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Another in McKinnon’s series of sad sacks in pantsuits, poor Angela would have the world by the string, if it weren’t for all those moron Heads of State. Why do they always seem to be having so much more fun than she is? McKinnon’s brilliance is in finding the perfect angle for a character, allowing a bland German bureaucrat to become a deeply sympathetic gal who loves her some Nickelback and just wants to Google “Jason Segel shirtless” in peace.
Check out Kate McKinnon and Kumail Nanjiani proving they’re the best team to host the 2016 Spirit Awards.