Saturday Night Live: Where’s Kate McKinnon?

Kate McKinnon (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Glamour
Kate McKinnon (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Glamour /

We are two episodes into Saturday Night Live season 47, and audiences have yet to see Kate McKinnon. Where is the fan-favorite cast member?

McKinnon was among several SNL cast members rumored to leave the show following season 46. Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant, and Pete Davidson also made that list. However, we now know that only Beck Bennett and Laurent Holt departed SNL ahead of this season.

So where is Kate McKinnon? Australia. The actress is currently out of the country filming Joe Exotic, the TV series inspired by the Netflix documentary Tiger King and podcast Over My Dead Body. McKinnon plays Joe Exotic’s nemesis, Carol Baskin. Filming began in July.

In an interview over the summer, McKinnon mentioned that she would be in Australia when the new season premiered. At that time, she hadn’t confirmed a return to SNL but sounded eager to experience going back to Studio 8H while things were already in motion.

Her comments confirmed what Variety reported regarding the freedom given to SNL cast members by Lorne Michaels. McKinnon and others received the OK to pursue other projects during the season.

Fans definitely noticed this relaxed rule over the past few seasons. Pete Davidson missed some episodes to film The Suicide Squad. Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant were absent to film their shows last season. Meanwhile, Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd flew back and forth from New York City and Los Angeles to shoot Kenan last year.

Who else stars in Joe Exotic with Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon?

A series based on Carol Baskin’s life has been in development since March 2020. It will focus more on Baskin’s life than the Netflix documentary. McKinnon also serves as an executive producer for the series, set to stream exclusively on Peacock.

John Cameron Mitchell stars as Joe Exotic. Mitchell is known as the playwright behind Hedwig and the Angry Inch and also starred alongside SNL cast member Aidy Bryant in Shrill.

Other cast members include Dean Winters (Oz30 Rock) as Jeff Lowe, Brian Van Holt (Cougar Town) as John Reinke, Sam Keeley (68 Whiskey) as John Finlay, Nat Wolff (The Stand) as Travis Maldonado, William Fichtner (Prison Break) as Rick Kirkham, and Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks) as Howard Baskin.

It’s unclear how long filming will take, or how long it will keep McKinnon away from Saturday Night Live. Set photos circulated on Oct. 8, giving us a first look at McKinnon as Baskin. So it could be a few more weeks without one of SNL’s best players.

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Have you missed Kate McKinnon so far this season? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.