Kate McKinnon: 'I Was Destitute, Unemployed, Living in L.A.' Before 'SNL'

The Emmy-nominated cast member says "thank God" Saturday Night Live hired her because "I'm not qualified for anything else"


Fans of Saturday Night Live can’t imagine the show without Kate McKinnon and her impressions of Justin Bieber and Hillary Clinton. And she can’t imagine her life without SNL.

Before landing the coveted comedy spot, the scene-stealer tells PEOPLE she was “destitute, unemployed, living in L.A. – which I hate.”

“Thank god that I got to have that job, because I’m not qualified for anything else,” McKinnon adds. “I have no skills. I’m bad at most things.”

The Emmy nominee, who is up for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series, says being on the show is a dream come true. “I started watching SNL when I was 12 … just seeing Cheri Oteri and Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer do their thing and be unafraid to look ridiculous and act outlandish, I thought, ‘That’s me. That’s the job I should have.’ ”

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McKinnon’s been juggling several jobs recently, starring alongside comedy superstars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and SNL costar Leslie Jones in Ghostbusters and the upcoming Masterminds with Wiig – and she’ll be returning to SNL this fall.

Though her fame has skyrocketed, she says her notoriety hasn’t, as she’s still able to walk around in public without fanfare.

“I do get approached occasionally, but not a ton,” she says. “I’m unrecognizable because I’m coated in cat hair and sweat. And there’s a sort of yeti quality to my presence … so I don’t think that people can see the face. What am I going to do? Buy a lint roller?”

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