Prepare to get Gins-burned.
Kate McKinnon's impersonation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has always been one of her most memorable Saturday Night Live characters, playing the Supreme Court Justice as a mischievous, energetic smack-talk machine fond of lobbing "Gins-burns" at opponents. Her portrayal even earned praise from Ginsburg herself, who said at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, “I liked the actress who portrayed me, and I would like to say ‘Gins-burned!’ sometimes to my colleagues.”
In the wake of Ginsburg's death on Friday, it's an apt time to revisit McKinnon's many turns in the role on SNL, as a tribute to the fiery jurist who became an unlikely pop cultural icon.
McKinnon made her debut as Ginsburg on Feb. 28, 2015, appearing on Weekend Update to respond to worries about the justice's age. She detailed the morning routine that helps keep her “spry”: “100 push-ups, 100 laps in the bathtub, and then I do my P90X, where I pee 90 times.” She also dropped this gem about Bruno Mars: "I know he's short, but I like my men like I like my decisions — 5-4."
And thus, a new SNL star was born. McKinnon has reprised the role of RBG several times, but one of her best turns came in the show's first episode after the 2016 election. She emphatically declared she'd be sticking around for Donald Trump's presidency: "The bench is now my porch. I'm gonna sit on it all day and scream, 'No! Get out of my yard!'"
Of course, McKinnon-as-RBG also weighed in on Trump's Supreme Court nominees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. "It's nice to have nine justices again," she noted in the wake of Gorsuch's appointment after a long empty seat on the bench. "Because for the last year, we've been a hung jury. Except for Justice Alito."
Amid Kavanaugh's contentious confirmation process, she weighed in with characteristic wit: "Guy likes drinking games so much, we got one planned for him. It's called Quarters. That's when me and [Justice Sonia] Sotomayor put a roll of quarters in a sock and beat the hell out of him."
Most recently, SNL honored RBG with a rap by Pete Davidson and Chris Redd. Sample lyrics: "She went to law school / She was first in her class / If she ever wants to date / I'll please the court on that ass."
McKinnon and Ginsburg also met in person last year, as both attended an Off-Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof, where observers described the comedian as visibly "starstruck." While McKinnon has yet to comment publicly after Ginsburg's death, we can all take some comfort in the knowledge that she got to meet the Notorious RBG at least once.
At @FiddlerNYC and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is here! And Kate McKinnon just shook her hand!!! In all seriousness, this is a show that all #SCOTUS, judges, government officials should see. #seeingdouble #fiddlerontheroof #empathy #refugees #immigrants pic.twitter.com/6rdCvNpb6k— 𝗡𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗮 “HE KNEW” 𝗩𝗲𝗿𝗮 (@spinstripes) August 14, 2019