Kate McKinnon Pays Tribute to Leonard Cohen and Hillary Clinton's Campaign on SNL

Comedy Video Saturday Night Live
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Could this be the end of Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton impression? Tonight’s Saturday Night Live didn’t open with jokes. It opened with McKinnon in full Clinton attire sitting alone at a piano, where she played a resigned version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” just two days after Cohen’s death was announced to the world. In one somber swoop the show touched on the two latest depressing stories that have contributed to 2016’s well-deserved rep as the absolute worst year in memory. We wouldn’t call it cathartic—Paste is still in mourning, both for Cohen and for the America we thought we knew—but it’s just the latest in a multitude of bittersweet moments that have reminded us we aren’t alone in our grief and shock. In its understated tastefulness, its restrained but empathetic response to what many view as a national tragedy, it shares much in common with the cold open of the first post-9/11 SNL (a powerful television moment now sullied by Rudy Giuliani’s meteoric fall from grace). This has been an unusually agreeable season of Saturday Night Live so far, and, by focusing on the sadness so many Americans feel today instead of the rage or hatred, tonight’s cold open put another spotlight on the show’s resurgent thoughtfulness. It was a fantastic start to a strong episode, one essentially recast in the image of its host, Dave Chappelle. For more on that, check Paste tomorrow for a review and other video highlights.

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