The song was part tribute to Cohen, who died this week at 82. But the cold open also functioned as a sort of farewell to the Clinton character (at least for this election cycle), and included a nod to the real-life Clinton’s concession speech.
As she concluded the somber song, McKinnon as Clinton looked directly into the camera and said, “I’m not giving up, and neither should you. And live from New York, it’s Saturday night.”
It appeared as if McKinnon had tears in her eyes as she spoke those lines.
This year, McKinnon thanked Clinton when she received an Emmy for her work on SNL. And the comedic actress openly cried during a Rolling Stone interview earlier this year after being asked about Clinton potentially becoming the first woman president.
“Progress, real progress, makes me cry harder than anything,” she had told the outlet.
The past few weeks of SNL provided much talked-about political sketches, as McKinnon and Alec Baldwin impersonated candidates Clinton and Trump.
Many late night comics who clearly favored Clinton have tried to crack wise following the result of this particularly contentious election, but they’ve let serious moments through, too. Seth Meyers, for instance, teared up during his show as he said he hoped his mother would live to see the first woman president.
McKinnon didn’t go for any jokes as Clinton this week. Instead, she echoed real-life Clinton who said Wednesday in her concession speech, “This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is. It is worth it.”