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Saturday's season 47 finale Cold Open featured the seventh iteration of the Close Encounter sketch, with McKinnon playing Ms. Rafferty, a tough broad who is prone to being abducted by aliens — and making her costars break. The sketch debuted during the Dec. 5, 2015 episode hosted by Ryan Gosling, who played a fellow abductee, and the actor had a particularly hard time keeping his composure against McKinnon's outrageous physical comedy.
NBC Kate McKinnon as Ms. Rafferty on the 'SNL' season 47 finale
Tonight's opening featured McKinnon's Rafferty once again sharing stories of her rough experience with extraterrestrials, opposite fellow abductees played by Cecily Strong and this week's host, Natasha Lyonne. In a new take on the old favorite, the end of the sketch saw the character leaving Earth to rejoin her alien captors "permanently," with the comedian getting visibly emotional as her departing words seemed to speak about her own time on the legendary NBC comedy show: "I love ya. Thanks for letting me stay awhile. Live from New York, it's Saturday night."
It marked the 75th time McKinnon uttered the show's iconic opening line during her 11-season tenure, the second most of any cast member (just behind Darrell Hammond). In other records, McKinnon, who joined the show for season 37 in 2012, holds the title for the longest a woman has stayed on the SNL cast.
The comedian — who has shone over the years with spot-on impressions of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hillary Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, and Kellyanne Conway — has been nominated for nine Emmys during her stint on the show, winning twice. She can next be seen among the all-star lineup of the live-action Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie, and as a voice in DC League of Super-Pets.
Watch McKinnon in the full Close Encounter sketch — called "Final Encounter" — below.