Lorne Michaels ‘knew it was coming’

The pain of leaving “Saturday Night Live” is still “fresh” for Kate McKinnon.

During the Vulture’s “Good One” podcast, the 10-time Emmy nominee revealed that she was “definitely not sure” about leaving the show at the end of Season 47 last spring — joined by fellow cast members Pete Davidson, Aidy Bryant and Kyle Mooney.

“Leaving was in the back of my mind for a while, because it’s just a grueling schedule,” McKinnon, 38, explained on the podcast.

“I mean, I could do it for the rest of my life, happily, if the schedule were not so grueling and if I was not naturally a person who liked to wake up at 8 a.m. and go to bed at midnight,” she continued. “I was having trouble staying up until 1 a.m. And I was like, ‘OK, I have to go. As scared as I am and as sad as I am, it’s time.’ ”

“SNL” is infamous for its rigorous schedule. Monday is when writers and producers pitch sketches to the week’s guest host. On Tuesday, they spend hours upon hours writing scripts — which are often tweaked moments before Saturday’s live show.

Kate McKinnon during the "Inventing Chloe" sketch on Saturday, March 5.McKinnon during the “Inventing Chloe” sketch on in March.NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Wednesday brings a full table read of the episode, when sketches are arranged — or cut — from the upcoming show. Thursday is for set building and makeup tests, and Friday is when pretaped sketches are recorded. The rest of the day is spent rehearsing live sketches, until dress rehearsal in front of a live audience on Saturday at 8 p.m. Finally, the televised live performance kicks off on Saturday at 11:30 p.m. EST.

Although McKinnon knew for some time she would be leaving the show, telling its creator wasn’t easy.

“Telling Lorne [Michaels] was really hard. He knew it was coming. He was very sweet,” the comedian said, tearfully.

“But he has been a father figure to me, and so much more,” she added. “It was just really hard — simple human emotions, not wanting to say goodbye to something you love. This is fresh. It only happened two months ago.”

Kate McKinnon as Lindsey Graham during the "Second Impeachment Trial" cold open on Feb. 13, 2021.McKinnon as Sen. Lindsey Graham during the “Second Impeachment Trial” cold open in Feb. 2021.NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

“Looking back on my decade at ‘SNL,’ it was the greatest thing ever,” McKinnon concluded. “Every time we rehearsed it, there was laughter, and it just felt like soaring, just performing it.”

In July, the funnywoman said on “Live with Kelly and Ryan” that her body being “tired” was how she knew it was time to move on.

Nevertheless, McKinnon has stayed busy with a starring role in the new “Barbie” movie, alongside Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. She’s also scored a role in the movie “The Lunch Witch,” which is based on the adult novel of the same name by Deb Lucke.

McKinnon is set to star in the new Greta Gerwig "Barbie" movie. McKinnon is set to star in the new Greta Gerwig “Barbie” movie. NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

As for her plans to tune into “SNL” ’s 48th season, McKinnon said it may be too much.

“I don’t know if I can watch the show yet,” she admitted. “It’s just too emo because I miss everyone so much. I mean, it’s my other family… I think I’m just going to tape ‘The Bachelorette’ and watch that instead.”

McKinnon’s goodbye sketch also happened to be the Season 47 finale’s cold open, featuring one of her fan-favorite recurring characters, Mrs. Rafferty, who is frequently abducted and probed by aliens.

“Earth, I love you,” she said as she boarded a space ship — with a message to her adoring audience. “Thanks for letting me stay awhile,” she said before delivering the show’s tagline, “live from New York, it’s Saturday night,” one last time.

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