Saturday Night Live: Kate McKinnon Makes Return After Filming Tiger King Series

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Kate McKinnon finally returned to Saturday Night Live last night. McKinnon had been absent from the show to film her role as Carole Baskin in the upcoming Peacock drama Joe Exotic. The show is a dramatic take on the story chronicled by Netflix’s documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness. McKinnon kicked off last night’s episode, hosted by Billie Eilish, in character as Dr. Anthony Fauci, explaining how families should handle the COVID-19 omicron variant during the holiday season. “I’m back!” McKinnon’s Fauci begins. “Do people still think I’m sexy or are we done with that?” You can watch last night’s entire cold open below.

Joe Exotic began filming in Australia in July. In addition to McKinnon as Baskin, the series also stars John Cameron Mitchell as Joe Exotic, Kyle MacLachlan as Howard Baskin, Dean Winters as Jeff Lowe, Brian Van Holt as John Reinke, William Fichtner as Rick Kirkham, Nat Wolff as Travis Maldonado, Sam Keeley as John Finlay, Lex Mayson as Kelci “Saff” Saffery, Joel Marsh Garland as James Garretson, Marlo Kelly as Jamie Murdock, and Aliandra Calabrese as Lauren Lowe. Etan Frankel created the series.

Carol Baskin seems to approve of McKinnon playing her in the new limited series. “I’m honored that they would pick somebody so beautiful and so talented, but they’re going to have to put a lot of makeup on that young woman to make her look like a 60-year-old lady,” Baskin told ComicBook.com in June. “I am happy about the fact that everything that I have read so far says that they’re going to follow the same narratives that was in the Wondery podcast because in the Wondery podcast at the end, they said, ‘But here’s the truth.’ And they actually felt the truth, whereas Tiger King just never got to that part. So I’m hoping that that will be the case with whatever they do with that piece.”

According to Peacock’s official synopsis for Joe Exotic, “Based on the Wondery podcast “Joe Exotic,” hosted and reported by Robert Moor, the limited series will center on Carole Baskin, a big cat enthusiast, who learns that fellow exotic animal lover Joe “Exotic” Schreibvogel is breeding and using his big cats for profit. She sets out to shut down his venture, inciting a quickly escalating rivalry. But Carole has a checkered past of her own and when the claws come out, Joe will stop at nothing to expose what he sees as her hypocrisy. The results prove dangerous.”

Joe Exotic hails from From UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group. Etan Frankel both writes and executive produces under his overall deal with the studio. McKinnon is also an executive producer alongside Wondery’s Hernan Lopez, Marshall Lewy, and Aaron Hart.

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