‘SNL’: Kate McKinnon Channels ‘The Lighthouse’ & its Chaotic Energy in Isolation Sketch

     May 10, 2020


During the third at-home episode of Saturday Night Live, cast MVP Kate McKinnon appeared in a sketch spoofing 2019’s The Lighthouse starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. From McKinnon’s beard to the black-and-white aesthetic to the absurdly delightful details, everything about this sketch is incredible and easily the best of the Season 45 finale episode.


Image via A24

Standing in for Dafoe’s Lighthouse character is McKinnon’s version, Phineas Gale, in a sketch titled “Lighthouse Keeper.” Sporting a heck of a (fake) beard and a fisherman’s cap, Phineas is here to provide us with some valuable tips on how to survive isolation right now because, as he mentions right off the bat, he’s been stuck living in a lighthouse for 50 years so he knows a thing or two about living alone for long periods of time. Phineas’ tips for surviving isolation make perfect sense and are definitely worth following. But, as he shows examples of how his tips play out in his own life, McKinnon’s absurd comedic stylings shine through. In one of the best moments of the sketch, McKinnon’s Phineas recommends keeping a journal and proceeds to read from his: “April 4th: The seals are flirting with me.” Then, after a few equally wacky tip examples (make sure all of your groceries are beans so they can last longer, get your news by putting a shell to your ear and listening, etc.), Phineas pops out from behind a wall, stares right into the camera, and tells us, “In case it weren’t clear before, I’ve gone absolutely mad from the sea.”

Everything about the “Lighthouse Keeper” sketch is so deeply good and weird and kind of the exact right thing we need at this point. McKinnon has always been among SNL‘s MVPs and “Lighthouse Keeper” is a great reminder of her talents. All of this sketch’s components, from the line readings to McKinnon’s costume to the perfect editing execution, make this video a true treat. So, naturally, I’m probably going to watch this one hundred more time. Be right back.

Watch Kate McKinnon’s “Lighthouse Keeper” sketch below. For more, check out Kristen Wiig’s opening monologue from SNL at Home‘s third episode and our round-up of the best social-distancing movies to watch right now, including The Lighthouse.