“Saturday Night Live” kicked off its 46th season on Oct. 3 and the show was memorable for a variety of reasons. For starters, it was the first episode performed in front of a live audience since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the remainder of the season’s episodes to be filmed remotely. The latest episode also marked the debut of Jim Carrey as Vice President (and current Democratic presidential nominee) Joe Biden.
However, there was one quiet moment that may have made the biggest impression on the audience — both in the studio and at home.
At the end of the regular “Weekend Update” segment, the camera panned to the audience where cast member Kate McKinnon sat dressed as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“Saturday Night Live” tweeted about the moment with a heart emoji to honor the late justice who passed away on Sept. 18, 2020 following a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) October 4, 2020
In the full 11-second clip, McKinnon as RBG, says nothing. She simply puts her hand on her heart, bows her head and takes a moment to glance upward. Then, the picture fades to an image of Ginsburg’s trademark lace jabot, glasses and robe, and the words “Rest in Power.”
The clip quickly started going viral on social media as fans of the show and RBG shared their reactions to the tribute.
“Thank you #SNL. Thank you Kate McKinnon. Rest in Power Justice RBG. Good night,” tweeted @TheRickyDavila.
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) October 4, 2020
This sentiment was echoed repeatedly on the social media platform. CBS reporter Andrea Lucia joined the chorus on Twitter and acknowledged the “[b]eautiful nod” to the late judge.
Oh, Kate McKinnon. 😢
Beautiful nod to #RBG.
— Andrea Lucia (@CBS11Andrea) October 4, 2020
McKinnon started portraying Justice Ginsburg in 2015 and the character made numerous appearances on the show over the years, often dishing out what became known as “Ginsburns” during the “Weekend Update” segments.
Following Ginsburg’s death, McKinnon talked about meeting the woman who inspired her character portrayal.
“Playing her on ‘SNL’ was a profound joy because I could always feel the overwhelming love and gratitude that the audience had for her,” McKinnon said in a statement sent to “Today.” “It was one of the great honors of my life to meet Justice Ginsburg, to shake her hand, and to thank her for her lifetime of service to this country.”