Emmys: Alec Baldwin Zings Trump, Kate McKinnon Thanks Hillary Clinton in Acceptance Speech
'SNL' creator Lorne Michaels also accepted the award for best variety sketch series and Don Roy King accepted the award for best directing for a variety series.
Saturday Night Live came on top Sunday with nine total Emmy wins, the most of any show this year.
Alec Baldwin joked about giving Trump his first Emmy win, while Kate McKinnon thanked Hillary Clinton as they received their Emmys on Sunday night. Baldwin and McKinnon won best supporting actor and best supporting actress in a comedy series respectively during TV's biggest night.
"I suppose I should say at long last, Mr. President, here is your Emmy," joked Baldwin as he accepted the award for best supporting actor in a comedy series. He ended his speech encouraging fellow actors: "when you die, you don't remember a bill that Congress passed or a decision the supreme court made or an address made by the president. You remember a song. You remember a line from a movie. You remember a play. You remember a book, a painting, a poem. What we do is important. And for all of you out there in motion pictures and television, don't stop doing what you're doing. The audience is counting on you. "
McKinnon accepted her Emmy saying, "Thank you to Hillary Clinton for your grace." The Saturday Night Live actress portrayed the former Democratic presidential nominee on the show opposite Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump. Backstage she called playing Clinton "the greatest honor of my life and the greatest role I've gotten to play."
"Being part of this season of SNL was the most meaningful thing I’ll ever do," added McKinnon who also gave shout-outs to Lorne Michaels, her family and fellow castmembers Leslie Jones, Alec Baldwin and former castmember Vanessa Bayer (who left the show this year).
Lorne Michaels and the staff of SNL also took home the award for best variety sketch series. Michaels reflected on the show's very first season during his acceptance speech, saying that he predicted there would never be a season "as crazy, as unpredictable, as frightening" and "as exhilarating."
"Turns out I was wrong," he joked.
Don Roy King accepted the award for best directing for a variety series, thanking Michaels for the honor. "Because of Lorne Michaels, I have the best job in TV, I get to work with the most remarkable people in the world and I learned how to tie a tie." King also jokingly thanked Emmys producer Glenn Weiss for "taking a shot at his young daughter."
Backstage, Baldwin also talked about his role on on SNL as a "conduit" following Trump's shocking triumph on Nov. 8. "I do think that people are overwhelmed; that we're in a situation now where a critical mass of people still don't accept where we are. They find it unthinkable to them every day... and those feelings are reinforced by the thoughts and words and deeds of this person," he said, referencing Trump. "They're confused and in pain and they walk up to me and they slap me on the back all day long and say, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping us to in some small way manage that pain.'"
Baldwin also noted that he will be available to reprise his role for several shows once SNL kicks off its new season on Sept. 30. "We look forward to picking up where we left off," Baldwin said.
Backstage, Michaels discussed the ongoing importance of tackling those in powerful positions. "Philosophically, whoever's in power should be questioned and that's what we do," he said.
Michaels also discussed the added weight of working on the series last season during the election. "This was a year that was incredibly important to us that we get it right because we knew this was going to be an important election and it was one of the most amazing years we've ever had because everything changed everyday."
Backstage, McKinnon recalled the weeks when national events forced the writers to re-write entire portions of the sketch series. "That’s just a testament to how quick and incredible the writers are. It was kind of like a sport sometimes racing to the finish line. It was wild, I loved it."
King, a longtime SNL veteran, echoed those sentiments backstage. "This year felt different, it felt more important, like we were holding people accountable, doing some healing, soothing some frayed nerves, and for that reason I am even more proud to be associated with what Lorne has done. He demands it stay current and cutting-edge and factual."
On the heels of record ratings and unprecedented buzz, Saturday Night Live upped its already high bar for most Emmy nominations for any series in history. The 42-year-old variety show got another 22 this year, building its record to a total 231.
Chief among SNL's slew of new noms were mentions for Donald Trump-skewering Alec Baldwin, 2016 supporting comedy actress winner Kate McKinnon, fellow castmembers Leslie Jones and Vanessa Beyer and guest actress and host Melissa McCarthy. McCarthy was one of five early wins at the Creative Arts ceremony, joining guest actor winner Dave Chappelle — who won for his hosting duties in the episode immediately following the 2016 presidential election.
Backstage, Michaels recalled the emotions of working on that first post-election episode, which was also the episode submitted for the best variety sketch series category. "There was just so much going on and just a sense as we were heading towards 11:30 on Saturday that we didn’t know quite what was was going to happen but I think the show turned out really well," he said.
The 2016-17 season of SNL was a massive success for NBC, which announced last summer that Baldwin would be portraying then-presidential candidate Trump in the run-up to November's election. Trump's unexpected win over Hillary Clinton prompted the series to carry its political skewering through the entirety of the season, where McKinnon notably tackled Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway and attorney general Jeff Sessions after the election rendered her popular portrayal of Clinton less of a necessity. Interestingly, Baldwin was nominated for playing Trump, yet SNL castmembers are typically nominated for playing "various" roles.
SNL wrapped the season with an average 11 million viewers and a 3.5 rating among adults 18-49 — per Nielsen's live-plus-seven-day ratings. It ranks as the most watched season in 23 years and the highest-rated in seven. It also finished the season as the No. 5 non-sports show on broadcast, trailing only The Big Bang Theory, This Is Us, Empire and Modern Family in the key demo.
Prior to this Thursday's nominations, SNL had an already unrivaled 209 nominations and 39 wins. In addition to McKinnon's win, hosts and alums Tina Fey and Amy Poehler shared the guest-actress title at the 2016 Emmys. Heading into Sunday, SNL had won the top variety prize since 1993 — prior to the category's split between sketch and talk.