By Philip Elliott
October 8, 2015

In presidential politics, three things always matter: debate performances, television ads and Saturday Night Live. Chevy Chase tagged Gerald Ford as a clumsy fool, Dana Carvey haunted George H.W. Bush, and Tina Fey’s impression of Sarah Palin hurt at the worst possible time. For 2016, all eyes are on how SNL cast member Kate McKinnon (right and below) handles Hillary Clinton, who visited the show on Oct. 3 as a guest. So TIME asked McKinnon how she approaches her muse.

–PHILIP ELLIOTT

Write to Philip Elliott at philip.elliott@time.com.

This appears in the October 19, 2015 issue of TIME.

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