The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party is leaving the party.
Cecily Strong made her final appearance on the Christmas episode of “Saturday Night Live,” departing the long-running NBC sketch show after 11 seasons.
Fittingly, she said her goodbyes at the Weekend Update desk via her recurring character Cathy Anne, anchor Michael Che’s drug-addict neighbor. With Santa hat on her head and cigarette in hand, Cathy Anne admitted that she’s finally going to prison but isn’t mad about it: “I think it’s going to give me some much-needed stability. I got friends on the inside, they seem to be doing OK,” she said alongside an inset picture of departed cast members Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon.
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Strong then broke character in meta fashion to sum up her time on “SNL”: “It’s just my time now but I had a lot of fun here. And I feel really lucky that I got to have so many of the best moments of my life at this place, with these people I love so much.”
In the last sketch of the night, set at a Radio Shack Christmas party, Kenan Thompson paid tribute to his fellow cast member. “Honestly I don’t think Radio Shack could have survived this long without Cecily,” he said. “Every time she came to work, she had a new character or a new accent or a new impression that would just blow you away. She’d have a power and a joy to her performance that made you remember why you loved working at Radio Shack in the first place.”
Strong then closed the show singing “Blue Christmas” with host/”Elvis” star Austin Butler and the rest of the cast.
An “SNL” Instagram post earlier Saturday confirmed her exit: “Tonight we send off one of the best to ever do it. We’ll miss you, Cecily!”
Strong, 38, joined “SNL” in September 2012 as a featured player in the show’s 38th season, was promoted to repertory player a year later and is the longest-tenured female cast member in the series’ history, breaking a mark held by McKinnon. She co-anchored Weekend Update first with Seth Meyers, and when he left to host “Late Night” in 2014, Strong teamed with writer Colin Jost.
She portrayed a slew of political characters during the show’s run amid the Trump and Biden presidential administrations, including Judge Jeanine Pirro, Michigan governor Gretchen Witmer, Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema and Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake. In addition, she brought hilarious original personalities to 30 Rock as well, like the aforementioned Girl and Cathy Anne plus aspiring British singer Gemma.
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Strong also made headlines last year for a personal sketch she performed about abortion dressed as the character Goober the Clown, in response to the Supreme Court hearing arguments around a restrictive new Texas abortion law.
“I had an abortion the day before my 23rd birthday … but it’s a rough subject, so we’re going to do fun clown stuff to make it more palatable,” Strong said alongside Jost and Che.
During her time on “SNL,” Strong – who was nominated for an Emmy in 2020 and 2021 – appeared in movies including “The Meddler,” “The Boss” and “Ghostbusters” as well as hosted the White House Correspondent’s Dinner in 2015. She next stars in the upcoming second season of the Apple TV+ musical comedy series “Schmigadoon!”
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