Cecily Strong is leaving “Saturday Night Live.” She is the latest “Not Ready For Prime Time” veteran to leave the long-running NBC show since last summer.
The NBC show said that Saturday’s show, which is expected to be the last “SNL” show of 2022, would be Strong’s last as a cast member. She started working on “Saturday Night Live” in 2012. Since then, she has stood out by playing characters like “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party” and by making a sloppy impression of Fox News opinion host Judge Jeanine Pirro. During her time on “Saturday Night Live,” Strong was a co-host on “Weekend Update” with Seth Meyers and then Colin Jost.
The fact that Strong is leaving shouldn’t come as much of a shock. The actor missed a few episodes this season because he was in a play. This was a sign that she was already thinking about other things. In the fall of 2021, Kate McKinnon did something similar at the start of her last season on the show. Like her former coworker, Strong has been seen in a national ad campaign from Verizon in the past few weeks.
Still, like many other “SNL” cast members, Strong isn’t moving too far from where she has lived. Strong plays the lead role in the second season of “Schmigadoon!,” an Apple+ show that makes fun of musicals. The show is made by Lorne Michaels, just like “Saturday Night Live.”
In recent seasons, “SNL” has lost many regular cast members, including Kate McKinnon. Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, Pete Davidson, Alex Moffat, Chris Redd, Melissa Villasenor, and Aristotle Athari, who was a featured player, did not come back for this cycle.
As more people use streaming services to watch their favorite dramas and comedies whenever they want, “Saturday Night Live” has become more critical to NBC. “SNL” used to only air after the late local news, which network executives didn’t think was a significant time. Now, it airs all over the U.S. simultaneously, which means it airs in primetime in some parts of the country. Because of this, the price of a 30-second ad on the show has gone up.
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In recent seasons, Strong has made people laugh with political humor that is both subtle and deep. She played “Goober the Clown Who Had an Abortion When She Was 23” on “Weekend Update” in 2021, right after Texas banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Just before the November midterm elections, Strong used a new character called “Tammy the Trucker” to play with similar ideas. “Tammy” talked about high gas prices, but she was talking about abortion rights.
During the “SNL” show, Strong played the character Cathy Anne for the last time on “Weekend Update.” Cathy Anne said she was there to say goodbye before she went to prison.
“Everyone has to go to jail at some point, and it’s just my time now,” Strong said. “But I feel fortunate that I got to spend so many of the best times of my life with these people I love so much.”
In the last sketch of the night, Strong’s last day at Radio Shack, Kenan Thompson said goodbye to her. Then, the host of the show, Austin Butler, sang “Blue Christmas” by Elvis Presley to her. Strong joined in, so they both sang. Eventually, the cast started singing the Elvis Presley classic as they said their goodbyes to Strong. Strong, crying, hugged many of the cast members on stage.
Even though the cast is constantly changing, “SNL” has recently had one of its biggest groups of players. This has allowed the show to bring up new actors like Heidi Gardner, Chloe Fineman, Ego Nwodim, Mikey Day, and Bowen Yang. Some people have also paid attention to featured players like Sarah Sherman and James Austin Johnson. Please Don’t Destroy, a group of young writers and performers made up of Ben Marshall, John Higgins, and Martin Herlihy has become a more significant part of “SNL.”