Why Is Cecily Strong Leaving ‘SNL?’
SNL's longest-tenured female cast member said goodbye Dec. 17.
Cecily Strong's departure was announced by the comedy show before Austin Butler's hosting spot Saturday.
"Tonight we send off one of the best to ever do it. We'll miss you, Cecily!" they tweeted.
Strong joined the cast in 2012 and has since become the female cast member with the longest tenure, only besting Kate McKinnon.
She's known for her Weekend Update co-hosting, celebrity impersonations like Khloe Kardashian, and her recurring characters in sketches, like the iconic Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation with at a Party.
She returned to Weekend Update as her character Cathy Anne to say, "I’m a little emo tonight, because I’m here to say goodbye."
Alongside a video of the cast and guest host Austin Butler serenading her with Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas," Strong wrote in an Instagram caption: "My heart is bursting. I have a lot of big huge life changing love to unpack, so this is what I can say tonight. Ten and a half years ago I got my dream job. The first actual work day I tried to be very cool and make it look like I knew what I was doing and I was supposed to be there."
She continued, saying that she got stuck leaving because she couldn't figure out how the elevators worked but didn't want to go back and ask for help before being helped by fellow cast member Colin Jost.
"And my great friend Colin Jost ended up helping me again, this time by getting Elvis to sing me off (thank you Austin Butler you absolute kind and generous dreamboat). I’m sorry I’ve been a little quiet about it publicly. I didn’t want the extra pressure on something already so emotional for me," she said.
She concluded, "I am ready to go, but I’ll always know home is here. I’ve had the time of my life working with the greatest people on earth."
According to EW, Strong's departure seemed to be signaled by several absences, including a few episodes at the beginning of the current season due to her one-woman show. She has also previously been absent due to working on other projects and personal losses.
Strong's post-SNL career will continue with her AppleTV+ show, Schmigadoon!, a parody musical comedy executive produced by SNL creator Lorne Michaels that also features Kristin Chenoweth, Keegan-Michael Key, and Dove Cameron.
The show is set to embark on its second season in 2023 with Strong as its ensemble leader.
SNL lost other major cast members this year in McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, and Pete Davidson.