Chicago girl Cecily Strong leaves SNL after 11 seasons

Cecily Strong
Cecily Strong

Chicago will always feel a special connection to Saturday Night Live because so many of the cast members got their start right here. We cheer them on when they join the show, and shed tears when they leave. And now one of our favorites, Chicago girl, Cecily Strong has given her final SNL performance after 11 seasons.

Born in Springfield, Illinois, Strong was raised in Oak Park. She was hired for SNL while doing improv at The Second City in Chicago, where she moved after graduating from CalArts. In Chicago, Strong improvised regularly at the iO Theater and served as an understudy for the Second City Main Stage and E.T.C. shows. She performed as a member of the Second City national touring company and has also appeared at the Chicago SketchFest and Chicago Just for Laughs.

She will be remembered as one of the stand out performers of SNL from 2012 to 2022 and she is the longest-tenured female cast member in the show’s history. She has received back-to-back Emmy Award nominations in 2020-21 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

Strong has entertained viewers with her standout Weekend Update character Cathy Anne, Michael Che’s wacky chain-smoking neighbor who offers her opinions on current events. Her recurring character Gemma, a British “singer” with various boyfriends, quickly became a fan favorite. She has earned rave reviews for her notable Judge Jeanine Pirro, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Melania Trump impressions. Strong has co-hosted Weekend Update alongside both Seth Meyers and Colin Jost.


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Strong made her exit in her final performance Saturday night, in character as Cathy Anne who stopped by the Update Desk one last time before heading off to a life sentence in prison.

In what started off as a Radio Shack sketch, led by Elvis star Austin Butler, the SNL cast gave her a proper send off with the song Blue Christmas, bringing the actress to tears.

Strong shared the video on Instagram capturing an emotional send-off from the weekend’s episode saying, “My heart is bursting. I have a lot of big huge life changing love to unpack.”

Strong is currently on Apple TV+’s 2021 hit musical series, Schmigadoon!, on which she also serves as a producer. Schmigadoon! also stars Keegan Michael Key of Key and Peele and the two play a pair of New York City doctors, Josh and Melissa, who are on a trip to repair their fracturing marriage. They wind up in the mystical, musical town of Schmigadoon, which is, of course, hilariously a direct parody of the Scottish town Brigadoon in the MGM musical of the same name, starring Cyd Charrise and Gene Kelly. When Melissa and Josh find out they are only allowed to leave the town if they discover true love, the couple must look both within their marriage and beyond, to any surroundings and eligible singles, for their ultimate partners so that they can move on from this rhythmic nightmare once and for all. Strong hilariously revisits an old favorite “drunk girl” character in one of the episodes.

According to Apple TV+, The uproarious musical parody series has been renewed for a second season and will see an overhaul of source material as well as the addition of a few new cast members. The second season will parody the hit musical Chicago. While it seemed that the series came to a conclusion, we didn’t actually see if the couple made their escape from the fictional musical town and it looks like next season will see the couple trapped in the ’60s and ’70s themes of Chicago.

Schmigadoon! is executive produced by SNL’s Lorne Michaels and also stars Fred Armisen, Dove Cameron, Jaime Camil, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming, Ariana DeBose, Ann Harada, Jane Krakowski, and Aaron Tveit.

It has cost over $10,000 to get back online after a malware attack.

The balance is due on January 6