Cecily Strong Reveals Why She Announced ‘SNL’ Exit Before Her Final Show

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Comedian Cecily Strong hung tough with Saturday Night Live for 11 seasons. But on Saturday’s episode, when she became the longest-running female cast member in SNL history, Strong simultaneously waved goodbye.

The variety show, which recently underwent the biggest turnover in its history, acknowledged Strong’s departure on its Instagram account before Saturday night’s show began. 

Text accompanying the image read: “Tonight we send off one of the best to ever do it. We’ll miss you, Cecily!”

Deadline reported on the news shortly after SNL’s Instagram post went live.

With her performance on last Saturday’s show, Cecily Strong squeaked past Kate McKinnon as the longest-running female cast member in SNL history, per the show’s website.

Strong co-hosted Weekend Update with Seth Meyers and, more recently, Colin Jost. Her best-known impressions included Judge Jeanine Pirro, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Melania Trump. 

Strong’s other memorable performances included periodic Weekend Update guest Cathy Anne and a chain-smoking news junkie.

Strong Will Survive

For her own part, Cecily Strong on Monday posted a lengthy goodbye message to SNL on her Instagram account. She did not explain why she left the show.

Strong’s post also included a video of her now-former cast members sending off their colleagues at the end of Saturday’s show.

“I’m sorry I’ve been a little quiet about it publicly,” she wrote. “I didn’t want the extra pressure on something already so emotional for me. … 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.”

The massive popularity of McKinnon may have overshadowed Strong on SNL. That said, NBC.com noted that its latest alum gobbled up back-to-back Emmy Award nominations in 2020 and 2021 for best-supporting actress in a comedy series.

Strong’s departure comes shortly after McKinnon and seven other cast members parted ways with SNL before Season 48 started in October.

SNL creator Lorne Michaels told the New York Times in September that COVID caused the mass exodus. He reasoned that cast members worried about a lack of work prospects for comics and comedic actors during the lockdowns.

Regardless, he promised “a year of reinvention,” the Times article said.

From the looks of it, Cecily Strong already got a jumpstart on hers.

READ MORE: “Inside SNL’s Cecily Strong’s Private Relationship with Her Long-Term Partner

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