Saturday Night Live had a more emotional vibe than usual on its Dec. 17 show as it was the last performance as a cast member for the inimitable Cecily Strong. The 38-year-old actress said goodbye to the famed comedy series after making her first appearance at Studio 8H back in 2012. Per usual, Cecily did a lot of heavy lifting by performing in the majority of sketches, but this time, she did it while holding back tears, as she was flanked on stage by host Austin Butler and musical guest Lizzo for her final bow.
We love you, Cecily pic.twitter.com/XmQUpOOqgD
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) December 18, 2022
The news came only a few hours before the show went live, surprising longtime fans as Cecily is one of the strongest players in the cast, which saw a huge shakeup at the end of last season, with Kate McKinnon and Pete Davidson saying goodbye. “Tonight we send off one of the best to ever do it. We’ll miss you, Cecily!” the Michael Lorne-led production wrote on its official Instagram, alongside a photograph of a sign that read, “We’ll miss you, Cecily.”
Cecily’s tenure made history, as it was the longest of any female in Saturday Night Live history. After joining the cast a decade ago, Cecily grew a huge fan base with her hilarious off-the-wall characters, like the recurring segment on Weekend Update as the Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With, and with her spot-on impersonations, such as Liz Cheney, Melania Trump and Fox News anchor Jeanine Pirro.
In one of her final performances, Cecily tackled fan-favorite character Cathy Anne, a middle-aged lawbreaker living on the street. She told Michael Che that this was her last appearance on Weekend Update because she had agreed to a lifetime prison sentence. “I feel real lucky that I got to have so many of the best moments of my life with these people I love so much,” Cecily said in Cathy Anne’s signature husky voice. Later, she was serenaded by Austin and the rest of the cast with an emotional version of “Blue Christmas,” seen above.
Even before Saturday’s episode, Cecily has indicated a final curtain call for her days at 30 Rockefeller. “I’ll be thrilled if I go back, I’ll be thrilled if that was my last show,” she told Entertainment Tonight in June, a month after season 46 wrapped. She also stressed that “things are a bit more up in the air, and I’m OK with that. My lesson from last year is sort of see what happens,” she told ET.
At the time, a source EXCLUSIVELY also told Our Source that Cecily was still undecided. “Everyone has been welcomed back from Lorne and the show if they decide that is best for them, but contracts are still going through as Cecily for one hasn’t decided that she wants to return yet or not or even return part time.”
Fortunately for fans, Cecily did return for the first half of Season 48. And they can continue to cheer her on as she returns to the screen in the second season of the AppleTV+ series Schmigadoon!, which is executive produced by Lorne. Cecily also serves as a producer on the show.
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