Cecily Strong is graduating from Saturday Night Live in the midst of its eleventh season

The 2022 finale of “Saturday Night Live” doubled as a farewell to Cecily Strong, who left in the midst of her eleventh season and as one of the longest-running female cast members.

The show announced her departure on Twitter before it aired on Saturday, saying, “Tonight we’re sending one of the best shows ever. We’ll miss you, Cecily!”

Amid speculation that she would be leaving before the 48th season began in the fall, Strong stayed on. Co-stars Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson, Eddie Bryant, Kyle Mooney, and Melissa Villasenor left, giving way to a wave of new hires and a year of rebuilding.

Strong started on the show in 2012 and quickly established herself as an indispensable staple, briefly co-anchoring Weekend Update with impressions of Diane Feinstein, Melania Trump, and news anchor Brooke Baldwin.

The secret of her impressions was the screaming achieved by amplifying voices and characters to the point of absurdity. Her skill was seen in her likable impression of Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro, who played a wine addict who had a crush on former President Donald Trump.

The same touch was seen in Strong’s recreation of Sofia Vergara, with an over-the-top accent and expansive gestures, and Marjorie Taylor Greene played Know-Nothing and her voice was more emphatic than her facts.

Her original characters on the show included Kathy Ann, “Weekend Update” anchor Michael Che’s frequent-smoking neighbor, who she re-portrayed on Saturday in a farewell sketch.

In the narrative of the sketch, Cathy Ann is on vacation because she is headed to prison.

“Actually, I’m a little emo here tonight because the truth is, I’m here to say goodbye,” Cathy Ann said.

She elaborated on what landed her behind bars – “The crimes I have confessed to you here for the past seven years have finally caught up with me”.

But Cathy Ann wasn’t too worried.

“I’ve got friends inside,” she said, as a picture of McKinnon and Bryant in orange jumpsuits appeared on the screen. “They seem fine.”

Strong’s character can’t leave without saying that she spent “a lot of the best moments of my life in this place, with these people, that I love so much.”

Cecily Strong as Kathy Ann on “Saturday Night Live.”NBC

She performed a final sketch at Radio Shack, in which Kenan Thompson, tearing up, lamented the exit of Strong’s character.

He said, “She had such a strength and exhilaration for her performance that it made you remember why you loved working at … Radio Shack”.

The cast, including host Austin Butler, then sang a rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas”.

Some of the other notable characters in Strong The Girl You Wish You Had Not started a conversation with At A Party, a version everyone seemed to know; Heather, the one-dimensional female character from a male-driven comic; and Sharon, a staple of McKinnon’s sketches about close encounters with aliens that always end up being sexual.

Strong, 38, grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, the product of divorced parents. Strong said she was expelled from high school after marijuana was found in her backpack.

She ended up at Chicago’s famous Second City Playhouse and Improv School, where she was a understudy on the main stage and a member of its National Touring Company.

SNL creator Lorne Michaels has been tapping Second City talent since the show’s first season, and he told The New York Times last year that Strong was part of Chicago’s strong tradition of producing standout comedic talent.

“Chicago looks at both coasts and is not terribly affected,” he said.

Strong arrived one season after McKinnon, one of the show’s all-time greats, and the pair, accompanied by Bryant, took the baton from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who left the last decade, crafting one of the greatest SNL stars of all time, often led by a female cast.

While Strong’s characters have always been almost always loud and never mysterious, she’s described herself as shy and introverted, and her character seemed largely invisible until last year.

In her 2021 book, This Will End Soon: A Memoir, Strong writes about coming to terms with her cousin’s death from brain cancer in early 2020, according to her synopsis.

The journal-style book pondered an unlikely relationship that began during the darkest, isolated days of the pandemic in 2020. During this time she was also grieving the loss of “SNL” music producer Hal Willner, who died of complications related to the virus.

On Saturday, Strong came out in the open as Kimberly Guilfoyle, the Republican operative and fiancee of Donald Trump Jr., appeared on former President Donald Trump’s Thursday presentation of his NFT trading cards in various poses, muscular and superheroic, to the music of Guilfoyle’s hawk.

“Now that’s what no one calls music!” Declare personal. I guarantee, “You will sleep in heavenly peace!” “

With her departure from SNL, Strong will have plenty of places to continue her comedy revival: She’s worked on film (the “Ghostbusters” reboot in 2016), and in TV comedies (the Apple TV+ “Schmigadoon!” in which she’s credited). credited as producer).

“Saturday Night Live” and NBC News are all affiliated entities of NBCUniversal.

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