Cecily Strong has left Saturday Night Live

Cecily Strong
Cecily Strong

Ahead of last night’s episode of Saturday Night Live, the last one of the year, news broke that longtime cast member Cecily Strong would be leaving the show—joining a long list of performers who have left the series ahead of (or in this case during) the current season that includes Pete Davidson, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon, Kyle Mooney, Alex Moffat, Melissa Villaseñor, Aristotle Athari, and Chris Redd. Kenan Thompson is still there, but with this much turnover, he must be somewhat ready to move on at some point (he can leave whenever he wants, as long as we get one last “What Up With That”).

As for Strong, she got a big, somewhat show-wide sendoff last night, with two segments dedicated to her departure. First there was a “Weekend Update” bit where she played recurring character Cathy Anne and revealed that she’s going to prison (with a joke about how she has friends on the inside who are doing okay, with a photo popping up of hardened prisoner versions of Bryant and McKinnon).

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Later, she appeared in a half-sketch that was actually pretty clever and winky until it turned into a sweet little musical number: Playing a RadioShack employee on her last day (a fun nod to SNL’s… continued relevance), Strong reminisced with her boss about how she had been at… RadioShack… for 11 years, but only eight of them were good, which is also a good joke, and then host Austin Butler came out as “casual Elvis” (because they couldn’t pay for a costume) to sing “Blue Christmas” along with most of the SNL cast.

Blue Christmas - SNL

The Hollywood Reporter says that Strong’s mid-season departure was planned from the beginning of the season, though viewers suspected something was up when she wasn’t in the opening credits for the season premiere (THR notes that she missed a few episodes while appearing onstage in The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe in Los Angeles).

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