Cecily Strong Leaving ‘Saturday Night Live’

Cecily Strong is leaving “Saturday Night Live,” continuing the exodus of veteran “Not Ready For Prime Time Players” who have been leaving the venerable NBC program since last summer.

The NBC show announced that Saturday’s broadcast — expected to be “SNL”s last of 2022 — would also mark Strong’s final appearance as a member of the cast. She joined “Saturday Night Live” in 2012, and, since that time, has distinguished herself by playing such characters as The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party and with a louche impersonation of the Fox News opinion host Judge Jeanine Pirro. During her tenure on “SNL,” Strong even did a stint as an anchor on “Weekend Update” opposite Colin Jost.

Strong’s exit shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The actor missed several episodes this season to take part in a play — a signal that she was already entertaining other options. Kate McKinnon did something similar in the fall of 2021, the start of her last season with the program.

And yet, like many “SNL” cast members, she isn’t moving too far away from what has been her home base Strong stars in the second season of “Schmigadoon!,” a parody of musicals that streams on Apple+. Like “SNL,” the show is produced by Lorne Michaels, the executive producer of “SNL.”

In addition to McKinnon, “SNL” has seen the departures of a good number of its mainstay cast from recent seasons. Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, Pete Davidson, Alex Moffat, Chris Redd, Melissa Villaseñor and featured player Aristotle Athari did not return for the current cycle.

As more TV viewers migrate to streaming services to watch their favorite scripted dramas and comedies on demand, “SNL” has taken on new importance for NBC. Once relegated to airing after the late local news in a time slot network executives didn’t consider paramount, “SNL” now runs live across the U.S. all at once, meaning that it airs in primetime in certain parts of the country. That has boosted the cost of a 30-second ad on the program.

In recent seasons, Strong has struck audiences with subtle but meaningful political humor. On “Weekend Update” in 2021. she portrayed “Goober the Clown Who Had An Abortion When She Was 23” just after Texas banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Just before the midterm elections that took place in November, Strong played on similar themes with a new character, “Tammy the Trucker,” who ostensibly talked about high gas prices, but was really making points about abortion rights.

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