Cecily Strong Opens Up About Leaving ‘Saturday Night Live’ After 11 Seasons

Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson on SNL

Cecily Strong ended her 11-season run on Saturday Night Live this past weekend as she appeared in her final episode of the long-running NBC sketch-comedy series.

Now, the Emmy-nominated comedian is reflecting on her emotional final night. “My heart is bursting. I have a lot of big huge life-changing love to unpack, so this is what I can say tonight,” Strong posted on Instagram on Sunday (December 18) night.

“Ten and a half years ago I got my dream job. The first actual work day I tried to be very cool and make it look like I knew what I was doing and I was supposed to be there,” she continued. “I left that night around 11 after saying goodbye to everyone. I got stuck wandering around the building because none of the elevators went to the first floor and I was trying so hard to avoid having to go back upstairs to ask for help because I’d already said goodbye!!!”


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After a while trying to find an exit, Strong recalled, “I ended up going back upstairs and my soon-to-be great friend Colin Jost helped me out and walked me over to the secret night time elevator.

“It felt as impossible to leave that night as it does now,” she added. “And my great friend Colin Jost ended up helping me again, this time by getting Elvis to sing me off (thank you Austin Butler you absolute kind and generous dreamboat).”

Strong performed in her last episode of SNL on Saturday (December 18), bringing back her character Cathy Anne, Michael Che’s drug-addicted neighbor, for her final Weekend Update appearance. She also featured in a Radio Shack sketch, which ended with a performance of “Blue Christmas” by Elvis actor Austin Butler.

In her Instagram post, Strong apologized for being quiet about her departure from the show until now. “I didn’t want the extra pressure on something already so emotional for me” she shared. “And I’m so grateful I got to have these wonderful past six shows to help me ease into it and get to meet and laugh and probably overly hug Molly [Kearney], Marcello [Hernandez], Devon [Walker], and Michael [Longfellow] who I think are not only brilliantly funny but really great humans.

She concluded, “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.”

Saturday Night Live, Saturdays, 11:30/10:30c, NBC