Another longtime Saturday Night Live cast member is saying goodbye: Cecily Strong is leaving the NBC sketch show, with this Saturday’s Christmas episode being her final one.
The show announced the exit ahead of Saturday’s show via Twitter and Instagram, posting photos and videos of Strong along with the caption: “Tonight we send off one of the best to ever do it. We’ll miss you, Cecily!” A source tells TVLine that it was always the plan for Strong to return for only the first half of the current Season 48. (She missed several episodes earlier this season while performing The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe in Los Angeles.)
Strong joined SNL as a featured player in 2012, graduating to become a full-fledged cast member the following year and co-hosting Weekend Update along with Seth Meyers. She earned a pair of Emmy nominations for best supporting actress in a comedy in 2020 and 2021. Strong leaves SNL as the longest-tenured female cast member in the show’s history, edging out Kate McKinnon. She’s next set to return for Season 2 of the Apple TV+ musical comedy Schmigadoon!, airing next year.
Her departure is just the latest for SNL, with McKinnon, Pete Davidson, Aidy Bryant, Chris Redd, Melissa Villaseñor, Kyle Mooney, Alex Moffat and Aristotle Athari already exiting the show this year. Strong’s farewell episode, hosted by Elvis star Austin Butler and featuring musical guest Lizzo, airs tonight at 11:30 pm ET on NBC.
Will you miss seeing Strong each Saturday night on SNL? Hit the comments to share your reaction to the news.