WATCH: ‘I feel really lucky,’ Cecily Strong says as she wraps up her character’s SNL run

Cecily Strong, the former prostitute who’s been on “Saturday Night Live” longer than any other woman, said goodbye to the show this weekend with not one big goodbye but two.

In the first, Strong reprized the character of Kathy Ann, a streetwise junkie in a pink windbreaker. Unlit cigarette in hand, Kathy Ann tells corrupt outlaw Michael Che that this was her final appearance as she agreed to a life sentence.

But she had friends inside who were just fine, she said, lighting up a photo of her recently departed classmates Eddie Bryant and Kate McKinnon in prison uniforms.

“I feel really fortunate to have had so many of the best moments of my life with these people that I love so much,” said Strong, voiced by Kathy Ann.

She closed with a line from “My Way” which she rewrote as, “You did it so high, Che!”

A later scene begins with RadioShack president Keenan Thompson praising a treacherous employee named Cecily. “She had such a strength and exhilaration to her performance that it made you remember why you enjoyed working…in Radio Shack … in the first place.”

As the shop backstory slipped away, taking the tortured metaphor with it, host Austin Butler (for this year’s “Elvis” biopic) came out to duet with Strong on the rewritten “Blue Christmas.” The entire cast joined in when the snowflakes fell.

(This was in addition to the “My Way” musical number that Strong performed in the 2021 season finale as one of her favorite impression subjects, judge Janine Pirro. She played Strong’s farewell but ultimately wasn’t.)

The farewell moments did not come as a surprise. Two hours before the show went live, “SNL” posted on its Instagram account, “Tonight we’re sending one of the best shows ever. We’ll miss you, Cecily!”

Strong stayed with SNL for just over 10 years, slightly longer than McKinnon’s run ended in May, and she won two Emmy nominations for her work.

In addition to Kathy Ann, Strong’s characters included the weekend commentator, the girl you wish you hadn’t struck up a conversation with at a party, “Girlfriends Talk Show” co-host Kira and “Science Show” co-host Lonnie.

It also featured famous people including Pirro, Representative Liz Cheney, and Melania Trump.

Strong’s fans panicked at the start of the season when her name disappeared from the opening credits of SNL. It turns out that she was taking a leave of absence to star in a play in Los Angeles, and returned for the fourth episode of the season.

Her permanent exit follows the departure of eight cast members — McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kyle Mooney, Alex Moffat, Chris Redd, Melissa Villaseñor, and Aristotle Athari — in the spring at the end of season 47.

Like many SNL veterans, Strong has diversified her resume by working outside of 30 Rock. In addition to the Los Angeles revue — “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,” a one-woman show she also performed in New York — she stars with Keegan-Michael Key in the Apple TV+ series “Schmigadoon” that airs its first season in 2021 and has completed Recently, the second season was shot.

Strong grew up in Oak Park and spent several years in Chicago doing stage shows as well as sketch and improvisation shows at Second City and iO.


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