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Cecily Strong

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Cecily Strong
Strong at the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary celebration in 2015
Cecily Legler Strong[1]

(1984-02-08) February 8, 1984 (age 40)
EducationCalifornia Institute of the Arts (BFA)
Occupation(s)Actress, comedian
Years active2012–present
Known forSaturday Night Live (2012–2022)
Schmigadoon! (2021–2023)

Cecily Legler Strong (born February 8, 1984)[2][3] is an American actress and comedian. She was a cast member on the NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live from 2012 to 2022.[4] She is the longest-tenured female cast member in the show's history.[5]

Strong has a starring role on the Apple TV+ musical comedy series Schmigadoon! (2021–2023), which she also co-produced. Her other roles include voice work on The Awesomes (2013–2015), supporting roles in films like Ghostbusters, The Meddler, and The Female Brain. She hosted the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2015. Her first book, the memoir This Will All Be Over Soon, was published in 2021.

For her work on Saturday Night Live, Strong was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the 72nd and 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards.

Early life[edit]

Strong was born in Springfield, Illinois, and was raised in Oak Park, an inner ring suburb of Chicago.[6] She is the daughter of Penelope and William "Bill" Strong, who worked as an Associated Press bureau chief and as of 2013 ran his own public relations firm.[2][6] Penny Legler Strong is a nurse practitioner, having worked extensively at area hospitals. Strong's parents are divorced.[7] Strong grew up adoring SNL as a child, reenacting sketches with her friend[8] and watching old SNL commercials on VHS. "I had a tape of the best commercials, and I wore it out, every day." She has stated that she was inspired by Phil Hartman.[9]

In a 2021 interview with Terry Gross on the National Public Radio program Fresh Air, Strong said that because her uncle is a Broadway producer, as a child she often was able to attend Broadway shows and sometimes go back stage to meet their casts.[10]

She attended Oak Park and River Forest High School until her sophomore year, when she was expelled for bringing marijuana to school. She then attended a private Catholic school until transferring for her senior year to the Chicago Academy for the Arts, where she graduated in 2002.[7][11] She then studied acting at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), graduating in 2006 with a BFA in theatre.[12][13][14] After graduating, Strong returned to Chicago where she studied at the Second City Conservatory and iO Chicago.


Strong performed regularly at The Second City and iO Chicago.[7] Strong performed on a cruise ship with other Second City members for four months.[15] She appeared at the Chicago Sketch Fest, Chicago Just for Laughs, the New York Sketchfest, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival,[13] the Goodman Theater, the Bailiwick Theater, the Mercury Theater, and with the all-female improv troupe Virgin Daiquiri.[16]

Saturday Night Live[edit]

Strong debuted as a featured player on Saturday Night Live on September 15, 2012.[13][17][18] The next season, Strong became a repertory player and co-anchored the recurring Weekend Update segment with Seth Meyers, beginning with the season 39 premiere. Strong later co-anchored with Colin Jost,[19] and was replaced on Weekend Update with writer Michael Che, beginning with the season 40 premiere in September 2014, partly at her own request to focus on doing sketches as a part of the regular cast.[20] In 2020, Strong was nominated for her first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on the show.[21] She was nominated again in 2021.[22] She was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the 12th Critics' Choice Television Awards.[23]

Strong drew praise from abortion-rights supporters, and strong backlash from abortion opponents, after appearing in a comedy skit, "Goober the Clown Who Had An Abortion When She Was 23," during a Weekend Update sketch on the November 6, 2021, episode.[24] The sketch followed U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments in two cases relating to the Texas Heartbeat Act.[25] Strong later confirmed on her Instagram account that the sketch referenced her own abortion.[26] Strong followed up on the commentary a year later, during a Weekend Update sketch on the November 5, 2022, episode, appearing as "Tammy the Trucker on Gas Prices and Definitely Not Abortion" before the 2022 midterm elections.

Strong returned to SNL for season 48, and passed former castmate Kate McKinnon as the longest-running female cast member in the show's history,[27][5] though she missed the first three shows of the season reprising her role in the play The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe in Los Angeles.[28] She returned on the October 29, 2022, episode.[29] Strong passed McKinnon's record with the December 17, 2022, episode,[30][5] her last.[31][5]

Recurring characters[edit]

Celebrity impressions[edit]

Other work[edit]

Strong was the featured entertainer at the 2015 White House Correspondents' Association dinner.[35] She took digs at the various news organizations in attendance, politicians of all persuasions, and President Obama. She also took shots at the U.S. Secret Service, host location the Washington Hilton, Brian Williams, Sarah Koenig and the state of Indiana.[36]

In 2016, she appeared in a commercial for Old Navy,[37] alongside other SNL cast members Nasim Pedrad and Jay Pharoah. That year, Strong also joined the climate change documentary show Years of Living Dangerously as a celebrity correspondent.[38] In 2016, she guest starred as Samantha Stevens in TBS's Angie Tribeca and Catherine Hobart in Fox's Scream Queens. She has appeared in a series of commercials for Triscuit since 2017. Starting in 2020 she starred in a series of Prego Spaghetti sauce commercials and in 2022 she was in several Verizon commercials featuring Apple+ TV with several co-stars including Adam Scott and Julian Edelman.

Her first book, a memoir titled This Will All Be Over Soon, was published on August 10, 2021.[39][40] The book addresses "the challenges of beginning in a relationship during the pandemic; the pain of losing family and friends; the pivotal events of her life that shaped her; and the importance of gratitude for each passing day."[41] It developed from an essay she wrote about grieving the loss of her cousin Owen to brain cancer in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic that was first published on Vulture.com in 2020.[42][43]

In 2021, Strong appeared in HBO Max's six-part comedy series That Damn Michael Che, featuring SNL castmate Michael Che.[44] The same year, she starred in, and was a producer for, Schmigadoon!, a musical parody series on Apple TV+. Developed by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, and produced by SNL's Lorne Michaels, the series centers around a couple (played by Strong and Keegan-Michael Key) stuck in a 1940s studio musical town until they find "true love".[45][46]

Strong made her New York stage debut in an Off Broadway revival of Jane Wagner's one-woman play The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, which starred Lily Tomlin in 1985.[47] Directed by Leigh Silverman, the show opened at The Shed on January 11, 2022.[48][49]

It was then announced in December 2023, that Strong would co-star in the off Broadway play Brooklyn Laundry, which opened at the New York Center on February 28, 2024.[50]



Year Title Role Other notes
2012 How to Sponsor a Uterus Karen Rigsby Short film
2015 The Bronze Janice Townsend
2015 Slow Learners Amber the ex
2015 The Meddler Jillian
2015 Staten Island Summer Mary Ellen
2016 The Boss[51] Dana Dandridge
2016 Ghostbusters Jennifer Lynch
2018 The Female Brain Zoe
2022 Sparring Partner Woman Short film
2023 Leo Virginia Malkin (voice)
2024 The Garfield Movie Marge (voice)


Year Title Role Other notes
2012–2022 Saturday Night Live Herself, Various 213 episodes
2012 Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday Various 2 episodes
2013–2015 The Awesomes Various Voices 13 episodes
2015 White House Correspondents' Dinner Herself (host) Featured entertainer
2016 Angie Tribeca Samantha Stevens Episode: "Tribeca's Day Off"
2016 Years of Living Dangerously Herself Episode: "A Race Against Time"
2016 Netflix Presents: The Characters Herself Episode: "Natasha Rothwell"
2016 Superstore Missy Jones Episode: "Olympics"
2016 Maya & Marty Various Episode: "Ricky Gervais and Cecily Strong"
2016 Scream Queens Catherine Hobart Episode: "Scream Again"
2017 Man Seeking Woman CCN Reporter Episode: "Horse"
2017 Detroiters Roz Chunks Episode: "Dream Cruise"
2017 Great News Jessica Episode: "Night of the Living Screen"
2018 The Simpsons Megan Matheson (voice) Episode: "Homer Is Where the Art Isn't"
2018 Nature Cat Petunia (voice) Episode: "Garden Impossible"
2019 RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Herself (guest judge) Episode: "Roast in Peace"
2019 I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson Brenda Episode: "It's the Cigars You Smoke That Is Going to Give You Cancer"
2020 Loafy Becca Main cast
2021 That Damn Michael Che Woman in elevator Episode: "Policin'"
2021–2023 Schmigadoon! Melissa Gimble Main cast; also producer
2024 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Ginger (voice) Episode: "Medicaid"

Personal life[edit]

In March 2024, Strong revealed that she is engaged to her partner Jack.[52][53]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Title Result Notes
2022 Drama League Awards Distinguished Performance Award The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe Nominated [54]
2021 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Saturday Night Live Nominated [23]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated [22]
2020 Nominated [22]
Online Film & Television

Association Awards

Best Female Performance

in a Variety Program

Nominated [55]
2019 Nominated [55]
2014 Online Film & Television

Association Awards

Best Female Performance

in a Fiction Program

Nominated [55]


  1. ^ "News of the Alumni" (PDF). St. Andrew's. Spring 1984. p. 25. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 9, 2017. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Dettro, Chris (January 19, 2013). "New SNL Comedian has shallow Springfield roots". The State Journal-Register. Springfield, Illinois. Archived from the original on November 3, 2014. Retrieved October 5, 2013. Strong's father, Bill Strong, was the Associated Press bureau chief at the Statehouse when Cecily was born in February 1984.
  3. ^ Night Live – SNL [@nbcsnl] (February 8, 2013). "Happy Birthday Cecily Strong!! So glad we get to spend the day w/ her and a bunch of snow and @justinbieber! tinyurl.com/apxz6pn #SNL #Fun" (Tweet). Retrieved March 8, 2019 – via Twitter.
  4. ^ Metz, Nina (September 10, 2012). "Aidy Bryant, Tim Robinson, Cecily Strong join cast of 'SNL'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 18, 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d Schneider, Michael (June 20, 2023). "Cecily Strong and Ego Nwodim on Knowing When to Leave 'SNL' and Learning Not to Take Anything Personal". Variety. Retrieved July 7, 2023.
  6. ^ a b "Cecily Strong to co-anchor SNL's 'Weekend Update'". Sj-r.com. September 16, 2013. Archived from the original on October 7, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Gomez, Luis (June 14, 2013). "Interview: 'SNL' star Cecily Strong returns home amid dream year". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  8. ^ "Cecily Strong Is Being Serious". The New York Times. February 7, 2014. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  9. ^ Cecily Strong – Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. February 19, 2013.
  10. ^ Gross, Terry (August 9, 2021). "Cecily Strong On 'SNL,' 'Schmigadoon!' And Coping In The Early Days Of The Pandemic". NPR. Retrieved August 11, 2021.
  11. ^ "Episode 1161: Cecily Strong". WTF with Mark Maron. September 28, 2020. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  12. ^ "CalArts Grad Cecily Strong Added to Cast of 'SNL'". SCV News. December 11, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  13. ^ a b c "Cast Bios". Cecily Strong. NBC. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  14. ^ Fretts, Bruce (November 8, 2013). "Meet Saturday Night Live's New "Weekend Update" Anchor Cecily Strong". TV Guide. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  15. ^ Heilpern, John (January 18, 2016). "Cecily Strong Shares the Secret to Her Saturday Night Live Success". Vanity Fair.
  16. ^ "Cecily Strong". Tumblr. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  17. ^ Levin, Gary (September 10, 2012). "'Saturday Night Live' adds three new cast members". USA Today.
  18. ^ "'Saturday Night Live' adds 3 performers for upcoming season after departures of Wiig, Samberg". The Washington Post (The Associated Press). September 10, 2012. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019.
  19. ^ Morgan, Richard (May 9, 2014). "Cecily Strong and Colin Jost Are Newest 'Weekend Update' Anchors on 'Saturday Night Live'". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  20. ^ Carter, Bill (September 11, 2014). "New Comic to Anchor 'Update' on 'S.N.L.'". The New York Times. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  21. ^ "Cecily Strong". Television Academy. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  22. ^ a b c "Cecily Strong". Emmys.com. Television Academy. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  23. ^ a b "Television Nominations Announced for the 27th Annual Critics Choice Awards". Critics Choice. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  24. ^ "'SNL,' often lamented by critics, draws rave reviews thanks to Cecily Strong". CNN. November 8, 2021. Archived from the original on November 8, 2021.
  25. ^ "Cecily Strong's 'clown abortion' SNL sketch prompts women to share their stories". NBC "Today". November 8, 2021. Archived from the original on November 8, 2021.
  26. ^ "Cecily Strong thanks 'SNL' cast after personal clown sketch about abortion". USA Today. November 12, 2021. Archived from the original on November 11, 2021.
  27. ^ "Saturday Night Live - NBC.com". NBC. Retrieved April 10, 2023.
  28. ^ Darel Jevens (October 1, 2022). "Fear not, Cecily Strong fans: She hasn't left 'SNL'". Chicago Sun-Times.
  29. ^ Darwish, Meghan (October 27, 2022). "Cecily Strong Returns to 'Saturday Night Live' — See Her on Set of Season 48 (PHOTO)". TV Insider. Retrieved October 27, 2022.
  30. ^ Hatchett, Keisha (November 29, 2022). "SNL: Steve Martin and Martin Short, Austin Butler to Host in December". TVLine. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  31. ^ Tinoco, Armando (December 17, 2022). "Cecily Strong Leaving 'SNL' After 11 Seasons". Deadline. Retrieved December 17, 2022.
  32. ^ Fishman, Elly (February 20, 2013). "Questions for Saturday Night Live's Cecily Strong". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  33. ^ Hoglund, Andy (January 26, 2020). "Saturday Night Live recap: A 'very chill' Adam Driver goes to hell and back (and, yes, Kylo Ren appears)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  34. ^ Perkins, Dennis (January 26, 2020). "Third time's the winner, as Saturday Night Live finally takes advantage of Adam Driver". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  35. ^ C-SPAN (April 25, 2015), Cecily Strong complete remarks at 2015 White House Correspondents' Dinner (C-SPAN), retrieved February 12, 2017
  36. ^ Cecily Strong's harshest burns in her White House correspondents' dinner speech, The Washington Post, April 26, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2015
  37. ^ "Old Navy enlists SNL alums to improvise series of online spots". Campaign Live. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  38. ^ "David Letterman Will Explore Climate Change For National Geographic Docu-Series". Variety. September 17, 2015. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  39. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (August 4, 2021). "Cecily Strong Is Starting a New Conversation". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  40. ^ @cecilystrong (January 23, 2021). "I'm excited and nervous and happy and overwhelmed and all the things to share a project I've been working on – my first book #ThisWillAllBeOverSoon . I didn't plan on writing a book this year and certainly didn't think this would be the book I would first write. But I'm so glad I did and I'm so lucky to have had people in my life to inspire it. It's out on 8.10.2021, but you can learn more and pre-order a copy here: bit.ly/393rboe" – via Instagram.
  41. ^ "Cecily Strong: This Will All Be Over Soon with Chanel Miller". Semicolon Bookstore. Archived from the original on August 10, 2021. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  42. ^ Strong, Cecily (April 21, 2020). "I Don't Know How to Tell This Story". Vulture. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  43. ^ This Will All Be Over Soon. Simon & Schuster. August 10, 2021. ISBN 9781982168315. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  44. ^ Petski, Denise. "'That Damn Michael Che': HBO Max Unveils First-Look At 'SNL' Star's Sketch Show — Watch". Deadline. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  45. ^ Rickwald, Bethany (July 12, 2021). "Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Schmigadoon!, Starring Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key". Playbill. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  46. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (July 12, 2021). "'Schmigadoon!': Musical Parody Miniseries Brings That Old Song and Dance Back to Life". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  47. ^ Evans, Greg (October 12, 2021). "Cecily Strong Sets New York Stage Debut In Revival Of Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Solo Show 'The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe'". Deadline. Retrieved October 17, 2021.
  48. ^ Franklin, Marc J. (January 5, 2022). "Take a 1st Look at Cecily Strong in The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe Off-Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  49. ^ Green, Jesse (January 12, 2022). "'Intelligent Life' Review: Cecily Strong's 'Awerobics' Workout". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 20, 2022.
  50. ^ "Cecily Strong, David Zayas to star in 'Brooklyn Laundry' off Broadway". December 19, 2023.
  51. ^ Mike Fleming Jr. "Cecily Strong Joins Melissa McCarthy Comedy 'Michelle Darnell'", Deadline Hollywood, April 28, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2015
  52. ^ "'Saturday Night Live' alum Cecily Strong reveals she is engaged". Entertainment Weekly.
  53. ^ "I Don't Know How to Tell This Story". April 21, 2020.
  54. ^ "2022 Awards – the Drama League". November 22, 2021.
  55. ^ a b c "Cecily Strong". IMDb. Retrieved July 17, 2021.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Seth Meyers as sole anchor
Weekend Update anchor with Seth Meyers
September 28, 2013 – February 1, 2014
Succeeded by
Cecily Strong and Colin Jost
Preceded by
Seth Meyers and Cecily Strong
Weekend Update anchor with Colin Jost
March 1 – May 17, 2014
Succeeded by
Colin Jost and Michael Che