Cecily Strong

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Cecily Strong
Cecily Strong at the 74th Annual Peabody Awards (cropped).jpg
Strong at the 74th Annual Peabody Awards
Birth nameCecily Legler Strong[1]
Born (1984-02-08) February 8, 1984 (age 37)
Springfield, Illinois, U.S.
MediumTelevision, film
Alma materCalifornia Institute of the Arts
Years active2012–present
GenresImprovisational comedy, sketch comedy, blue comedy, satire
Subject(s)American culture, current events, pop culture
Notable works and rolesSaturday Night Live

Cecily Legler Strong (born February 8, 1984)[2][3] is an American actress and comedian who has been a cast member of Saturday Night Live since 2012.[4] Other roles include the film Ghostbusters and voice work on The Awesomes. For her work on Saturday Night Live, she was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards.

Early life[edit]

Cecily Legler Strong was born in Springfield, Illinois, and was raised in Oak Park, Illinois, an inner ring suburb of Chicago.[5] She is the daughter of Penelope and William "Bill" Strong, who worked as an Associated Press bureau chief and is now managing partner at a Chicago public relations firm.[2][5] Penny Legler Strong is a nurse practitioner, having worked extensively at area hospitals. Strong's parents are divorced.[6] Strong grew up adoring SNL as a child, reenacting sketches with her friend[7] 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.[8]

She attended Oak Park and River Forest High School until her sophomore year, when she was expelled for bringing cannabis 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.[6][9] She then studied acting at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), graduating in 2006 with a BFA in theatre.[10][11][12] 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.[6] Strong performed on a cruise ship with other Second City members for four months.[13] She appeared at the Chicago Sketch Fest, Chicago Just for Laughs, the New York Sketchfest, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival,[11] the Goodman Theater, the Bailiwick Theater, the Mercury Theater, and with the all-female improv troupe Virgin Daiquiri.[14]

Saturday Night Live[edit]

Strong debuted as a featured player on Saturday Night Live on September 15, 2012.[11][15][16] 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,[17] 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.[18] 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.[19]

Recurring characters[edit]

Celebrity impersonations[edit]

Other work[edit]

Strong was the featured entertainer at the 2015 White House Correspondents' Association dinner (cracking that she was the first straight woman to do so in twenty years).[23] She took digs at the various news organizations in attendance, politicians of all persuasions, and President Obama. She also took shots at the US Secret Service, host location the Washington Hilton, Brian Williams, Sarah Koenig and the state of Indiana.[24]

In 2016, she appeared in a commercial for Old Navy,[25] 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.[26] 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.

Her first book, a memoir titled This Will All Be Over Soon will be out on 10 August 2021.[27] The book is mainly about grieving the death of her cousin amid the COVID-19 pandemic.[28]

Strong appeared in HBO Max's six-part comedy series That Damn Michael Che, featuring SNL cast mate Michael Che.[29]


In January 2020, it was announced that Strong would be leading Schmigadoon!,[30] her own series on the streaming platform Apple TV + which is to be produced by Lorne Michaels. The series will center around a couple (played by Strong and Keegan-Michael Key) stuck in a 1940s studio musical town until they find "true love". Rounding out the cast are Alan Cumming, Fred Armisen, Kristen Chenoweth, and Aaron Tveit.[31]



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[32] Dana Dandridge
2016 Ghostbusters Jennifer Lynch
2018 The Female Brain Zoe


Year Title Role Other notes
2012–present Saturday Night Live Herself, Various Main cast
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"
2019 RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Herself 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 Schmigadoon! Melissa Main cast, upcoming series

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2020 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Saturday Night Live Nominated [33]


  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. ^ Saturday 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.
  5. ^ a b "Cecily Strong to co-anchor SNL's 'Weekend Update'". Sj-r.com. September 16, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2013. (subscription required)
  6. ^ a b c Gomez, Luis (June 14, 2013). "Interview: 'SNL' star Cecily Strong returns home amid dream year". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  7. ^ "Cecily Strong Is Being Serious". The New York Times. February 7, 2014. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  8. ^ Cecily Strong - Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2013). February 19, 2013.
  9. ^ http://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episode-1161-cecily-strong
  10. ^ "CalArts Grad Cecily Strong Added to Cast of 'SNL'". SCV News. December 11, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c "Cast Bios". Cecily Strong. NBC. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  12. ^ Fretts, Bruce (November 8, 2013). "Meet Saturday Night Live's New "Weekend Update" Anchor Cecily Strong". TV Guide. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  13. ^ Heilpern, John. "Cecily Strong Shares the Secret to Her Saturday Night Live Success".
  14. ^ "Cecily Strong". Tumblr. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
  15. ^ Levin, Gary (September 10, 2012). "'Saturday Night Live' adds three new cast members". USA Today.
  16. ^ "'Saturday Night Live' adds 3 performers for upcoming season after departures of Wiig, Samberg". The Washington Post (The Associated Press). September 10, 2012.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Reed, Ryan (September 12, 2014). "'SNL' Replaces Cecily Strong as 'Weekend Update' Anchor". Rolling Stone.
  19. ^ "Cecily Strong". Television Academy. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  20. ^ Fishman, Elly (February 20, 2013). "Questions for Saturday Night Live's Cecily Strong". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ Perkins, Dennis (January 26, 2020). "Third time's the winner, as Saturday Night Live finally takes advantage of Adam Driver". The AV Club. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  23. ^ C-SPAN (April 25, 2015), Cecily Strong complete remarks at 2015 White House Correspondents' Dinner (C-SPAN), retrieved February 12, 2017
  24. ^ Cecily Strong’s harshest burns in her White House correspondents’ dinner speech, The Washington Post, April 26, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2015
  25. ^ "Old Navy enlists SNL alums to improvise series of online spots". Campaign Live. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  26. ^ "David Letterman Will Explore Climate Change For National Geographic Docu-Series". Variety. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  27. ^ @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.
  28. ^ "This Will All Be Over Soon". Simon & Schuster. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  29. ^ Petski, Denise. "'That Damn Michael Che': HBO Max Unveils First-Look At 'SNL' Star's Sketch Show — Watch". Deadline. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  30. ^ As confirmed by show creator Cinco Paul: https://twitter.com/cincopedia/status/1318656768591896576?s=20
  31. ^ Petski, Denise; Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (January 30, 2020). "Cecily Strong To Star In Musical Comedy Nearing Series Order At Apple". Deadline. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  32. ^ Mike Fleming Jr. "Cecily Strong Joins Melissa McCarthy Comedy ‘Michelle Darnell’", Deadline Hollywood, April 28, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2015
  33. ^ "Cecily Strong". Emmys.com. Television Academy. Retrieved July 28, 2020.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Amy Poehler
Weekend Update anchor with Seth Meyers
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