Fans of Saturday Night Live were more than a little surprised when Cecily Strong, one of the sketch comedy show’s strongest players, returned for his 48e season in October.
SNL had just experienced a spate of high-profile departures — Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kyle Mooney, Alex Moffat, Chris Redd, Melissa Villaseñor and Aristotle Athari — prior to the start of the season, and Strong himself hadn’t just taken the first weeks off because of her one-woman show, but also her Apple TV+ series Schmigadoon! was picked up for a second season due to strong reviews.
After a cold open with Strong’s Kimberly Guilfoyle hijacking a Trump (James Austin Johnson) infomercial selling his gullible fans NFTs by pushing her own deafening Christmas album, the 11-year-old veteran was given quite a farewell during “Weekend Update.”
Appearing as “two-time Heisman Trophy stealer Cathy Anne,” one of Strong’s longest-running bits, the comedienne came in in a pink track jacket and Santa hat, struggling to light a cigarette.
“It’s covering up a giant open wound,” she said of the Santa hat. “I got a little scalped… I fell asleep on an escalator. It’s just a mess in here. But now the curtains at least match the curtains!”
“You know, actually I’m a little emo tonight because the truth is I’m here to say goodbye,” she added.
When ‘Weekend Update’ co-host Michael Che asked her where she was going, Strong’s Cathy Anne exclaimed, ‘Turns out: prison! All the crimes I’ve confessed to you here for the past seven years have finally caught up with me. You know, drug use, trespassing, property destruction, crack, pretending to be a cop and some crack… and some Sonic attacks.” (By that she meant “putting an upper deck in a Sonic.”)
“I think it will give me much needed stability. And I’m not that scared because I have friends on the inside, and they seem to be doing great,” she explained, throwing at a photo of Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant in prison, covered in tattoos.
Then Strong (as Cathy Anne) tore up the character a bit by saying, “It’s just my time now.” But I had a lot of fun here and I feel really lucky to have lived so many of the best moments of my life in this place, with these people I love so much.