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Cecily Strong Leaving Saturday Night Live

"Tonight we send off one of the best to ever do it"

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Cecily Strong leaving SNL
Cecily Strong on SNL (NBC)

    Cecily Strong has announced her departure from Saturday Night Live.

    The longtime SNL cast member bid farewell to the sketch comedy show during this weekend’s Christmas episode. “Tonight we send off one of the best to ever do it,” SNL wrote in a social media post prior to the episode. “We’ll miss you, Cecily!”

    As part of her send-off, Strong reprised her classic character Cathy Anne during Weekend Update. “It’s just my time now, but I had a lot of fun here, and I feel really lucky that I got to have so many of the best moments of my life in this place with these people who I love so much,” she said through tears.

    At the end of the episode, host Austin Butler and the rest of SNL’s cast serenaded Strong by performing “Blues Christmas.”

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    Strong joined SNL in 2012, and her 11 seasons on the show is tied with Kate McKinnon as the longest tenure for a female cast member in history.

    Strong had previously been rumored to be leaving SNL this past summer as part of a massive cast exodus that included McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, Pete Davidson, Alex Moffat, Melissa Villaseñor, and Chris Redd. While she missed the first three episodes of SNL’s 48th season due to scheduling conflicts tied to her one-woman stage play The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, Strong returned to Studio 8H on October 29th for the start of a six-episode final run.

    Not counting Kenan Thompson and his absurd 20-season tenure, Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che are now the longest serving SNL cast member currently on the show (they’re on their 10th and ninth seasons, respectively). Mikey Day and Heidi Gardner are next, with seven and six seasons under their belts.

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    Next up for Strong is Season 2 of her Apple TV+ comedy Schmigadoon!, co-starring Keenan- Michael Key.

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