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Cecily Strong, the former Chicagoan who has been on the cast of “Saturday Night Live” longer than any other woman, said goodbye to the show this weekend in not one, but two big departures.

In the first, Strong reprized the character of Katie Ann, a street addict with a pink umbrella. With an unlit cigarette in hand, incorrigible outlaw Cathy Ann told Weekend Update’s Michael Che this was her last appearance as she agreed to a life sentence.

But he had friends on the inside who were doing well, he said, displaying a photo of recently departed actresses Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon in penitentiary garb.

“I feel really lucky to have spent some of the best moments of my life with these people that I love so much,” Strong said in a husky Cathy Anna voice.

He closed “From My Way” with a line that read: “I did it out loud, Che.”

A later scene began with Kenan Thompson, head of Radio Shack, paying tribute to a departing employee named Cecil. “He’ll have a power and joy in his speech that will make you remember why you enjoy working… Radio hut … in the first place.”

As the backdrop of the store disappeared, taking the tortured metaphor with it, host Austin Butler (from this year’s Elvis biopic) broke out into a duet with Strong, rewritten in “Blue Christmas.” The full cast joined in as the snowflakes fell.

(This was in addition to the musical number “My Way” that Strong performed in the 2021 season finale as one of his favorite impression subjects, judge Jeanine Pirro. It sounded like a farewell for Strong, but ultimately it wasn’t.)

The pleasant moments were not a surprise. Two hours before the start of the live show, “SNL” posted on its Instagram account: We will miss you, Cecily.”

Strong stayed with “SNL” a little more than 10 years longer than McKinnon’s run, which ended in May, and earned two Emmy nominations for her work.

In addition to Cathy Ann, Strong’s heroes included Weekend Update commentator The Girl You Wish You Didn’t Strike Up at a Party, Girlfriends Talk Show co-host Kira, and Science Show host Lonnie.

He also appeared as celebrities including Pirro, Rep. Liz Cheney and Melania Trump.

Strong’s fans got a scare earlier in the season when his name disappeared from the opening credits of “SNL.” It turned out that he was taking time off to film a play in Los Angeles, and he returned for the fourth episode of the season.

His permanent departure follows the departure of eight cast members: McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Pete Davidson, Kyle Mooney, Alex Moffat, Chris Redd, Melissa Villasenor and Aristotle Atari in the spring at the end of season 47.

Like many “SNL” veterans, Strong is diversifying his resume outside of 30 Rock. In addition to the Los Angeles play Searching for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, a one-woman show she also performed in New York, she co-stars with Keegan-Michael Key in the Apple TV+ series Schmigadoon. aired its first season in 2021 and recently wrapped filming for season 2.

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


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