“Tonight we send off one of the best to ever do it,” SNL stated on Instagram. “We’ll miss you, Cecily!” they captioned a photo that shared the same sentiment written in marker.
Fans perhaps knew this was coming. At first when Strong wasn’t present during its Oct. 1 Season 48 premiere, many wondered if she was joining the many mainstays who recently left Saturday Night Live — including Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson, Aidy Bryant, and Kyle Mooney; and later Chris Redd, Alex Moffat, Melissa Villaseñor, along with Aristotle Athari. Strong’s absence at the time could be attributed to her role in the revival of one-woman show, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, which was taking place at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
She returned to SNL after the L.A. show concluded on Oct. 23. Season 48 marked Strong’s 11th full season, setting a record: Strong is SNL‘s longest-running female cast member, surpassing McKinnon who left the show at the end of Season 47, along with Davidson, Bryant, and Mooney.
Strong joined the cast in 2012 as a featured player, and by the next season she was a repertory cast member and co-anchored the “Weekend Update” with Seth Meyers, later joining Colin Jost at the “Weekend” desk. She was nominated for Emmys in both 2020 and 2021 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Last week, Strong appeared in the cold open, where she sung a Christmas ditty alongside castmates, which roasted Elon Musk and Hitler fan Kanye West.