‘SNL’s’ Cecily Strong Promises Hard Laughs at White House Correspondents Dinner

Cecily Strong SNL
Courtesy of NBC

Cecily Strong of “Saturday Night Live” will be this year’s featured entertainment at the April 25 White House Correspondents Assn. dinner, but the gig may be one of the tougher comic assignments.

“For the past couple of months I was truly terrified, and then it’s like, ‘Well, now it’s public so I can’t back out,'” she told Variety. “But now that it’s closer I think I’m having less time to be scared because more and more time I have to be working on it.”

The room of roughly 2,600 people is full of journalists, media executives, celebrities and powerful D.C. figures — the majority of whom don’t shrink from expressing their opinions — and it is broadcast live on C-SPAN and cable news channels. The cavernous ballroom of the Washington Hilton has pretty poor acoustics. And as is tradition, she will be following the president, not coming on before him.

“He’s known as an amazingly funny guy,” she said. “He’s maybe our funniest president. You know, his timing is great. He had that moment at the State of the Union where he said [in a comeback to GOP detractors], ‘Well I should know because I won two of them.’ I’ve never said anything that cool on the spot. That’s one of the things you think of after like, ‘Oh, I should have said that.’ And so, it’s tough to follow that guy.'”

One of Obama’s writers, she said, has reached out to her and she met him. “Hopefully — they’ll send me their jokes, we’ll make sure we’re not wearing the same thing” — and they don’t repeat the same material. To prepare, she has been watching clips of past gigs, plans to consult with Seth Meyers (who was the featured entertainer in 2011) and has been working with his writer.

She said that it “felt like the right year” to do the dinner as President Obama also has Chicago-area roots. “It was really sort of like, ‘Well, it’s now or never,'” she says of taking the gig.

Strong, 31, grew up in Oak Park, Ill. Her father is a former journalist who is now in public relations, and her brother actually ran the confetti cannon at Barack Obama’s 2004 victory celebration when he won his Senate seat. Her family will be there, and get a chance to meet Obama. “I think that’ll be a fun little moment,” she said. She also plans to visit the White House the day before the dinner and, with her father and stepmother, visit Arlington Cemetery, where her grandparents are buried.

She has not been to the dinner before, but counts that year that Stephen Colbert entertained, 2006, as “the coolest thing I have ever seen done.” Colbert, in character, skewered President George W. Bush, who was sitting right next to him. “I loved that, and thought it was so powerful and just incredible,” she said. It also created some controversy — and then next year the WHCA selected a much less biting figure, Rich Little.

She also was a big fan of Meyers’ gig. “Seth can get away with being a little more biting because he’s such a friendly, fun guy,” Strong said.

Strong also will be one of only a handful of women who have performed comedy at the dinner — Paula Poundstone and Wanda Sykes among them — and she also is younger than most entertainers who’ve done the event.

“A lot of these people were so great, but I don’t think I will be like a lot of them,” she said. “It helps and hopefully doesn’t hurt too much that I’ll already be so different just being a 31-year-old woman up there.”

She also noted that both she and Meyers come from sketch and improv comedy backgrounds, not standup.

“I know I definitely want some great, hard jokes,” she said. “There are definitely certain issues I’d love to hit and spend a little more time on. I think I’m kind of a silly person, so I hope it’s a little more silly than truly biting, if that makes sense. Really, I just hope that some of it is funny to some people — that would be the goal. I want to break even. That is what I keep saying because all I keep hearing is how tough a room it is, so it would really feel like a win if I break even.”

She adds, “I don’t want to jinx anything. I’m a knocker-on-wood kind of person, so let’s just hope I don’t fall. I don’t want any of that to be the news.”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 107

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. LeftyLouis says:

    She thinks that oaf Obama is funny?? TOTUS can barely do funny with a teleprompter much less real comedy. He just fell flat with his jokes about “Deflategate” on football. This Cecily Strong is another clueless liberal sycophant if she thinks the buffoon in the White House is funny. Progressives are funny. Liberals like drone strikes, NSA intrusions against our rights, generating chaos in the Middle East and not standing up to Putin. So fuunny!


  2. Lucyjune says:

    The White House coordinating with her? God, how stupid do they think we are. And, if she thought Colbert was amazing, then she should have no problem insulting Obama.

  3. BeEtLjOoZ says:

    Reblogged this on LouisianaWorld.Net | BattleOfOurTimes.Com and commented:
    Hard laughs sound a bit forced.

  4. P_Ang says:

    Well, most comedy IS lying with comedic timing, so the Bam hits that one right on the nose.

  5. Duh says:

    Funniest president? Well, he is a joke, as is anyone who voted for him.

  6. Serge Robert says:

    Cecily will be great, I look forward to her performance. Colbert and Myers were great but so will she be. xxx

    • pdq says:

      Wow, has she got her work cut out for herself. Since Obama’s office is helping her out, I’m sure we’ll see the real, witty, wonderful prez in all his glory…NOT! He is one, big downer, and none of his many victims will be laughing.

  7. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, Actually President Kennedy was the president with the best humor.

  8. John W. says:

    Funny ha-ha or funny like your weird uncle Larry?

  9. MickeyTwoTimes says:

    SNL has lost its biting edge with such a pronounced sycophant heading the dinner. What a sad fall from the great SNL satire days against politics. One more reason not to watch TV and also avoid this young woman’s present and future work.

  10. They are oblivious to the suffering of millions of American families over the last seven years. Gourging themselves on free food and liquor, they laugh and make merry as the very corporations they serve ship more jobs overseas, bringing only poverty to dinner tables across the land.

  11. DJH says:

    Why I am not surprised a moronic, cowardly, lying propagandist whore would consider one of obama’s most unprofessional moments funny. Even more pathetic when you consider the lies, disinformation or just ignoring facts and stories the media had to engage in to get him elected to begin with – silly slut!
    Further proof as to why the American people no longer trust the media and KNOW THE MEDIA ARE LYING SCABS – treasonous, unprofessional, integrity challenged, cowardly, lying whores!

    This clown is the most corrupt, inept, deceitful, lying, anti-American president in history – 10’s of millions of long term unemployed isn’t funny – oh but the corrupt media believes so.

    Crush these whores – go after abc/cnn/cbs/nyt/wapo/nbc/pbs et al – go after their advertisers, chase these scabs down in the street and question their morals and integrity – make these traitorous cowards terrified to lie to the American people again!

  12. Juan Peinado says:

    She’s already started to lick his hind end. It’s like we have state sponsored media in this country. Putin probably envies Obama for the support he gets without having to kill anyone (as far as we know).

  13. Elizabeth Reilly says:

    That was easy, given that his entire Presidency is a joke.

  14. Jeff says:

    The idiot has probably devoted more energy to this group circle jerk than he has to anything that actually matters. But the circle awaits, and they’re already getting excited. It’s going to be a hoot.

  15. boltuprite says:

    So instead of emulating Colbert and skewering Obama she’s going to deliver her schtick on her knees in supplication.

  16. Remond Walker says:

    Obviously, they missed the roast a couple years ago that featured Obama “trying to be funny”. He was so sophomoric and blathering in his JV attempt to be funny. Timing was wa-a-a-a-y off, his writing was terrible and it really showed a lack of insight and intelligence of what he was trying to be funny about! Then Mitt Romney took he stage and overwhelmed the crowd with his perfect timing, sophistication and genuine insight…..his comedic timing is the best I have ever seen. Obama…. “funniest president”? Ahhh, no, not likely. He IS a multitude of “….ists”…..funniest is and never will be one of them.

  17. C_O_Jones says:

    Lips locked firmly around
    a. sphincter
    b. member
    c. sheath
    d. all of the above

  18. fedup with lazy parasites says:

    Just show a video of obama pitching. It’ll bring down the house.

  19. Sage says:

    Reagan was FUNNY!!! His delivery was better. He didn’t “him and haw” like Owebama does…heck, Owebama can barley talk OR put two words together. Ever wonder why the Teleprompter is ALWAYS there? Of course the big ears give him that “clown like” quality…guess that helps with the laughs.

  20. Joe E in the IE says:

    How will the president ever survive such a vicious barrage of marshmallows, cotton candy and Nerf® Balls?

  21. John Oakman says:

    Obama is funny “Tee Hee–not Ha Ha”.

  22. Hart says:

    He really is funny but looks aren’t everything.

  23. Troy says:

    There is nothing funny about Obama!
    Ask the tens of millions who have given up looking for a job!
    Ask the ghosts of the 10s of thousands of Christians and Muslims whose murderers Obama enabled!
    Ask the Blacks whose unemployment numbers are over 2 times those of whites!
    The only thing funny about Obama is his decidedly deliberate attempts to destroy America, and the morons who still support the Affirmative Action President! Evidently they are not paying attention to their government at any level.
    On the lighter side, the President and Democrat Congressmen and Senators are planning a Cinco de Mayo party which ought to be a laugh.

  24. Paul Little says:

    Airhead. Trying to drum up interest in this narcissistic waste of time. Is she
    Sandra Fluke under another name?

  25. ““He’s known as an amazingly funny guy,” she said. “He’s maybe our funniest president.” – – possibly the most delusional comment ever printed. I guess we can expect similar hard-hitting comedy from this hand-picked SNL doll. I found it a good place to stop reading.

  26. kcm says:

    Not funny haha, funny queer…

  27. Ted Steiner says:

    This comedian doesn’t need to have high-priced writers. She could just read the Comments right here, have better material, and it wouldn’t cost her a dime.

  28. Kelly Laraia says:

    Another liberal comic that thinks its hilarious when someone mocks republicans…what else is new. I wonder if Ms. Strong will include a few Hillary Clinton jokes.

  29. Bob Ho says:

    funny like peewee Herman

  30. Ted Steiner says:

    If she thinks Obama is funny, she must be ecstatic about Hillary. She’s one big laugh after another. We were dead broke….I want to be your champion……I don’t recall…..What difference does it make….Vast right-wing conspiracy. She’s a killer as a comedian.

  31. mjnbell says:

    Jeez, why doesn’t this no talent sycophant just give BHO a lap dance?? Maybe a hummer on stage! I’m sure she’ll have some real biting commentary, yesiree!

  32. Tom says:

    If you’re going by the big, Dumbo-like jugears, I suppose it’s true. Very humorous. Kind of like “Pepper” on American Horror Story (Asylum)……

  33. Charles says:

    I agree with these reporters…. Obama is a clown.

  34. Excalibor says:

    I’m shocked the media hasn’t seized on the notion of a black man being funny. I mean, if calling Hilary a “strong woman” is sexist, isn’t calling Obama funny racist. Political correctness will destroy us.

  35. Excalibor says:


  36. AJ Franz says:

    He’ll do well with SNL. They have not been funny in decades. I honestly didn’t even know SNL was still on the air.

  37. John Poland says:

    If Lies are funny..This President is Hilarious !!!!!

  38. Jamesben says:

    To borrow from Billy Bob Thornton in “Sling Blade,” does she mean “funny ha ha, or funny qu*er?”

  39. Harry says:

    SNL is still on the air??

  40. Tomas says:

    Low income blacks are so stupid….. they can’t get a photo ID to vote. LOL

  41. Leo says:

    “…“the coolest thing I have ever seen done.” Colbert, in character, skewered President George W. Bush, who was sitting right next to him. “I loved that, and thought it was so powerful and just incredible,” she said….”

    So is Cecily going yo skewer Obama? Not likely.

  42. Harvey Weinstein says:

    Obama is as funny as a fire in an orphanage.

  43. derekcrane says:

    …funny like the plague.

  44. tom says:

    If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor!!! (HAHAHAHAHA)
    The economy s doing great!!! (HAHAHAHAHA)
    I won!!! (HAHAHAHAHA)
    They don’t like me ’cause I look different!!! (HAHAHAHAHA)
    Let’s give nuclear weapons to Iran!!! (HAHAHAHAHA)
    Let’s open the borders, and let moochers and terrorists stroll into America!!! (HAHAHAHAHA)
    Let’s put 15% of America on food stamps!!! (HAHAHAHAHA)
    Obama is really, really funny!

  45. Lou Gots says:

    Obola’s a laugh a minute. No two ways about it.

  46. tom says:

    I guess she saved her Clinton kneepads for Obama…

  47. Yeah, Barry is a joke all right.

  48. Jim Bowman says:

    Obama is about as funny as terminal hemorrhoids.

  49. Robert Peterson says:

    “He’s known as an amazingly funny guy,” she said. “….He had that moment at the State of the Union where he said [in a comeback to GOP detractors], ‘Well I should know because I won two of them.’ I’ve never said anything that cool on the spot….”

    I hate to break this to you honey, but he wasn’t being funny, and it wasn’t the first time he’s pointed out that he ‘won.’ He knows how to mock, which shows his meanness- in both senses of the word, but he’s a bit thin skinned when the tables are turned. I wish you luck with the gig but that High School crush doesn’t bode well for an entertaining evening.

  50. Joe Casepack says:

    Yeah, Obama is funny. Funny like Ebola.

More Biz News from Variety