“Saturday Night Live” star Cecily Strong did not go quietly into that good night, saying a heartfelt goodbye to the show in her final appearance on “Weekend Update,” appearing as her popular character Cathy Anne.
Wearing a Santa hat, which she said was due to having her hair scalped in an escalator mishap, Cathy Anne reveals the reason for her appearance.
“I’m a little emo tonight, because I’m here to say goodbye,” she said.
When pressed for a reason for her departure by anchor Michael Che, she said “turns out, prison.”
“After seven years, you had enough of me,” she cracked, saying prison would give her stability and she already had “friends on the inside.” (Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant were pictured as the friends on the inside.)
In a goodbye to Colin Jost, Strong shared a “picture of you and me doing ‘Update’ together,” she said.
“Everybody has to go to jail at some point, and it’s just my time now, but I feel really lucky that I got to spend so many of the best moments of my life with these people that I love so much,” she said as she nearly broke character, then embraced both cast members after singing a snippet of “I did it my way,” changing the lyrics to “high Che.” In a nice touch, the character finally lit her ever present cigarette.
In the show’s final sketch, Kenan Thompson said goodbye to Strong, honoring her “11 years at Radio Shack” before host Austin Butler and the cast serenaded her with a teary rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas.”
Prior to tonight’s show, which Butler and musical guest Lizzo, NBC announced that the Dec. 17 episode would be Strong’s last.
The news of her departure was posted on “Saturday Night Live’s” Instagram. “Tonight we send off one of the best to ever do it. We’ll miss you, Cecily!”
For 11 seasons, Strong has distinguished herself by playing such characters as The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party and with a louche impersonation of the Fox News opinion host Judge Jeanine Pirro and most recently, Arizona Governor candidate Kari Lake. During her tenure on “SNL,” Strong even did a stint as an anchor on “Weekend Update” opposite Seth Meyers, then Colin Jost.
She is currently starring in the second season of “Schmigadoon!,” a parody of musicals that streams on Apple+. Like “SNL,” the show is produced by Lorne Michaels.
Brian Steinberg contributed to this report.