Cecily Strong Opens Up About Final Night On SNL And How Colin Jost ‘Helped’ Her On Her First And Last Day

This past weekend marked the end of an era for Saturday Night Live, as yet another cast member exited the storied NBC program. Cecily Strong left SNL and even shared thoughts on the decision mid-sketch. At the time, the star said that “it’s just my time now” and that she feels “lucky” to have worked in a fun place with people that she cares about. Given her history with the sketch comedy show, it’s easy to assume that she has a lot of feelings about her decision. Now, she’s opened up even further about her final night as a cast member and also explained how co-star Colin Jost “helped” her on both her first day and her last.

Cecily Strong got candid about her SNL experience in a sweet post that she shared to Instagram. The 38-year-old actress explained that she needed to “unpack” a lot of thoughts following her on-air send-off. She then reflected on her very first day at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, during which she tried to play things cool. Unfortunately, things hit a bit of a snag when she was heading out at the end of her first day: 

Ten and a half years ago I got my dream job. The first actual work day I tried to be very cool and make it look like I knew what i was doing and I was supposed to be there. I left that night around 11 after saying goodbye to everyone. I got stuck wandering around the building because none of the elevators went to the first floor and I was trying so hard to avoid having to go back upstairs to ask for help because I’d already said goodbye!!! I think I went to every floor trying to figure out if there was another exit I was missing. I might have even gone into a stairwell.

What a way to start off your career at one of the esteemed institutions in the entertainment realm. I don’t know about any of you, but I’d have probably been a bit frantic had I been in her shoes. Thankfully, things turned around for her, as she got a nice assist from Colin Jost (who at that time, only held down writing duties on the show). That encounter apparently came full circle this weekend, according to the comedian:

I ended up going back upstairs and my soon-to-be great friend Colin Jost helped me out and walked me over to the secret night time elevator. It felt as impossible to leave that night as it does now. And my great friend Colin Jost ended up helping me again, this time by getting Elvis to sing me off (thank you Austin Butler you absolute kind and generous dreamboat).

Over the past few years, there have been rumors regarding just how long Cecily Strong would stay on SNL. She’s been earning a number of other opportunities as of late and even missed the early episodes of this season due to her commitments to the one-woman show The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. At the time, Strong was left out of the opening credits during the Season 48 premiere but was re-added upon her return. So her exit was bound to happen sooner rather than later. Strong closed out her recent post on an emotional and grateful note that beautifully sums up her feelings about the series and her colleagues: 

I’m sorry I’ve been a little quiet about it publicly. I didn’t want the extra pressure on something already so emotional for me. And I’m so grateful I got to have these wonderful past six shows to help me ease into it and get to meet and laugh and probably overly hug Molly, Marcello, Devon, and Michael who I think are not only brilliantly funny but really great humans. I am ready to go, but I’ll always know home is here. I’ve had the time of my life working with the greatest people on earth.

This caps off a year full of high-profile Saturday Night Live exits. Ahead of Season 48, Pete Davidson left, and Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney followed suit shortly after. It was later reported that Melissa Villaseñor, Alex Moffat and Aristotle Athari were also set to leave, with Chris Redd confirming his departure a few weeks later. 

Like those stars, Cecily Strong has plenty of work to do, so fans can look forward to seeing more of her down the line. It’s going to be weird not seeing her on the show, and it’s clear that she’ll miss being on it. However, she’ll have plenty of memories – such as the Colin Jost anecdotes – to keep close to her heart for years to come. 

Saturday Night Live will return with new episodes next year as part of the 2023 TV schedule. In the meantime, you can stream past episodes using a Peacock subscription.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.