Cecily Strong Talks 'Emotional' SNL Exit: 'I'll Always Know Home Is Here'

After announcing her departure from SNL just hours before broadcast Saturday, Cecily Strong took to social media to share a heartfelt story and bid her former home goodbye.

“My heart is bursting.” she wrote on Instagram Sunday. “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. 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). 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 [Kearney], Marcello [Hernandez], Devon [Walker] and Michael [Longfellow], 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.”

SNL announced Strong’s exit Saturday posting photos and videos of Strong along with the caption: “Tonight we send off one of the best to ever do it. We’ll miss you, Cecily!” A source tells TVLine that it was always the plan for the comedian to return for only the first half of the current Season 48. (Watch her farewell sketches from Saturday’s Austin Butler-hosted episode here.)

Strong joined SNL as a featured player in 2012, graduating to become a full-fledged cast member the following year and co-hosting Weekend Update along with Seth Meyers. She earned a pair of Emmy nominations for best supporting actress in a comedy in 2020 and 2021. Strong leaves SNL as the longest-tenured female cast member in the show’s history, edging out Kate McKinnon. She’s next set to return for Season 2 of the Apple TV+ musical comedy Schmigadoon!, airing next year.

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