Cecily Strong Ushered in a New Era of ‘SNL’
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Cecily Strong Ushered in a New Era of ‘SNL’

On Saturday Evening Dwell’s Christmas episode, the final of 2022, the present and its followers stated goodbye to solid member Cecily Robust. She left as she got here in, stealing the present together with her fabulous impression of the loud and weird Kimberly Giulfoyle, capturing the voice of a Jewish grandmother, and saying so long to Weekend Replace by which the recurring Cathy Anne introduced she was going to jail, earlier than her farewell of singing “Blue Christmas” with Austin Butler’s “Informal Elvis.”

The present was Robust’s final, marking the tip of a ten-year profession on SNL which noticed her turning into the longest tenured feminine solid member in historical past, simply passing the good Kate McKinnon. When Robust debuted in 2012 for Season 38, SNL was in a state of transition. Andy Samberg was gone. Much more of a loss was Kristen Wiig, arguably the most effective of the solid and maybe the best lady within the present’s historical past. It was an incredible void to fill, for Wiig may do all of it. Changing her wouldn’t be a straightforward process.

SNL didn’t skip a beat, nonetheless. McKinnon began with the present in January 2012, with Robust quickly following that September. It was a saving grace, together with the addition of Aidy Bryant in 2013, for that yr noticed much more SNL favorites go away in Invoice Hader, Jason Sudekis, and Fred Armisen. The ladies had been now tasked with taking cost, and that they did.

Cecily Robust Joins ‘Saturday Evening Dwell’
In Robust’s first episode on September 15, 2012, she was instantly given an opportunity. Whereas so many featured gamers (the supporting position solid members who’re simply beginning out) often discover themselves taking part in smaller characters, backing up the repertory gamers (the primary solid), Robust was let free. In a Weekend Replace bit, she acquired three minutes virtually by herself to only riff as Mimi Morales, a not-so-bright Latina get-out-the-vote volunteer from Florida. She held the gang within the palm of her hand with traces akin to when she’s speaking about Chris Christie and says of him to Replace host Seth Meyers, “He was like so massive, Seth. Did you see him? He was like the tip of Ghostbusters.” The road was humorous sufficient, however Robust’s facial expressions, physique language, and timing took it excessive.

Robust impressed a lot that, come the subsequent yr, her first as a repertory participant, she was put subsequent to Meyers as co-host of Weekend Replace. It was an try and attempt to recapture the magic Meyers as soon as had along with his co-host Amy Poehler. It most likely shouldn’t have been tried, for it was lots to stay as much as for somebody so new, however perhaps not so surprisingly, it labored. Robust was a pure. There was no nervousness, no awkwardness, no lack of chemistry, as could be the case for present Weekend Replace hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che to start with.

She Was Excellent on Weekend Replace
Robust may have spent the subsequent decade doing Weekend Replace, however sadly, it solely lasted a yr, not as a result of she was dangerous at it, however as a result of her abilities had been missed in the primary sketches. Creating characters is what Robust excelled finest at. She would nonetheless be an everyday on Weekend Replace through the years although, the place she acquired to go previous the boundaries of telling monologue-like political jokes, and as a substitute giving us characters born in chaos. Cathy Anne was one. The most effective although was “Lady You Want You Hadn’t Began a Dialog With at a Celebration”. In an extended recurring bit, Robust would seem as a really opinionated partygoer who didn’t know what they had been speaking about. She tries exhausting to point out how a lot she is aware of, and is satisfied that she does, nevertheless it by no means comes out proper. For instance, in a 2014 bit with Michael Che, she tells him that she simply went to Israel. When Che asks if she’s Jewish, Robust replies, “Wow, the truth that you’ll even ask me that makes you a spigot.” She then rails in regards to the Ebola outbreak, saying she thinks about it “25/7”, that “it’s an Obamanation”, and “uncomprehandable.”

That outlandishness wasn’t simply reserved for made up characters, for Robust might have shined finest, particularly in the previous couple of years throughout the Trump period, together with her fabulous impressions of actual life folks, akin to Marjorie Taylor Greene, Melania Trump, the already talked about Kimberly Guilfoyle, and most notably, the tremendous loud Fox Information Host, Choose Jeanine Pirro. The final gave Robust not solely the possibility to do one other spot-on impression, however to contort her physique and toss herself round, whereas the drunk character consistently threw her drink throughout poor Colin Jost.

Generally these characters went past mere mockery. In late 2021, she confirmed as much as Weekend Replace with a humorous, however relatively darkish character whose uncomfortable nature is revealed in its title: “Goober the Clown Who Had An Abortion When She Was 23”. Right here, Robust acquired to make use of comedy to talk, in a manner that was barely contained beneath the floor, about what was happening in America with ladies’s rights. Robust took one other crack at it the brand new yr after the repeal of Roe vs. Wade with “Tammy the Trucker on Fuel Costs and Undoubtedly Not Abortion”. The performances earned Robust two Emmy nominations the previous few years for Excellent Supporting Actress In A Comedy Sequence.

She Additionally Shined in Sketches
Robust’s strengths didn’t cease at Weekend Replace although. She was nice in the primary sketches as nicely, and was repeatedly given a spot within the a lot desired Chilly Open to begin the present. She may play wacky characters and ship nice impersonations there too, however she additionally acquired to showcase one other ability that doesn’t get as a lot consideration. She was the right straight man, er, straight lady, the grounded, extra “regular” character in a sketch who helps transfer issues alongside. Phil Hartman was the most effective at it within the Nineties. He may do his personal nice characters such because the Anal Retentive Chef and Handyman, however he was additionally an awesome character actor who may do something requested of him, akin to maintaining the wild ball of power Chris Farley grounded within the “Matt Foley: Van Down By The River” sketch.

Cecily Robust was the most effective at that since Hartman. It didn’t imply she sunk into the background. She was nonetheless an integral a part of the sketch, however she was phenomenal at letting another person subsequent to her shine, whereas she was the drive they might bounce off of

That wide selection, from the flexibility to do impressions and bodily comedy, to being the straight lady, and even her potential to sing and be severe, will take Cecily Robust far within the subsequent chapter of her profession. You already see her on TV on a regular basis because the spokesperson within the Verizon commercials. This yr she additionally started doing massive time stage performs in New York for the primary time, performing within the Off Broadway play The Seek for Indicators of Clever Life within the Universe.

Cecily Robust Was the Voice of a New Period
Cecily Robust was the voice of a brand new period on Saturday Evening Dwell at a time when the present wanted one most. Kristen Wiig was a spotlight of the period earlier than her and is likely one of the finest ever, however she had massive title males surrounding her too with the likes of Armisen, Hader, Samberg, Sudekis, and Will Forte. Wiig was equal to these males, which was a serious accomplishment in fashionable TV. Robust surpassed that. She had some nice males to work with additionally like Kenan Thompson, Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan, and Beck Bennett, however right here it was the ladies who had been fully in cost and the boys who had been making an attempt to maintain up. It was Kate McKinnon who was the star. It was Aidy Bryant who was the star. It was Cecily Robust who was the star.

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