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Cecily Strong

Cecily Strong

Strong grew up in Oak Park, IL, the daughter of reporter and later public affairs professional Bill Strong and his wife Colleen. Cecily developed a penchant for performance early. While still in grade school, she won parts in children's theater productions of Chicago's Village Players Theatre, as well as juvenile roles in professional productions such as the Village Players' "The Grapes of Wrath," the Goodman Theatre's "The House of Martin Guerre" and the Mercury Theater's "Pope Joan." She initially attended Oak Park and River Forest High School until she was accepted into the auspicious Chicago Academy for the Arts. She graduated CAA in 2002 and matriculated at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA.Securing a BA in fine arts in 2006, Strong returned to Chicago and began refining the comedic side of her thespian skills with further study at the Second City Conservatory. She was tapped to be a member of Second City's national touring company and performed aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Jewel with the Second City Theatricals troupe, which tailored shows for locale-specific performance runs. Back in Chicago, she honed her improvisational chops with an all-female improv team, Virgin Daiquiri, resident at comedy cauldron the iO Theater.While performing in an iO comedy showcase in summer 2012, both Strong and fellow Virgin Daiquiri member Aidy Bryant were scouted by "Saturday Night Live" producer Lorne Michaels. In August 2012, it was announced they would join the cast of the show. Strong made her impact amid the fall 2012 slate of "SNL" news spoofs, doing comically exaggerated takes on New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's zealous sign language interpreter, MSNBC news stalwart Rachel Maddow, and the women of the awkward General Petraeus "love triangle" scandal, Paula Broadwell and Jill Kelley. Strong also contributed to the show's cycle of one-note recurring characters, including a drunken, vapid semi-regular visitor to the show's "Weekend Update" segment called The Girl You Wished You Hadn't Started a Conversation with at a Party. Prior to the beginning of the 2013-14 season, it was announced that Strong would become "Update" anchor Seth Meyers' co-presenter during the venerable segment, and would inherit the spot outright when Meyers left mid-season to begin work on "Late Night With Seth Meyers" (NBC 2014-). After Meyers' departure, Strong was paired with a new co-anchor, head writer Colin Jost. The pair did not have the same chemistry as previous Update teams like Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon or Meyers and Amy Poehler, and at the beginning of the show's 40th season, it was announced that Strong had asked to leave the Weekend Update desk so that she could refocus on characters. During the season premiere of her replacement Michael Che, Strong reprised her beloved Girl You Wished You Hadn't Started a Conversation with at a Party for the first time since season 38. By Matthew Grimm
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