Cecily Strong Exiting 'SNL' After 11 Seasons: 'One of the Best to Ever Do It'

Cecily Strong first joined Saturday Night Live in September 2012 for the show's 38th season

Cecily Strong
Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty

Cecily Strong is saying goodbye to Saturday Night Live.

Ahead of the comedy sketch show's Christmas episode on Saturday evening — which will be hosted by Austin Butler and see Lizzo perform as the musical guest — the official Instagram account for the series announced that Strong, 38, will appear for the last time as a cast member.

"Tonight we send off one of the best to ever do it. We'll miss you, Cecily!" SNL wrote alongside a photograph of a sign that read, "We'll miss you, Cecily."

The post also included an image of the actress performing as one of her many characters beside Michael Che on Weekend Update, as well as a clip of Strong's Jeanine Pirro impression.

Strong was only to be involved for half the current SNL season, as she looks forward to new opportunities.

In the comments section, fans reacted to the news of Strong's exit by expressing their sadness to see her go.

"No way. You will be missed," one user wrote, as another called her leaving, "A huge loss." One other added: "Nooooooo. She is a legend through and through 😢."

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Strong first joined SNL back in September 2012 during the show's season 38. The following year, she began hosting the Weekend Update segment alongside Seth Meyers and later, Colin Jost, before Che, 39, took over for her at the start of season 40.

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She was promoted to repertory player during season 39 in September 2013, along with Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon. (Both Bryant, 35, and McKinnon, 38, have since left the series.)

Strong's return for season 48 of SNL, her 11th overall, made her the longest-tenured female cast member in the show's history, a spot which was previously held by McKinnon.

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During her time on the late-night show, Strong was nominated for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series at the 72nd and 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Some of her memorable recurring characters included The Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation with at a Party and Cathy Anne.

She also portrayed a number of celebrities during her SNL tenure, including Sofia Vergara and Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as many of the women in Donald Trump's inner circle, such as Melania Trump, Ivana Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle.

RELATED VIDEO: Cecily Strong Brings PEOPLE Inside Her New Los Angeles Home

Season 48 of SNL has taken place as the comedy sketch series navigates a major cast shakeup. Longtime series regulars McKinnon, Pete Davidson, Bryant and Kyle Mooney exited after the season 47 finale.

PEOPLE then confirmed on Sept. 1 that the series was also losing Melissa Villaseñor and Alex Moffat, as well as featured player Aristotle Athari. Then, Chris Redd announced his departure from SNL after five seasons.

On Sept. 15, NBC revealed the four new featured players joining SNL in season 48: Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker.

Strong will next star in season 2 of the AppleTV+ series Schmigadoon!, which is executive produced by SNL mastermind Lorne Michaels. The actress also serves as a producer on the show.

SNL will return in 2023 after Saturday evening's episode.

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