Saturday Night Live's Cecily Strong is one of the only cast members ever to give up a coveted place hosting the "Weekend Update" segment. In a new interview on Marc Maron's podcast, WTF, she explained why the role felt limiting. She also dispelled long-standing rumors that she was pushed out of the segment against her will.
Strong co-hosted "Weekend Update" for just one season of SNL — Season 39 in 2014. She joined Seth Meyers for his final run before he left SNL altogether to host Late Night. Strong left "Weekend Update" simultaneously but stayed in the main cast of the show, while writers Colin Jost and Michael Che took over the parody news desk. Strong told Maron that she was actually glad to step away from the segment, feeling that she had already gotten the most out of it she could.
"I feel really thankful I got to do it, and I was such a fan of Seth's, and he was our head writer, and I think he's brilliant and so getting to do that with him was a really big deal in my second year," she said. "But I would get kind of jealous of other people creating new characters on [while I was on] 'Update.'"
According to a report by Screen Rant, there were rumors at the time that Jost had forced Strong out of the segment, feeling that Che was a better fit for his writing and comedic styles. However, when Maron asked for more details on her departure, she did not lend any credence to that story.
"There was no set thing that happened," she said. "It didn't feel like it was working out, it didn't feel great. I didn't then want to be stuck to that and I didn't want to only do 'Update' and it felt like 'Update' was going to need to have a major revision. It's not Seth anymore. And it was like, I don't want to... 'can I walk away,' sort of. At the end of the summer I felt like 'Should I have done that? Was that a bad move?' I had a quick fearful moment. I'm happy the way it worked out. And I love Michael Che."
Strong even revealed she talked to SNL creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels about the decision, saying: "Yeah, we had a lot of talks. Well, not a lot. At that point, we weren't as close as we are now. It feels ungrateful or something, but I didn't want to be known for 'Update,' and a not great Update. I like doing characters. That's really fun. That's what I want the bulk of what I do on the show to be."
Strong remains in the cast to this day, with some of the most beloved characters and impressions currently running. A new episode of SNL premieres on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 11:30 p.m. ET.