Cecily Strong is starting a new conversation

Rhinebeck, NY – It’s hard not to think of Cecily Strong and not be reminiscent of the television characters she played. If you’re a fan of “Saturday Night Live”, you’re instantly hooked Her stunning performance as Jeanine Pirro singing “My Way” While she drowns herself in the wine tank. Or if you like her Apple TV+ musical comedy “Schmigadoon!” But looking, you’d think she’s admiring the tunes of the modern-day show. the pleasure of corn pudding Or smooching with a boyfriend.

The actors, of course, aren’t his characters, and Strong tries to explain that, as much as he’s intimidated by the self-confident, I-speak-to-manager type in real life, he isn’t one of them. . As she said a few weeks ago, “Whenever someone smack in public, it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen. But when I say I’m shy or introverted, people are like , I don’t think so. I’m like, okay – but I am, you know.”

So it’s surprising that Strong, who doesn’t consider himself a confessional figure, would write a personal memoir, and even more so that his book isn’t really an account of his showbiz career, but an account of his life inspired by his reflections. Clear disclosure. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

memoir, “It will all be over soon,” Will be published by Simon & Schuster on August 10th. It sometimes traces back to her time at “SNL,” where she has been a cast member since 2012. But it starts with her learning in January 2020, that her 30-year-old cousin Owen He is given hours to live before dying from glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.

A few weeks later, Strong learns that the man she recently started dating has developed a fever that turns out to be a symptom of the coronavirus. Shortly after that, she’s taking items from her Manhattan apartment—a salad spinner, a garlic press, a yoga mat—as she and two friends prepare to flee to an Airbnb rental in the Hudson Valley that she wrongly believes. Is. just a few weeks.

For Strong, 37, the book is an opportunity to take ownership of these episodes and reveal them to her audience without fear of judgement.

Looking at the circumstances that led to the book, she said, “It’s like, who has time to be ashamed?” He thought for a moment and then said: “I mean, I feel like we have all the time in the world, but why waste the time we’re stuck in?”

During lunch at a Mexican restaurant here in late June, there was more to his sense of humor than the strong nails decorated with rainbow designs and the sense of humor that “SNL” is known for.

As she prepared to discuss some deeply personal experiences, she tucked in an order of chips and salsa and said, “Now I’ll cry and I can blame it on the spice.”

She didn’t shed tears, but she did share some painful stories. She grew up in the affluent Oak Park, Ill., where her parents divorced when she was in grade school, her brother dealt with ADHD and spent time in a children’s psychiatric ward, and after she was found pot. Dropped out of a high school. Bag. Strong has struggled with anxiety and depression for much of her life, she writes in her book, and has spent years in a one-on-one relationship with a physically abusive boyfriend.

Some of Strong’s most striking anecdotes in “This Will All Be Over Soon” grapple with the despair and unfairness of the loss. After Playing Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in the “SNL” Sketch, Strong remembers a friend of Kalamazoo’s who died after her car was hit by a train. Or she remembers a time in 2018 when she helped her cousin Owen get VIP tickets to an “SNL” broadcast — one hosted by “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman. who died of stomach cancer last August.

Strong told me that his intention in writing the book was not to evoke empathy, but to process events that he probably never fully dealt with, “the things that defined life that I had at the time.” didn’t know, or things that I might have been ashamed of but didn’t want to be,” she said.

Her “SNL” Career, Filled memorable impressions And Shameless “Weekend Update” Characters, is thriving, and last month she earned her second Emmy nomination as a supporting actress in a comedy series. Strong said that in recent years she’s also wanted to find ways to express herself outside the show.

Without mentioning any particular role or performance, she said, “I just wanted to do something different from the sketch that someone else wrote, and people might think it’s my voice but not my voice.”

Even “Schmigadoon!” He has also received some accolades for it. inspired a sense of conflict. “People were like, no one knows you can do this, they never saw this side of you,” she said. “And I was like, wait a minute – what do you guys really think of me?”

“SNL” creator and longtime executive producer Lorne Michaels said that he had always regarded Strong as “a very private person” but assumed an internal tenacity.

Michaels said that Strong embodied the values ​​he saw in the cast members he recruited from Chicago “because Chicago sees both coasts and isn’t too impressed.” He said she was confident in her instincts and firm in her choices: “You can’t really make her do something she doesn’t want to do.”

Strong said she was hesitant to write a book, but felt compelled to keep a record of her experiences when she began quarantining in March 2020. There were logistical challenges and bouts of nervousness along the way, and one day when they finally did something. To begin with, he dropped a bag of mussels and chopped lettuce on the floor of his apartment. “So I had to stop my writing a little longer,” she said with some relief.

Once Strong was out of Manhattan, she was able to work more productively, often writing during the day, then listening to a housewife read aloud over dinner.

Kevin Eh, a longtime friend who has been living with him during the pandemic, said he doesn’t mind having a character in his memoir. “It’s also my time capsule from that year,” he said.

Eh said Strong was already in touch with her feelings about solitude and grief when the pandemic began and that the stories she shares in the book can help connect with readers who have been through similar experiences. have passed.

“So many people lost people last year,” he said. “We all spent time confused and scared. Even though she was as confused and scared as the rest of us, it was a space she had been in which I think made it easier for her to write about it. “

Leda Strong, the author’s cousin and Owen Strong’s sister, said that although she had some initial apprehensions about the memoir, she felt it served a greater purpose.

“My brother, Owen’s story is told, and people know him as a person,” she said. “At a certain point that eliminates any other worry. It’s not really about me—it’s Cecily telling her story, and as part of that, my brother has to be immortal.”

Eventually, Cecily Strong’s TV career began to infiltrate her pastoral literary retreat. That ‘Schmigadoon!’ The film was last filmed in Vancouver amid severe pandemic protocols.

“It was my dream job, and I said no a couple of times because I was so scared,” she said. “I was again afraid of the quarantine, afraid of that isolation. What if something happens to my family, and I’m behind a closed range?”

When she returned to “SNL,” which had a season already underway, Strong was distraught. “I felt like I messed up every social interaction I had,” she said.

She recalled a moment from the finale-credits farewell of a broadcast when she pointed out to Lauren Holt, a cast member who had just finished her first season, that they were wearing similar clothes.

As she continued on, Strong’s voice crackled. “She was like, I can change, and I was like, Oh my god, what did I do to you?” said strong. “What do you think I mean? Please don’t.”

She writes in her memoir about her struggles with “SNL” this year, splitting her time between Manhattan and Upstate New York, while clashing with coronavirus restrictions and her fear of being unfounded. When she needed time for herself or with her family to celebrate Owen’s birthday, Michaels said it was easy for her to provide it.

“He earned it,” Michaels said. “This season was probably the hardest for him.”

Now that Strong has completed his ninth season on the show, some of his collaborators are operating from the assumption that he has given his last performance as a cast.

“SNL” senior writer Brian Tucker, who worked with Strong on his Jeanine Pirro segment for “Weekend Update”, said the wine-flinging “My Way” sketch was intentionally designed to provide Strong with a victory lap. was created for.

“He’s such a special part of the show, and I wanted to write something for him that gave him a big farewell,” Tucker said. “I thought I’d never get another chance to do something like this.”

But Strong said his own plans for the upcoming “SNL” season remained unresolved. “I’m still thinking,” she said. “At times throughout the year I felt like I was a fifth year senior and I was just hanging, dead weight. Then there would be moments that felt so good.”

She continued, “There are things I want to do, and I want to be open to these things. If I’m there, great – if I’m not there, great. I just want it to be right.” Started.”

Michaels said he and Strong are “talking.”

“I hope she comes back,” he said. “What I told him, and what I believe, is that I don’t think he has done that yet.”

Whether or not the “My Way” number proves to be her swan song, Strong said the sketch was an unforgettable one for her. She also explained that the tank in which she immersed herself to her conclusion was actually “full of watery grape juice, but it was very hot—I appreciated that.”

“The security guy was like, don’t open your eyes there because the juice will burn, and I was like, OK, thanks, I wasn’t planning on this,” she recalled. “And then he said, I splashed in my eyes to test it, and I was like, You didn’t have to do that.”

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