Why Cecily Strong Kept Her ‘SNL’ Exit a Secret Until Hours Before the Show

“I am ready to go, but I’ll always know home is here,” she wrote

'SNL' comedian Cecily Strong at the 73rd Emmy's
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Comedian Cecily Strong shared her thoughts behind revealing her retirement from “Saturday Night Live” only hours before 2022’s final show.

Strong bid farewill Dec. 17 in the ninth episode of Season 48. She departed after 11 seasons with the comedy sketch show, but the news wasn’t finalized until the night of the her last episode.

The “SNL” Instagram account announced Strong’s exit Saturday night, writing, “Tonight we send off one of the best to ever do it. We’ll miss you, Cecily!”

Strong posted to Instagram Monday to further explain her departure.

“My heart is bursting. I have a lot of big huge life changing love to unpack, so this is what I can say tonight ?,” she began.

Strong recalled her first day on the job and how it connected to her struggle saying goodbye to “SNL.

“I tried to be very cool and make it look like I knew what i was doing and I was supposed to be there. I left that night around 11 after saying goodbye to everyone. I got stuck wandering around the building because none of the elevators went to the first floor and I was trying so hard to avoid having to go back upstairs to ask for help because I’d already said goodbye!!!” she wrote. “I think I went to every floor trying to figure out if there was another exit I was missing. I might have even gone into a stairwell. I ended up going back upstairs and my soon-to-be great friend Colin Jost helped me out and walked me over to the secret night time elevator. It felt as impossible to leave that night as it does now.”

Strong’s farewell coincided with “Elvis” actor Austin Butler’s first gig hosting the show, and he helped serenade her to the tune of “Blue Christmas” at the end.

“My great friend Colin Jost ended up helping me again, this time by getting Elvis to sing me off (thank you Austin Butler you absolute kind and generous dreamboat),” she added. “I’m sorry I’ve been a little quiet about it publicly,” she wrote. “I didn’t want the extra pressure on something already so emotional for me.”

Strong revealed she had the past six shows to adjust to the idea of her departure, ending her post with gratitude.

“I am ready to go, but I’ll always know home is here,” she concluded. “I’ve had the time of my life working with the greatest people on earth.”