Cecily Strong got back behind the Weekend Update desk on “Saturday Night Live” this week, not as the girl you wish you hadn’t started a conversation with at a party, and not as Jeanine Pirro (that happened in the cold open). This time, she was Goober, the clown who had an abortion when she was 23 — and she used the cover of being dressed like a clown to get extremely real about a woman’s right to choose.
To be clear though, Goober didn’t really want to talk about the fact that she had an abortion the day before her 23rd birthday. “Well actually, I really don’t. But people keep bringing it up,” she explained to Colin Jost. “So I gotta keep talking about freakin’ abortion. It’s a rough subject, so we’re going to do fun clown stuff to make it more palatable.”
Indeed, Goober had fun clown stuff, including a bright red nose and a spinning bow tie. But don’t let the whimsy fool you, this segment was a very real moment for Strong herself.
“I wish I didn’t have to do this, because my abortion is my personal clown business,” she explains. “But that’s all people in this country want to discuss, all the time. Even though clown abortion was legalized in Clown v Wade in 1973.”
Goober then recited stat that unfortunately, most women — or people in general — don’t know: that 1 in 3 women will go through it.
“They don’t even know how to talk to other clowns about it,” she adds. “Because when they do talk about it, if you were a clown who wasn’t a victim of something sad, like clown-cest, they think your clown abortion wasn’t a righteous clown abortion. I mean, what the dink is that?”
Goober — at this point we have to assume Cecily is basically being autobiographical — then described her experience having her abortion. First the doctor told a disarming joke that made her feel better:
“The doctor asked if I got pregnant on the way over to the clinic, because I wasn’t very far along,” Goober said. “That’s one of my favorite jokes to this day. I love that joke. Such a good joke. Not like a funny ha-ha joke. But like a funny ‘you’re not an awful person and your life isn’t over’ joke. The best kind.”
Also, Goober continued, the clinic had a guest book, “where all the clowns could write their clown abortion story for the next clown to read it, so she wouldn’t feel so alone.”
Then she circled back to the fact that women feel they can’t talk about abortions, until someone takes a chance.
“And then years later, you’d be at dinner with a big group of clowns. One clown will go out on a limb and say she’s had an abortion,” Goober says. “And then 8 other clowns at the table will say they’ve had an abortion too, because that’s how common it is. And everyone’s excited and relieved to be talking about it. Then it’s like ‘wow, we kept the secret so long despite being so grateful it happened. Honka honka.”
Though Strong sucked helium out of a balloon to say her final piece, the weight of it wasn’t lost at all.
“Colin, here is my truth: I know I wouldn’t be a clown on TV here today if it weren’t for the abortion I had the day before my 23rd birthday,” she admitted. “Clowns have been helping each other end their pregnancies since the caves. It’s going to happen so it ought to be safe, legal and accessible. Not back to the alley. The last thing anyone wants is a bunch of dead clowns in a dark alley.”
You can watch the segment in the video here and above.