SNL’s Season 48 premiere was a biggie, with one of the stars of the year’s biggest money gobbler doing a spot-on Peyton Manning, to say nothing of musical guest Kendrick Lamar. A lot had changed, though, since last season. Over the summer there was a mass exodus, which longtime honcho Lorne Michaels blamed on the pandemic. But eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed an additional omission: Where was Cecily Strong? If you’re worried she’d joined several of her other former cast members, don’t.
As per Entertainment Weekly, there’s a simple explanation for Strong being AWOL: She’s doing theater. Strong is currently stationed in Los Angeles, at the Mark Taper Forum, performing the one-woman show The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. The stage production, first mounted in 1985, was written by Jane Wagner and performed by her now-wife, Lily Tomlin. It’s a great gig, allowing Strong to step into some pretty legendary shoes. But it does mean Strong won’t rejoin SNL until October 23.
Rumors have swirled for the last couple years that Strong, who joined SNL a decade ago, may leave, but it’s always ultimately proven untrue. Last year she earned additional acclaim for a sketch in which she dragged Texas’ draconian abortion law while dressed as a clown — a bit that has only gained in power given what the Supreme Court did months later.