Emmy-Nominated Cecily Strong Defined 'SNL,' Now She's Ready to Sing on Apple TV

Emmy-Nominated Cecily Strong Defined ‘SNL'
"Our politics right now is just so depressing, it’s nice to be able to laugh about it," Cecily Strong told 'Newsweek' about her time on 'Saturday Night Live.' NBC

"Our politics right now is just so depressing, it's nice to be able to laugh about it."

From Melania Trump to "The Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation With at a Party," Cecily Strong has created some of the most memorable characters on Saturday Night Live over the last eight years. A recent parody subject stands out; Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro reached out to Strong. "I was happy to hear she enjoyed it. I want her to know it's in good fun." Her work on the show earned Strong her first Emmy nomination, a fact she wasn't sure was actually the truth after an NBC executive texted to congratulate her. "I couldn't find anything about it. She must mean the show was nominated and she texted all of us or something," Strong recalled.

While SNL prepares for a new season, Strong will be working on her new yet-to-be-titled Apple TV+ musical comedy series about a young couple stuck in a world where everyone lives as if they were in a 1940s Hollywood musical and can only leave when they find true love. "It's a really fun show," Strong says, but says she's still "planning on being a part of SNL in some way."

Congratulations on your first Emmy nomination! How did you find out?

I got a text from Lauren Roseman, our PR person at NBC. She just said, "Congratulations, you were nominated!" I think I texted a couple of people, like, "I think I was nominated?" But then I couldn't find anything. She must mean like the show was nominated and she texted all of us or something. So it took another 40 minutes or so to believe it.

Why do you think SNL is so important during an election year?

I think there's so much information out there, a lot bad, some good, and with social media, everybody has a soapbox and a platform. There's no hierarchy, like someone who has a journalism degree or political science degree versus your crazy aunt, they all have the same platform. So I think a satirical voice every Saturday night is super important. Our politics right now is just so depressing, so it's nice to be able to laugh about it.

Your take on Fox News' Pirro has struck a nerve culturally. How did you come up with it?

I only knew her from The Jinx. We tried a sketch where she put a seatbelt on to keep her in her seat. It just didn't work, I don't think enough people knew her yet. Thanks to Donald Trump for making Jeanine a household name so that I can act like a clown. I was happy to hear she enjoyed it, that's the important thing. I want her to know it's in good fun, and I have a lot of fun doing it.

Was it difficult doing the final episodes of SNL from home?

The departure was really all of a sudden. I got a studio sent to me in the mail. I left March 24th thinking I'd be gone for three weeks. I packed eight sweatshirts and a bunch of leggings, so I didn't have anything to dress up. I just wound up buying a lot of things and our wardrobe department sent me wigs and costumes, but they couldn't touch any of the stuff. My friend Kevin did all my props for me, which were gorgeous. He made the wine, the juice box. I had a lot of help, but it was really all hands on deck. And it was harder than I've ever worked because you have to learn all these computer programs. I'm an 89-year-old woman when it comes to anything. I missed the boat on technology. So it would take an hour or two to figure it out every day.

Is there anybody you missed out on impersonating on SNL?

It's funny, we get new writers, and they love to do impression parades. We'll get these emails and texts from the writers, "Is there another impression that you have?" I'm always like, "I'm not hiding them from you." At one point, I think I went, "I could try a Brett Butler from Grace Under Fire." It's just me naming other characters really.

How's the new Apple TV+ show going?

It's a really fun show. I cried at every table read, but I mean, I cry every day at a commercial or just looking at my dog side, so take that with a grain of salt. But it's a really sweet, loving show. The songs are really fun. I love Broadway, and it's like when you sit down to watch a musical and you just go along for the ride. It's a really joyful feeling.