'Saturday Night Live': The Sketch Cecily Strong Says She Got No Notes On
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Of all the iconic sketches in recent (let me reiterate, recent) Saturday Night Live history, Cecily Strong's “Goober the Clown” Weekend Update appearance last November has quickly ascended to cult status, garnering applause for serving as a reaction to the controversial “Texas Heartbeat Act,” a law that went into effect in early September that bans abortion after a fetus's cardiac activity is detected.
"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," Strong said during the Weekend Update segment, her voice pitched from sucking down a helium balloon. "It's gonna happen, so it ought to be safe, legal and accessible," her character continued, adding that the only reason she's discussing it is as other “people keep bringing it up.” “I wish I didn’t have to do this, because the abortion I had at 23 is my personal clown business."
Although the sketch -- like pretty much anything featuring even the slightest hint of abortion – sparked widespread internet controversy, the critical response was largely glowing. The Daily Beast called it “bizarre” and “brilliant,” Vanity Fair dubbed the sketch the evening's "most powerful moment," and The Atlantic's Deborah Copaken even implored the Television Academy to "please give them their preemptive Emmy right now,"
But even with widespread praise for its comedic elements, Strong recently revealed that the sketch stemmed from some pretty intense negative emotions.
“I had so much anxiety and frustration, and it was like, I'm either gonna write, every night, essays for nobody, or I can finally just put this on the show,” Strong said in an interview on The View earlier this week. “And luckily… right away, the show was very supportive.”
Beyond merely being supportive, it seems the show's overlords were particularly impressed with her passionate and hilarious sketch, marking a notable SNL first for the comic. “I think it was the only thing I've ever done where I haven't had any notes. I don't think anybody wanted to give us notes,” she said.
And it's not just the series creative team. After the episode hit airwaves, Strong says several people who have had abortions reached out to her in private messages to relay their experiences, a reaction Strong says she is “still surprised and moved by."
“A lot of women say I'm the only one they've ever told, or will tell,” she continued. “So that still really moves me.”
So folks, here's to modern SNL. Sometimes it can be so good that even Lorne Michaels is speechless.
Top Image: NBC