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Posts tagged as cecily strong

'SNL' Review: A New Hope with Chris Pratt

The seasons have certainly changed at Saturday Night Live. The show's 40th season began with an episode that hardly resembled a season premiere, with little pomp or circumstance over SNL's impressive four-decade lifespan, and in its place a straightforward night of comedy that reflected a show well adjusted to its new lineup. Nerves did occasionally get the better of the performers — especially first-time host Chris Pratt, who coasted on his signature goofy charm, flashing that Andy Dwyer "oops" face a few times – but overall the episode charged forward with a leaner (and more colorful) cast, and a greater confidence in its sense of humor.

We aren't out of the woods just yet, though. SNL's live sketches suffer [...]

'SNL' Firing New Cast Members Displays a Show Still Deeply In Transition

Word has come down this week that SNL cast members Noël Wells, John Milhiser, and Brooks Wheelan have been let go from the show after one season, with Nasim Pedrad also leaving to work as a regular on Mulaney (a move that has long been anticipated) and Mike O'Brien's status currently in talks. Their departures don't come as too huge a shock — as we recapped at the end of last season, the three saw little screen time and had few memorable moments during the season. And while it must come as a disappointment to those actors and their fans, let's not forget that at least a third of everyone [...]

Cecily Strong and Colin Jost Tell 'The Wall Street Journal' About Their Plans for Weekend Update

"But I think now we all would like, I think, something Colin and I talked about, to sort of integrate Update back into the show. And we have a really great new writer, my friend Katie Rich, from Chicago. I used to understudy her. She's got such a great personality and she's getting our nerdy little sweet Update guys out of their shell and letting the two meet. It's almost like you want them to have a mixer: 'Update, meet SNL.'"

- Cecily Strong in a joint interview with Colin Jost for The Wall Street Journal, in which the Weekend Update co-anchor hints at the segment's evolving relation with [...]

'SNL' Review: Jonah Hill's Award-Worthy Performance

Anytime I begin to think Jonah Hill might be overrated, I only need watch him host SNL. Yes, it's still pretty weird to think that the guy from Superbad has spent the last few years scoring Oscar nominations and hanging out with Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Martin Scorcese. And it's easy to say the industry might be a little too infatuated with a comedy star who can surprise with a nuanced performance in a movie academy voters actually care about.

But then Jonah Hill comes back to host SNL, and suddenly it makes sense. Not only is the guy the real deal — he seems like a delight [...]

Cecily Strong Pitched Some Great 'Die Hard' Ideas To Bruce Willis In His 'SNL' Promos

Bruce Willis is hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend, and Cecily Strong got to co-star in her first promos with the action star. Presumably she lobbied hard for the gig, because she has got some great ideas for future Die Hard films and the leading lady that should play opposite him.

What to Expect From 'SNL' Season 40

SNL returns for its 40th season this Saturday, with host Chris Pratt, musical guest Ariana Grande, and pretty much the same cast — minus a handful of people we rarely saw in sketches anyway. Following a lackluster season, Lorne Michaels is now sticking with the tools he's got, replacing five departing cast members with only one newcomer — standup Pete Davidson — and promoting writer Michael Che to co-host Weekend Update. Meanwhile, Colin Jost will remain at the desk after taking on the job last February. It's a conservative approach, compared to last year's throw-everything-against-the-wall casting strategy, which resulted in a cast so overpopulated that some remained literal faces in the crowd at the season's [...]

Breaking Down Each Cast Member's Contribution to 'SNL' Season 39

With SNL's 39th season coming to a close, we're taking a look at the past season with a series of posts examining the highs, lows, and other memorable moments from the past eight months. Here, we look at the performers that make up SNL's current cast, including their overall contributions to the show, memorable roles, relative screen time, and prospects for returning next season.

SNL's 39th season was a crowded one. Record-breaking crowded, even. Six new hires, plus a seventh midseason, rose the total to 17, making the current cast the largest SNL has seen during its entire four-decade run, topping even the infamously bloated 1990-1991 season. That season only had [...]

'SNL' Review: Seth Rogen Half-Baked

While watching Seth Rogen host SNL for the third time last weekend, I was reminded of two other three-peat hosts from earlier this season: Paul Rudd in December and Jonah Hill in January. Rudd's episode felt like extended promo for Anchorman 2, with the host failing to capture that lightning in the bottle with cast members that made his previous stints so memorable. Hill, however, seemed to enjoy himself every bit as much as he did his first two appearances.

Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and Jonah Hill are, of course, hugely successful alumni from Team Judd Apatow, but their careers have taken diverging trajectories. Rogen and Rudd have [...]

Checking in with 'SNL' Halfway Through Season 39

We've reached the midpoint of SNL's 39th season — one that has optimistically been called a "transitional year," but one more commonly known as "the year the shit hit the fan with that whole black woman issue." Despite the fact that the bulk of the SNL coverage in fall 2013 has zeroed in on the show's diversity controversy, SNL has given us plenty of other things to talk about, from new cast members and emerging stars on the show, to surprise cameos and celebrity hosts who defied our expectations — in good and bad ways.

Unfortunately, few of those topics have gotten much ink in fall 2013 (outside of sites [...]

'SNL' Review: No Escape from Miley Cyrus

After Justin Bieber hosted SNL last season, I concluded that SNL will never quite be the alternative comedy show we'd like it to be. There's no denying the show would be much funnier if producers only booked the heroes of comedy nerds to host the show, as it did last season with Louis CK and last week with Tina Fey. I've made the case several times that the show would be far better if only former cast members hosted — indeed, SNL has enough star alumni to fill a few seasons' worth of episodes.

But SNL isn't that show. The ongoing inclusion of performances by a musical guest [...]

Cecily Strong Says She's "Genuinely Happy" About Leaving Weekend Update

When news broke last week that new SNL cast member Michael Che would be replacing Cecily Strong at the Weekend Update desk, it was reported that Strong had requested the change herself to appear in more sketches. Strong decided to address the news on Instagram and delivered the below response to fans who were unhappy about her Weekend Update departure:

I don't see this as me leaving update, just as me being on update in a looser, goofier way that is a lot more fun for me and in a way I think I'm better at. And now I get to do features with the very funny [...]

The 24 Best Sketches of 'SNL' Season 39

With SNL's 39th season coming to a close, we're taking a look at the past season with a series of posts examining the highs, lows, and other memorable moments from the past eight months. Here we recall some of our favorite sketches from the season — both live sketches and videos.

Season 39 of SNL certainly hasn't been the most popular among viewers, with its first half bogged down with criticism over the lack of diversity in the cast, and its second half attacked (often unfairly) for uneven writing under new head writer Colin Jost. Even though the show hired Sasheer Zamata (along with two black female writers), and the script [...]

'SNL' Review: Melissa McCarthy and a Farewell to Seth Meyers

Some episodes of SNL are bigger than the host. For example, this season's premiere spotlighted the show's record six new cast members, while host Tina Fey shone in serviceable roles, like her pep talk to Cecily Strong in the latter's first time co-hosting Weekend Update. Similarly, last season's finale focused less on Ben Affleck's career comeback than it did on saying goodbye to Bill Hader and Fred Armisen (and Jason Sudeikis, though his departure hadn't been officially announced at that point). It's an awkward position for the host to find him or herself in, because not only do they feel the pressure to satisfy viewers tuning in to [...]

'SNL' Review: Jimmy Fallon's Christmas Miracle

Boy, did SNL need a win. The months following September's successful season premiere with Tina Fey saw a mixed bag of lackluster hosts, unmemorable sketches, and distracting media scrutiny. Even Kerry Washington's enjoyable November episode was overshadowed by the show's diversity controversy — Washington's hilarious performance only seemed to underscore SNL's lack of a black woman in the cast (an issue that will apparently be resolved in January). Furthermore, when beloved comedy stars Paul Rudd and John Goodman produced surprisingly disappointing episodes over the past few weeks, and with the coming departure of head writer Seth Meyers, SNL's future was looking grim.

Then [...]