Ever wondered what Lorne Michaels sees during cast auditions for “Saturday Night Live?”
You will get your chance if you check out Cecily Strong and Friends at Cobb’s Comedy Club in SF on Aug. 9 and 10. “SNL” Cast Member Strong will be joined by Second City Alum Sam Richardson and Anthony Veneziale of Freestyle Love Supreme, a hip-hop improv troupe.
Strong knows Richardson from her time with Second City in Chicago, and they will be meeting Veneziale on Friday.
“So, it’s going to be a fresh show!” she laughed.
Strong said she has a handful of sketch comedy pieces planned, and the trio will perform a mix of short and long improvs. She will include some the characters she performed that got her the “SNL” gig last year.
Cecily had a strong debut season for certain. Her “Weekend Update” commentator character, Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party, had audiences and anchor Seth Meyers in stitches. Shame about the character’s name, though; it’s too long to fit on T-shirts.
“The writers were like, ‘You really need to shorten her name,’ and I kept saying, ‘But it’s so her!’ It’s exactly her. If we called her Sally, it wouldn’t work,’” Strong said.
The character is poorly-informed yet self-righteous and constantly fiddling with her cell phone.
“Like, either vote or don’t vote, but take a stand and don’t vote,” the Girl says, while texting. Then when Seth tries to scoot her off the stage, she tosses in something racist like, “Can I do a minstrel show real quick?” “There have been a couple things that have been so ridiculous,”
Strong said about the character. “I love that she said ‘Origami—it’s Spanish for goose.’ Stuff like that always makes me laugh.” Strong had a couple other recurring characters in her first season at “SNL,” including one half of a set of former porn stars who are trying to shill champagne with mispronunciations and bizarre tales from the adult film world. It’s one of those off-the-wall, last-five-minutes-of-‘SNL’ sketches.
“That five-to-one slot is what we call it. It becomes a coveted thing, like ‘Who gets to do their weird thing this week?’” Strong said.
One of my personal favorites is a sketch in which she and Bobby Moynihan play obnoxious McDonald’s employees who think they’re about to be fired, so they take the opportunity to publicly smack down the entire crew.
“Brian, your breath smell like cream corn, and you ain't even eat no cream corn today!”
After a season on the seminal sketch comedy show, Strong said she’s happy to get a chance to keep her improv skills sharp in the Bay Area. She’s due back in New York in mid-September when she and her cronies will put on a weekly, live 90-minute comedy show for millions.
“I’m still pinching myself,” she said. “I tried to do L.A. for seven months and had terrible meetings where agents would say I was too fat. ‘Lose 15 pounds.’ ‘Your face isn’t right for movies. Maybe TV.’ I went through all of that to end up here. It’s bizarre to have your dream come true.”
Cecily Strong and Friends will perform at 8 and 10:15 p.m. on Aug. 9 and at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. on Aug. 10. Visit www.cobbscomedyclub.com for ticket information.
Corey Andrew has been interviewing comedians and writing about comedy for the last decade and a half. He recently published the book, “Laugh Lines: Conversations with Comedians.” Corey was a writer and performer with Midwest sketch troupe, The NonProphets, before moving to the Bay Area with his family several years ago. If you have ideas for future columns about comedy, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/coreywrites.