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No, Cecily Strong did not quietly leave Saturday Night Live

Fear not, Cecily Strong hive! The comedian is still very much a part of Saturday Night Live.

Following a number of cast departures ahead of season 48, the fan-favorite was notably absent from the opening credits during the Oct. 1 premiere with host Miles Teller and musical guest Kendrick Lamar. Fans were quick to notice and wonder if Strong pulled an Irish exit after nine seasons on the show, but EW can confirm that the SNL staple intends to return.

Strong's absence can be attributed to her role in the revival of the one-woman show The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, which is several thousands of miles away from 30 Rockefeller Plaza's studio 8H in New York. Thus, the Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started A Conversation With at a Party will rejoin her castmates once the show concludes its run on Oct. 23.

Her performance in playwright Jane Wagner's examination of American society and the feminist movement has already garnered rave reviews, with EW's Maureen Lee Lenker declaring Strong "a radiant successor" to Lily Tomlin, who headlined the original 1985 Broadway hit and 1991 film adaptation from director John Bailey.

"One-person shows are great feats of acting — the precision, the stamina, and the memorization required staggering in and of themselves (not to mention, the task of holding the audience's attention completely on your own)," Lenker writes. "But Strong takes that all a step further, morphing from one character to the next with a stunning alacrity and physical totality that is rather breathtaking in its sleight of hand."

The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe
The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe

Craig Schwartz Cecily Strong in 'The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe'

In Strong's temporary absence, SNL has welcomed new cast members Marcello Hernandez, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow, and Devon Walker following the departures of Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney, Chris Redd, Pete Davidson, Aristotle Athari, Alex Moffat, and Melissa Villaseñor. Returning cast members include Kenan Thompson, Bowen Yang, Michael Che, Colin Jost, Mikey Day, Chloe Fineman, Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim, Andrew Dismukes, Punkie Johnson, James Austin Johnson, and Sarah Sherman.

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