The “Girl You Wished You Never Started a Conversation With at a Party” is about to host Washington’s biggest party.
That’s right, “Saturday Night Live’” cast member Cecily Strong, whose irritating party persona quickly become an “SNL” fan favorite, will headline this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, a lavish event where the press, politicos and the Hollywood elite mingle to hear President Obama crack a few jokes.
Let’s just hope Strong doesn’t channel the party bit at the WHCD:
Strong, 31, told Variety that, initially, she was “terrified” to host the dinner, especially since her stand-up will come after Obama’s.
“He’s maybe our funniest president,” she said. “So it’s tough to follow that guy.”
Strong actually learned about the Correspondents’ Dinner gig from her father, Bill Strong, a former Associated Press Bureau Chief in Illinois. He called her after a friend texted him to ask whether his daughter “would do the White House thing.”
“It took us a week to figure out it was real!” Strong told Capitol File. “I’m sure someone was probably like, ‘What if we have a woman?’ Duh.”
Strong is only the fourth female host in the dinner’s 101-year history. Until 1962, the Correspondents’ Dinner barred women from even attending.
But not everyone was sure she should take the gig.
“A lot of people say no because it’s notoriously a very tough room. I was encouraged by a lot of people to say no,” she added. “You even have to go after the funniest president. I’m just looking to break even.”
But Strong is used to the ups and downs. After just a year at “SNL,” she joined Seth Meyers – himself a former WHCD host – on the “SNL” “Weekend Update” in 2013. (A year later, she was abruptly pulled off the segment.)
As for the Correspondents’ Dinner, “I don’t want to be too mean where it really hurts somebody,” she said of her nerd prom shtick. “I’m going to pick everyone’s brains! Everyone’s!”