cecily strong

Photo: Mary Ellen Matthews/ NBC

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Take the Plunge
While honing her comedy chops, Cecily Strong of Saturday Night Live, worked in the box office at iO, a famed Chicago improv theater, and waited for her big break.

When SNL creator Lorne Michaels held auditions there, Strong tried out. "My family came and sat in the front row," she says. "Afterward they looked like they'd seen a murder. I was positive I'd done terribly." But soon Michaels called her back and, following screen tests in New York, offered her a spot. "I was so happy, I left the studio and wandered around Manhattan by myself—sobbing."