Live From Atlanta, It's Cecily Strong!
The ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast member joined WHOSAY President of Sales and Marketing Rob Gregory at The Social Shake Up in Atlanta.
Creating great content it’s not as easy as it looks. Whether on print, mobile, or even network television (and with both organic and sponsored types of content) the final product doesn’t reveal all the behind the scenes hard work—including casting the right talent, choosing the perfect creative, and nailing measurement and distribution.
One of the best examples of this is NBC’s Saturday Night Live. With a successful 42-year run, the humorous juggernaut has been home to some of America’s finest comedians (including Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey) who have used humor to tackle some of the most critical moments in American history to huge audiences and critical acclaim.
And 2017 is no exception. In fact, SNL just wrapped one of its most successful seasons yet thanks to its take on the upsetting 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. (Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen Alec Baldwin’s famous impersonation of the real-estate tycoon-turned POTUS.)
WHOSAY President of Sales and Marketing, Rob Gregory, had the chance to chat with one of Baldwin’s SNL co-stars—Cecily Strong. Known for playing the popular “Weekend Update” characters One Dimensional Female Character and The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party, Strong also plays First Lady of the United States Melania Trump. (Whom along with Baldwin’s Trump, Kate McKinnon’s Kellyanne Conway, and Melissa McCarthy’s Sean ‘Spicy’ Spicer complete the wildly successfulSNL squad.)
"There's an everybody-in-the-pool moment right now when it comes to brands creating content, and storytelling,” Gregory, who sat with Strong to discuss how to make an impact when everything has been done and said on social media, said about the current state of storytelling and influence marketing.
Gregory continued, “WHOSAY learned from Cecily Strong, and from working on engaging campaigns with other terrific SNL talent like Norm MacDonald, Jay Pharoah, and Alec Baldwin, that none of this is as easy as it looks.” He praised the “behind-the-scenes hard work, and sheer professionalism that creates the illusion that it's easy every Saturday night.”
As explained by Strong, a big part it's the genius of Lorne Michaels, SNL’s creator and producer. “It’s Lorne’s call,” she responded when asked if she thinks SNL would ever stream live on platforms such as YouTube or Facebook, as opposed to being just broadcast live over NBC’s airwaves. “[SNL] is its own beast, and it’s really special, and it’s on Saturday nights at 11, and it's been there for 45 years. I think that makes us special as our culture changes.” Word.
About her craft, Cecily told the audience that, even though she often reminds herself how lucky she is to be living the SNL dream, everyone measures success differently. She also addressed the importance of being a good artist on top of being a good human being. “But I don’t think you’re necessarily making better art,” she clarified.
Cecily, who hosted the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in 2015 to rave reviews, has already an impressive resume beyond SNL. She will be featured in the upcoming seasons of FX’s Man Seeking Woman and Comedy Central’s The Detroiters. In film, she can be seen in Ghostbusters as well as opposing Melissa McCarthy in The Boss and Susan Sarandon in Bronze. “But there are other things I’d love to do,” she added.
On influencer marketing, Cecily joked, "Nobody should ever pay me to 'improve' their brand...but really whoever pays me the most." On a more serious note, she addressed the “responsibility” she feels when playing these political characters. “Sometimes it’s exciting to see what we’re going do,” she shared.
But make no mistake, when it comes to the issues that matter to her, such as equality (“I would love to work with more female directors and have more women behind the cameras”), Cecily doesn’t hold back. “Anything I put out publicly is something I want to support, not something I want to fight,” she told the audience.
On choosing her roles: “I live my life in a constant state of being embarrassed and self aware, so I like playing characters that don’t care what people think.”
On creating timely content: “I'm like why can't we do a Nancy Reagan sketch right now.”
On being online: “I think if you’re on it all day, that’s a bit too much.”
On politics: “Politically, we all agree on dogs.”
Realest quote: “Humanity is doomed anyway.”