Cecily Strong shares biggest fear ahead of WHCA gig

At this year's White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, entertainer Cecily Strong is aiming for tears of laughter, rather than the kind that makes one grab a Kleenex. 

“Mainly, I just don’t want anything that’s more hurtful than it is funny,” the “Saturday Night Live” star tells ITK.


Strong, who will take the mic at the April 25 soiree at the Washington Hilton hotel, says her comedic approach to the journalist- and celebrity-packed annual event has “a lot of limits,” explaining, “I wouldn’t want to go after anyone’s children. And I don’t want to bum anyone out.”

Although the comedienne says, less than a decade ago, she’d have described herself as a “very loud, outspoken, liberal girl,” at 31, “I think I’ve cooled down a bit.” And she intends to throw her zingers out equally on both sides of the aisle.

“Well, hopefully, I get everybody,” she says. “We’re finding out everyone who’s there, so hopefully we can go after different people,” Strong says. “Hopefully I can skewer myself a little bit, definitely [President] Obama, because he’s there.”

“I would rather get a laugh than an ‘Ooooh,’ if that makes sense,” she says, imitating the sound an audience makes after a comic delivers a particularly brutal one-liner. “I’d rather a laugh than any other kind of response.”

Strong — a self-dubbed former “political wonk” known for an array of “SNL” characters, including “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party” and a co-host on “The Girlfriends Talk Show” — says she’s pumped to meet the Obamas, as well as more than a few TV personalities at the dinner. 

“It’s just going to be very cool to see everybody,” she exclaims. “You know I’ll freak out like, ‘Oh my God — that’s Wolf Blitzer,’ ” but then she quips to ITK, “Don’t tell him. I don’t want any weird interactions.”

The entertainer adds, “I love Rachel Maddow. I got to meet Megyn Kelly after playing her, and she was delightful.”

The Illinois native says she’s been seeking out advice from some of her funny show biz pals ahead of the correspondents’ dinner. “A lot of comedians I’ve talked to have all said, you know, it’s a very tough room. Obama’s the funniest president; it’s so tough to follow him.”

“So, I’ve had all of that floating in my head for months. But I think, now as we get closer, I’m getting excited, and there’s just less time to be afraid.”

But right before she takes the stage, Strong says there’s usually one particular concern going through her head: “That’s when I’m worried about the falling or tripping or something like that happening.”

But if she takes a spill in front of a room full of VIPs, lawmakers and political-types, Strong’s got a plan. “I’ve had some good falls in my day, and you have to just look like it’s really funny to you, even if you’re dying inside.”

So what’s the best-case scenario by the end of her correspondents’ dinner routine?

“Everyone would be standing and crying and hugging, and I guess like, you know, Washington’s fixed.”