Cecily Strong Did Not Clown Around When She Slammed Texas’ Abortion Law On ‘SNL’
Cecily Strong figured the best way to tackle the absurdity of Texas’ abortion law was to do it while wearing a big, red nose.
On the most recent episode of “Saturday Night Live,” Strong made an appearance on “Weekend Update” as a new character ― Goober the Clown, Who Had an Abortion When She Was 23.
Strong came out in circus get-up to discuss the Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy — an extremely small window of time during which most pregnant people don’t even know they’re pregnant. The Supreme Court heard arguments last week about the Texas law, which was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in September and allows anyone to enforce the ban through lawsuits.
So, why would a goofball with giant pigtails and a spinning bow tie want to talk about such a touchy topic? Because despite how intensely politicized the subject has become, Goober the Clown wants to remind everyone that for many women, er, clowns, abortion is also deeply personal.
“I really don’t [want to talk about this],” Strong’s character tells “Weekend Update” co-anchor Colin Jost. “But people keep bringing it up, so I gotta keep talking about freaking abortion … I wish I didn’t have to do this, because the abortion I had at 23 is my personal clown business.”
Strong, as Goober, then reveals why she decided to talk about abortion while dressed an awful lot like Loonette from the kids’ series “The Big Comfy Couch.”
“It’s a rough subject,” she says. “So we’re gonna do fun clown stuff to make it more palatable. Hey, who wants a balloon animal?”
Decked out in her gooberfish Goober armor, Strong was then free to dismantle the stigma attached to abortion by underscoring some sobering facts and unfortunate cultural norms.
“Did you know one in three clowns will have a clown abortion in her lifetime?” Goober asked. “You don’t, because they don’t tell you. They don’t even know how to talk to other clowns about it, because when they do talk about it, if you were a clown who wasn’t the victim of something sad like clown-cest, they think your clown abortion wasn’t a ‘righteous clown abortion.’”
The conceit also allowed Strong to humanize people who get the procedure by describing Goober’s own abortion.
“In the waiting room, they had a little guest book where all the clowns could write their clown abortion story for the next clown to read it so she wouldn’t feel so alone!” she exclaimed, donning a pair of wacky novelty glasses.
Strong also pointed out that abortion is much more common than most people realize, because the topic is so taboo.
“Years later, you’ll be at a dinner with a big group of clowns and one clown will go out on a limb and say she’s had an abortion,” she said. “And then like eight other clowns at the table say they’ve had an abortion too, because that’s how common it is!”
“And then everyone’s excited and relieved to be talking about it,” she added. “But it’s like, ‘Wow! We kept this secret for so long despite being so grateful it happened!’”
People on Twitter were blown away by how Strong used humor as a way into such a controversial subject. (Some speculated that Strong was describing her own experience, though it’s not clear if that’s actually true.)
WOW. I think Cecily Strong just made one of the most bravely personal admissions and appeals ever, couched as a clown gag on @nbcsnl SNL’s Weekend Update.
Cecily Strong’s manic clown abortion Weekend Update is an amazing bit of commentary on the need to dress up & distance ourselves from any & all abortion discourse, while still essentially allowing Cecily to deliver a personal, straight-down-the-middle monologue on abortion. #SNL
one of the best bits SNL has done in years and incredibly brave of cecily strong, but also i think it’s worth recognizing what a fucking stroke of comedic genius it was to do this as a clown and effectively neutralize a huge swath of potential attacks before they even started https://t.co/Xt2REnr0pV