People Think Cecily Strong Should Win An Emmy After Her Brilliant ‘SNL’ Abortion Sketch About ‘Goober The Clown’

Cecily Strong has long been one of the MVPs of SNL, and not just because she does a mean Judge Jeanine. She’s capable of multitudes. Just witness her appearance on Weekend Update on this past weekend’s Kieran Culkin-hosted SNL. She took one of the touchiest subjects in the nation right now — a woman’s right to have a safe and legal abortion, currently under assault in Texas, with other states soon to possibly follow — and turned it into something that was hilarious and sobering at the same time.

Strong’s idea was simple and strange: She appeared as a clown named Goober. That someone caked in white greasepaint, a big red nose, a spinning bowtie, and an army of balloons (plus a non-functioning horn) was there to address the draconian abortion laws enacted in Texas in September may have seemed incongruous at first. How does one mine laughs out of the idea that women are forced to carry a pregnancy all the way to childbirth if it’s not detected in the six weeks, before most women even know they’re pregnant?

But Strong found a way to at least soften the blow: She pretended she was talking about clowns, not women. She told the crowd she “really” doesn’t want to talk about “freaking abortion,” partly “because the abortion I had at 23 is my personal clown business.” But she had to because “people keep bringing it up.” So, she said, “we’re gonna do fun clown stuff to make it more palatable.

The jokes, such as they were, went like this. “Did you know one in three clowns will have a clown abortion in her lifetime?” Strong’s 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.’”

Throughout Goober essentially copied-and-pasted “clown” for “woman,” telling stories about what she’s been through since her abortion at a young age. “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,” Goober said. “And then like eight other clowns at the table say they’ve had an abortion too, because that’s how common it is!”

Perhaps it wasn’t immediately apparent what Strong was doing, namely that she was using one of the most scrutinized programs on national television to speak, in a semi-direct and humorous yet blunt manner, about what it’s like for women who’ve had abortions. It shows, in the form of a wacky Weekend Update monologue, how woman are forced to hide what they’ve gone through, have trouble speaking to others about their ordeals, all while having to fight to make sure it remains safe and legal.

“We will not go back to the alley,” she concluded. “I mean, the last thing anyone wants is a bunch of dead clowns in a dark alley.”

But what Strong did with “Goober the Clown” did not go unnoticed. As the sketch made its way through social media, many took the time to praise Strong for doing something personal and brave.

Some noticed that she broke character a couple times.

Others noticed that Strong did something else: praise everyone she works with, who help bold sketches like “Goober the Clown” see the light.

You can watch Strong’s “Goober the Clown” sketch in the video above.