Cecily Strong has some highly specific requests for her funeral, and other insights from a brand new essay collection
Notes From the Bathroom Line: Humor, Art, and Low-Grade Panic from 150 of the Funniest Women in Comedy is a new essay collection that is exactly what it sounds like. Editor and producer Amy Solomon, who was worked on Silicon Valley and Barry gathered material from inspirational — and hilarious — writers, actresses, cartoonists, and stand-up comedians about what exactly it's like to be a woman in the world right now. The likes of Rachel Bloom, Nicole Byer, and Beanie Feldstein all contributed their thoughts on everything from texting the wrong person to, of course, bonding with other women in line for the bathroom.
The book will hit shelves March 16, 2021, but ahead of that EW is exclusively revealing the book's cover, as well as an essay by Saturday Night Live star Cecily Strong.
Legally Binding Detailed Instructions for My Funeral
By Cecily Strong, illustrated by Carly Jean Andrews
I am one of the most morbid people I know. I don’t mean “morbid” like I’m super goth. I’m more of a Vada Sultenfuss from My Girl 1. I easily forget appointments and plans and double-book myself constantly–but you better believe I’ll never forget the story of the German man who was killed by his own spiders and snakes and was found in his apartment covered in a spider web cocoon. Sorry I just made you think about that; that’s usually my quickest way to explain my nightmare brain.
A couple years ago I found out about these funerals in Puerto Rico where they’d essentially stuff and elaborately pose the body for a public viewing and people come in and walk around the staged body and I of course became obsessed. There’s a guy playing video games on a couch. A guy on a motorcycle. I think someone is smoking, maybe? It’s unreal.
So one night this year I was out at a bar with some friends, one of whom had recently lost his wonderful father. We were talking about loss and death and finding lots of ways to laugh together—because you have to, don’t you? And I decided that night that I want a Puerto Rican staged body funeral and laid out the specific rules for mine:
I will be on a Jet Ski. Not moving, of course. (I have to say that because that was my friend Joel’s first question for me when I told him my plans. The mechanics of that would be too tough and probably way too expensive.) I want my hair sprayed back and up and stiff as if I’m windblown but without having to bring in a wind machine. I’ll be wearing wraparound sunglasses like the kind I assume every man in Florida owns. The reflective ones. I’m in a full windbreaker top and bottom set. I just like that look. My mouth is open, mid-delighted yelp because I’m having the time of my life out on my jet ski. If possible, I’d love for one leg to be lifted behind me, like I’m performing a stunt. Being a bit of a show-off.
The other tricky component is that I want my dog, Lucy, on the jet ski with me, with her own sunglasses and her hair blown back, too. I might change my mind about this, depending on when both of us finally go. But I’ll at the very least have a photo of her with me. Maybe that’s better. Or a re-creation? I don’t know. I guess my friends will be tasked with having to figure that out. But she’s there with me. Because she’s always with me and if she’s not there I think it would make my funeral way too depressing.
You’re probably thinking this means I like to jet ski. Well, I don’t. I’ve never even been on a Jet Ski. I’m scared of 90 percent of outdoor physical activities, especially ones involving deep water. I’m scared of 90 percent of life in general to be honest. I have even started outsourcing my anxieties by having other friends google if the mark on my face is skin cancer. I’m a hermit and I spend all day reading about the ways humans hurt one another or themselves and fall into internet rabbit holes that lead to discovering things like a posed body funeral. But if you can’t be adventurous in life, why not fake it afterward?
Another important rule is that none of my friends are allowed to sing. This isn’t because my friends are bad singers. It’s just that I’m friends with a lot of performers and type A folks and I don’t want MY funeral used as an occasion for someone else to show off. God forbid.
So, in my thinking, people would initially walk in and be shocked. Then maybe repulsed. Then hopefully they’d laugh. Then they’d probably cry because I managed to make them laugh at my funeral and I assume that would probably make them remember how much they miss me and how much they might continue to miss me. But then they’ll look up at me doing my stunt and laugh again. Or shake their head and say “God, you fucking weirdo.” As long as they don’t stay crying. Because I really loved them a lot, too. And I don’t want them only feeling so sad. And I hope it’s a little reminder that it meant a lot to me to be THEIR fucking weirdo. That my life was made fullest by shocking and sometimes repulsing but hopefully most often laughing with these amazing people. My adventures were the time I spent with them, and they made me yelp with delight.
“Friends.” I realize what a vague word this seems to be. But as a single woman in my thirties, that word encompasses so much more to me: All the greatest love in my life. (Minus my dog, obviously.)
I guess afterward I can be cremated or something. Made into a reef ball, if that’s still a thing and it’s environmentally helpful. I’m thinking if I have a grave somewhere, I want it to say “Cheese and extra garlic.” This will be confusing at first, until somebody realizes it’s my answer to “What do you want on your Tombstone,” like the pizza commercial. And that’s not even a good joke but it’s a joke. And maybe it’ll make somebody smile. And maybe it will be someone in a cemetery who needs to smile that day even though it feels really hard.
Then I guess my plans after that are just to haunt the fuck out of everybody.