‘The Boys’ Showrunner Took a Cue From ‘SNL’ Star Cecily Strong for Starlight’s Abortion Storyline

“The Boys” showrunner Eric Kripke found inspiration for Starlight’s Season 4 storyline in the unlikeliest of places: “Saturday Night Live.”

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly in an interview published Thursday, the showrunner revealed that Cecily Strong’s “Weekend Update” appearance on “SNL” as Goober the Clown served as a foundation for Starlight/Annie January’s emotional reveal.

On the “The Boys” episode titled “Wisdom of the Ages,” which hit Amazon’s Prime Video Thursday, Firecracker, played by Valorie Curry, reveals Annie’s medical records on a public livestream and subsequently announces she had an abortion. After laying into Firecracker for the low blow trying to take her down, Annie opened up to her partner Hughie about how tough the decision was for her. However, she knew she wasn’t ready for a kid.

For Kripke, the inclusion of the vulnerable backstory for Annie seemed timely for audiences after the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022. But he said that another inspiration for the storyline was “SNL” star Strong.

In a 2021 Weekend Update appearance, Strong played Goober the Clown, who had an abortion at 23. The character aimed to educate audiences on how common abortions are in women through the “palatable” mouthpiece of a clown.

“Did you know one in three clowns will have a clown abortion in her lifetime?” Goober told Colin Jost at the “Update” table. “One day you’ll be at a dinner and one clown will go out on a limb and say she’s had an abortion, and then eight other clowns at the table will say they’ve had an abortion too because that’s how common it is.”

As Goober, Strong discussed how she got an abortion the day before she turned 23, and without it she probably would not be clowning around on national television.

Kripke wanted to echo how common abortions are for American women and wanted to normalize it, even in his superhero universe.

“We spoke to a lot of women who had abortions, but the main thing we wanted to get across was it’s not a particularly massive, overdramatic thing. It’s a thing that thousands and thousands and thousands of women go through,” Kripke said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “We just wanted to normalize it a little bit. If in a big genre show you can talk about it and not have it be the most earth-shattering, apocalyptic moment, but it’s a difficult moment that a woman went through and then continued to live her life, we thought there was value in that perspective, which is a perspective that’s almost never in TV or movies.”

Even in 2021 before Roe v. Wade was overturned, Strong knew her takes as the clown would be controversial.

“You better disable comments on this one,” she joked straight to the camera at the end of her segment.

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