There's a proverb in the making from a look at Molly Shannon's life: "All roads lead to Manhattan". The Ohio native ascended to comedic royalty upon the throne of Saturday Night Live, but it all began at another of the city's celebrated institutions. "When I got my acceptance letter to NYU, I was just beside myself with joy," Shannon remembers. "My dad and I went out that night and saw the movie Edie about Edie Sedgwick and I was like, 'This is going to be my life. Crazy! Warhol! New York!' It just seemed like my dream."
It was at NYU that the drama major first crossed paths with future fellow SNL cast member Adam Sandler. "I always thought of myself as a serious, dramatic actress, but they were casting the comedy review show and I got cast with Adam," says Shannon. "That's where I came up with my character Mary Katherine Gallagher. I became known on campus and people started telling me I should be on Saturday Night Live."
After graduation, Shannon instead headed to Los Angeles to jump-start her career. "I felt I could make it faster there. I hustled doing my own show for so many years!" While I was waiting tables, I'd get peoples names and numbers. I'd write 'Amy: lawyer—boyfriend Jack: black hair' and cold-call 500 people before I did a show. Then they would come backstage and I couldn't remember their names." Seven years later she wound up back in New York on Saturday Night Live.
"When I got SNL, I took my box of names and numbers and threw it in a dumpster," the actress laughs. "I remember thinking, 'I don't have to call anyone, and I don't have to pay for the band!' It was unbelievable, my big break, absolutely a dream come true."
New York has been good to Shannon, who since leaving the show remains perpetually in demand in the city’s film and television circles. "When you get to shoot in New York, it's great. We shot Serendipity at the Waldorf Astoria and Soho. I just did Gray Matters with Heather Graham, shooting at the farmer's market at Union Square," she says of filming in the city. "It's controlled chaos. Huge crowds develop and people call out your name when you're in the middle of your scene. It's funny, but I get to be in my home, and I love it!"
The mother of two is perhaps most pleased, though, to raise a family in the city of her dreams. "New York is very kid-friendly; we go to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and to toy stores. I work a lot, so when I have free time I just try to be with my family. I'm not one of those people who on Sunday nights is doing improv. I try to balance being a mom and being a professional actress as best as I can." With a wonderful husband, two beautiful children and a career that's only getting better, Shannon's got that balancing act down.
Listen to an exclusive audio podcast with Molly Shannon on the official ontheinside.info blog here.
They have scrambled eggs and English muffins that are the yummiest. That's what I would recommend. I just keep getting the same thing because it's so delicious. …more
It's such a great place to buy gifts for somebody who is going on a trip, or if you are and want to be organized. …more
It's delicious food at a reasonable price. Claudio, the proprietor, is the loveliest man. He is so nice and always takes good care of me. …more
There's an amazing place that just opened called Mollusk Surf Shop in Williamsburg. It's an actual surf shop—so many people are like "Why is there a surf shop in Williamsburg?" …more
It's the best toy store, with a very neighborhood kind of feel to it that my family loves. …more
Blow is strictly a hair salon that does blow-drys for woman on the go and they do a really great, cheap, straight, blow-out. …more