Saturday Night Live’s Molly Shannon is famous for her funny characters, sketches and slapstick comedy. But this Cincinatti born actress and comedian has written an incredibly funny, inspiring memoir. It is quite the homage to her late parents, especially her dad.
As we discover in the first chapter, Molly’s life was turned upside down when at the age of only four, her mother, younger sister and cousin were killed in a car accident in which her father fell asleep at the wheel. Waking up in the hospital no one wanted to tell her what happened and all she kept saying was she wanted her mom. Her life and her sister Mary’s changed forever after the tragedy.
As Molly, her older sister and father tried to adjust to the new family dynamics, their father, who never really recovered psychologically or physically from the accident was at a loss as to how to move on. He turned to drinking and Molly became his best friend. He would get jealous if Molly wanted to go out with her friends and she would have to prepare herself when she knew she had to tell him she would be going out. He did not understand why she would want to go out when they could have fun together. There were times when anger would get the best of her father and he would lash out screaming. Molly and her sister became adept at knowing what mood he was in just by the way he would enter their apartment.
But, for all her father’s faults, he was her biggest fan. She feels her creativity came from the crazy situations her father would get them into and then get them out of. From the moment she decided to become an actress, he pushed her to pursue a career, telling her never to take no for an answer and just keep pushing herself because he knew she could do it.
So that is just what Molly did. After graduating from college in New York, Molly headed to Los Angeles where she began waiting tables and trying to find work and an agent. It was there that she began the creation of Mary Catherine Gallager, a young Catholic schoolgirl who was prone to anxiety and clumsiness. The tagline “Superstar” is actually a nod to a childhood friend. She even had her own one woman show which she would invite all the guests from the restaurant, (and even homeless people) as well.
She and one of her male friends actually had a hustle where they would claim to be calling from playwright David Mamet’s office late on Friday afternoons recommending each other to the casting offices and setting up appointments for each other. They would each have to get five meetings before they could call it a day. Talk about persistence and genius!
But then she was finally cast on Saturday Night Live where she worked with Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler and Cheri Oteri. And she became a “superstar”! That portion of the book is filled with wonderfully funny stories about how certain sketches came to fruition and all the back-stage drama that comes along with working with different personalities on a weekly basis. Throughout this time her biggest cheerleader was her dad who was still dealing with heartbreaking conflicts but was a favorite friend to all the cast at SNL.
As you read and understand Molly’s tragedies and triumphs, you also get the feeling after all these years that perhaps Molly is also healing herself and putting all the heartbreak behind. One theme throughout the book is her hope that upon reading, women who want to break into the business can learn that they must be more persistent and stronger and wiser as well as think outside the box when it comes to getting their foot in a door.
Hello, Molly is a fantastic memoir filled with heartwarming stories, some funny and some horribly sad, but certainly gives the reader a perspective into Shannon’s upbeat personality, her wisdom and her charm.
Thank you #NetGalley #HarperCollins #MollyShannon #HelloMolly for the advanced copy.