We all love Amy Schumer, everyone knows how brilliant Key & Peele are, and you’ve watched Will Ferrell’s classic SNL sketches countless of times. But in this weekly column Sketchy MVPs, The Laugh Button shines a light on comedians from our favorites shows and troupes who don’t often get rightful credit for their contributions to sketch comedy.
Along with Cheri Oteri and Ana Gasteyer, Molly Shannon played an enormous role with ushering in the show’s “era of women” in the late 90s. You could even argue that Shannon’s performances week after week during her six year stint on the show paved the way for future female cast members to take a more prominent role in sketches.
What made her such a standout and beloved cast member was her ability to switch back and forth between physical and quirky humor. One moment, she was jumping off the walls (displaying an energy that would’ve made Gilda Radner proud) and then the next she was delivering awkward jokes with eerily subtlety. So basically, Shannon was a force to be reckoned with in any scene she was in.
Since leaving SNL in 2001, Shannon has popped up in a handful of films and TV shows. However, Shannon has most recently been getting rave reviews for her performance in Other People (in theaters now), written and directed by the new co-head writer of SNL Chris Kelly. She will also be co-starring in a new HBO series with Sarah Jessica Parker called Divorce starting in October.
But while she’s been showing off her dramatic chops lately, let’s take a look at our favorite moments of Shannon’s comedic genius during SNL.
Mary Katherine Gallagher performs “The Little Drummer Boy”
How can you have a list about Shannon’s best moments on SNL and NOT have Mary Katherine Gallagher? Her most famous character is also the best example of Shannon’s dedication to going all out in a sketch (which is probably why we still have a soft spot for the 1999 Mary Katherine Gallagher film Superstar). If you had any doubt about that, though, then watch Mary Katherine Gallagher attempt to out-perform Whitney Houston above.
NPR’s Delicious Dish “Schweddy Balls”
While Mary Katherine Gallagher is a prime example of Shannon’s physical comedy, her portrayal of Teri Rialto, co-host of the NPR show Delicious Dish, is a prime example of Shannon’s subtle yet effective delivery. Granted, hearing anyway talking about schweddy balls is hysterical, but Shannon and Gasteyer’s tone and timing through it all makes the lewd humor even funnier.
Bill, Saddam And Monica Have A Three-Way Call
Shannon often played the infamous White House intern during the height of “Monicagate” in the late 90s. While she pretty much nailed what most people assumed Lewinsky was like, our favorite was watching Shannon as Lewinsky trying to help President Clinton convince Saddam Hussein to start a war to distract Americans.
Dog Show “Lucky Boots”
This is still one of the most bizarre recurring sketches in SNL’s entire history. Yet there’s something so enthralling about watching Shannon and Will Ferrell playing co-hosts of a dog show where they are a little too into role-playing with their tiny dogs… Case in point: the above intervention over Mr. Bojangles’ drinking problem.