As NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” closed this past week, it was not simply just the end of an episode, but also the end of the characters portrayed by Molly Shannon over the past five and half years. The show — hosted by Sean Hayes of NBC’s “Will and Grace” — featured many of Shannon’s famous characters in new skits. Shannon’s most famous role on “SNL” was that of Mary Katherine Gallagher, the over-energetic Catholic schoolgirl. This particular role brought Shannon to the big screen in the movie Superstar.
Fans will miss Shannon, who brought humor to the show with her wide variety of characters. Other characters made famous by Shannon included Terry Rialto, co-host of the fictitious National Public Radio show “Delicious Dish,” Sally O’Malley the extremely proud 50-year-old who “loves it,” licensed “joy-ologist” Helen Madden; “Dog Show” co-host Miss Colleen, and Circe Nightshade of “Goth Talk.” Her impressions of celebrities included the infamous Monica Lewinsky, Anna Nicole Smith, Courtney Love and Meredith Vieira.
Shannon’s reason for leaving “SNL” is one that many cast members have shared in the past: stardom. Shannon is heading off to Hollywood to try her hand in feature films. She is no newcomer at this. Over the past few years she has appeared in A Night at the Roxbury, Never Been Kissed and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Shannon has three movies already lined up for the near future, including the comedies Wet Hot American Summer and Serendipity (opposite John Cusack) as well as in the Farrelly Brothers’ live-action/animated feature Osmosis Jones.
This past season, “SNL” had experienced a loss of many of their regular cast members. Tim Meadows left to pursue TV acting in the now defunked “The Michael Richards Show,” while Cheri O’Teri went on to pursue both TV and feature films and Colin Quinn left after he was taken off his spot as host of “Weekend Update.” The risk of leaving “SNL” is one that many have taken, including Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Chevy Chase, Norm McDonald and Dan Akroyd. Many have gone on to better opportunities such as hit feature films, best selling albums and television series.
“SNL” is the type of show you want to be on if you’re a budding comedic actor. The amount of successful veterans outnumbers the few actors who have left and failed. Shannon’s job on “SNL” is only the beginning of her career. Soon she will be joining the ranks of other famous “SNL” alumni.