By Drew Mackie
"Saturday Night Live" legend Molly Shannon just announced that she will be sitting in as a new guest host on "The Talk" for the rest of September. During an interview with Wonderwall, the actress proved why she's a perfect fit for the round table show, as she managed to cover everything from her new book to her new job as a Skinny Cow spokesperson to why her kids haven't yet seen her "SNL" work.
Wonderwall: What of your "SNL" work have your kids -- Stella, 7, and Nolan, 6, -- seen, if anything?
Molly Shannon: They haven't seen anything! It's funny; there's was a magnet of Mary Katherine Gallagher I had on my file cabinet in my office, and when they were little, they were like, "Ugh, take that down!" Because they just want me to look like mommy. My son doesn't even like if I wear my hair in a ponytail. He's like, "Take your hair down!" I guess I'll have to show them [my "SNL" work] at some point. I just haven't done that yet.
WW: Tell us about your book.
MS: My kids' book is called Tilly the Trickster. It's about a girl who's really a precocious trickster. She plays tricks on her family and friends. It's kind of based on my dad, kind of based on me, a little bit on my kids. After "Kath & Kim" got canceled, I just wanted to challenge myself creatively and do something that was just mine. A lot of times with TV, you work with writers and producers and there are so many people that when I finished, I wanted something else. My husband is an artist, and I went into his studio at our house and just wrote the book by myself. It felt good to just do that without anybody else.
WW: Did you draw inspiration from any books from your own childhood or books that you love to read to your kids?
MS: No, but one movie sticks out in my mind. One night, when I was a little girl, I couldn't fall asleep. And this movie with Rosalind Russell came on, "The Trouble With Angels." And I loved it. I love mischievous girl characters. And my daughter loves that and my son loves that. And I think so much creativity comes from being silly, and I encourage that with my own kids, and the books has that spirit.
WW: Tell us why you're working with Skinny Cow candy?
MS: It's delicious. I'm a big fan of the of the peanut-butter-and-chocolate Heavenly Crisp wafers. They are a low-calorie candy bar with half the calories of a regular candy bar. But it does not sacrifice in the taste department. It's amazing.
WW: And how did you come to get involved with Skinny Cow?
MS: Skinny Cow was kind enough to give a donation to my favorite charity, Reading Is Fundamental, a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy to kids across the country. And I love their idea of redefining candy. People have to redefine themselves; women redefine themselves. I just love that whole idea. And I have a kids book coming out Sept. 13, and that's why I was so excited to work with a literacy organization for kids.
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WW: What's next for you?
MS: I'm going to be on this show called "The Middle" with Patricia Heaton. I'm playing her sister. I'm also doing an animated comedy movie with Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi called "Hotel Transylvania." I'm starting that next week. I'm also working on developing two comedy movies for women. And they're super exciting and creative, and I'm working with people that I really like.
WW: A lot of your fans were surprised by "Year of the Dog," because you showed a more serious side. Do you have any plans to take on non-comedic roles in the future?
MS: I would love to. ["Year of the Dog" director] Mike White is the best, and we're still really good friends, and that movie is one of my favorite movies. That's what I like best: that style of acting, even though I know I do broad comedy. … I'm developing a show with HBO right now, and the writer I'm developing it with, Tim Long, [is] a writer from "The Simpsons," and he really likes "Year of the Dog." … That was really what he was inspired by, more so than my work on "SNL." I don't know how HBO will respond to that, but that would be my dream.
WW: As one of the "SNL" cast members from the era when the women really broke out as stars, what's your take on "Bridesmaids"?
MS: It was so thrilling. I'm such a fan of Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph. I really felt what Kristen did in partnering with Judd Apatow and Annie Mumolo was unbelievable. We went opening weekend. My heart was pounding. My husband told me, "I don't think I've ever seen you so excited to see a movie." I was overjoyed. What Kristen did is incredible. When this when it's done right, and these funny ladies are all together, it's something people really want to see. What an inspiration!
WW: People really responded to your recurring "SNL" characters. Do you ever miss these characters?
MS: No, I don't miss doing Mary Katherine Gallagher, because that got really physically scary. I don't want to be risking, like, breaking my neck or anything. The stuff that I did was very reckless and crazy, and I would bruise myself. And I just don't want to do that anymore. … I like the dramatic parts of the character. I could do that. The physical things, though -- those got bigger and bigger and bigger. Sally O'Malley, though, I did for the Betty White episode [of "SNL"], and Jeannie Darcy, who was the bad stand-up. That was fun to do. But do I miss them? … No, I feel like I did them just enough. I feel like the cycle of the show is that they bring in these really hungry comedians who are really wanting to get their stuff on the air, who are really willing to kill themselves. But you can only do that for so long before the next cycle of girls is ready to come in.
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