This is one of the premises in her memoir, "Hello Molly!". (Ecco). Actor Molly explores her life experiences, including the time she was 4 years old and riding in a car driven her father. The car crashed and killed her mother, baby sister, and cousin. Her father tried to heal the emotional and physical scarrings from the accident, and Shannon was raised by him as a funny and quirky dad with unconventional parenting skills.
Shannon shared that her father was gay later in life and it was hard for them both to come out when she went to New York University. After moving to Los Angeles, she created a live TV show which led to her six-season stint on "SNL" in 1995.
She's been working steadily since then in TV and film, and as her father advised her before his death, she has made the most of every part. Showtime will air her new comedy, "I Love That for You", on April 29th. Shannon spoke to The Associated Press recently about her family stories, crashing into chairs while on "SNL" and how Hollywood has helped her.
These answers have been edited to be concise and clear.
AP: What was it like to write the book? How do you feel about making connections in your life?
SHANNON: It's so vulnerable. You are so vulnerable. I hope people find inspiration or can relate to some of it. It wasn't written with an agenda .... I was just motivated by it. Also, I feel like I am a woman and feel that more women should share their stories. Just like Molly said, "Just do it!" So I tried to push through my embarrassment, but I'm glad I did. I wanted to be brave and face my fears.
SHANNON: When he was closeted, he was his confidant. He was a fun parent. But I wanted to start my own life. It's a different kind of relationship when you have one parent. It's very easy to get close. However, I felt that way a bit... it was really hard for him. He was so close to my heart and it was difficult for me too. Both of us feel the pain. I felt like he wasn’t living his full life. It was a sad time for me to leave. My father was someone I loved deeply and admired. I understood his struggles and I understood him.
AP: How did you feel about taking the physical risks to make your characters on "SNL" a part of your story?
SHANNON: In real life ...., I would be so nervous. My heart was racing and I was like "OK, Molly Shannon." I am terrified and I will use my nervous energy to play Mary Katherine Gallagher. I felt nothing a lot of the time when I was doing any physical work. I felt nothing when I was thrown into the metal chairs. It was almost like no pain. And it was all wild, and I didn’t care. It was kind of punk rock, I thought. 'Ahhhh! (screams).... I would then wake up the next morning with bruises and cuts on my body and muscles that were hurting. It was a strange feeling. But, I wanted people to laugh and do crazy things.
AP: Although you suffered trauma as a child, you found the positives in Hollywood. What is the source of that?
SHANNON: It's hard to get work done. I had a revelation that I realized I could handle rejection better than I did when I was a child. This gave me the ability to bounce back and be a good performer in showbiz. It's hard work to get these jobs in the arts, such as performing or writing. So, I just had a good attitude and said, "OK, what are we going to do?" Let's do it. At least I am doing what I love.
AP: This attitude has helped you to survive in show business.
SHANNON: Hollywood can be so scary. It can seem like you are only as good or better than your last job. It can be so exhausting. It's just not something I want to believe. I don't want to be afraid of aging. I am so thankful that I am healthy. I also felt grateful when I saw celebrities who thought they were only as good or better than their last movie. I thought, "Oh my God, this never ends, you know?" And I don't want it to continue like that. I want to live a happy life, both as a mother and with my family.