When Sandman makes you a promise, he makes sure to keep it.
Saturday Night Live - Season 42

Who do we have to thank for Mary Katherine Gallagher's time on Saturday Night Live? Molly Shannon... and Adam Sandler?

Shannon, who recently sat down with EW to take us through some of her most iconic roles, knows firsthand what it means to receive a promise from Sandler. She recounted how Sandler played a major part in getting her on SNL.

"Adam Sandler and I went to NYU Drama School together and he actually got cast on the show first," Shannon explains. "He was like, 'Don't worry, kid. I'm gonna get you on too.' And he did, years later. He recommended me too so I got in through Adam."

Molly Shannon and Adam Sandler
Molly Shannon and Adam Sandler
| Credit: Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Sandler may have helped Shannon get her foot in the door at Rockefeller Center, but Shannon's comedic talents got her the job. Shannon says, "I was working hard on my stage show and developing characters and working really hard. So, I was definitely ready. I did this stage show for years in L.A. called The Rob and Molly Show and in that show I did Mary Katherine Gallagher, Sally O'Malley, and this character called Ruby Daley. So I had done and written all those characters on my own and brought them to SNL."

Mary Katherine Gallagher may be one of Shannon's most iconic characters, but she could've never predicted the (Superstar) stardom that Mary would get.

"I originally created the character Mary Katherine Gallagher at NYU. I did a comedy review show called The Follies. Madeline Olnek, our director, had us do an exercise for the comedy review show that Adam Sandler was also in and she said, 'Okay, we're gonna do this fun exercise where I play a snotty director and I'm gonna be very unimpressed and you just have to walk through the door and make up a character,' Shannon says. "I walked through the door and said, 'Hi! I'm Mary Katherine Gallagher.' She was very unimpressed and I had to keep trying to impress her. The character was such a hit from that little improve rehearsal that they ended up writing the comedy review show completely around this character."

After the comedy review show, Mary Katherine Gallagher took on a life all her own. Shannon says, "I started getting recognized on campus, like 'Oh my God! That's the girl that did Mary Katherine Gallagher.' The show was a big hit. There were lines around the block."

This was when Shannon, who studied Drama at NYU, started to think that maybe she could have a career in comedy. "I was a very serious dramatic actress at NYU, but then after that show people came up to me and started telling me 'You should be on Saturday Night Live.' I never thought of it though. I mean I liked watching Bill Murray and Gilda Radner when I was babysitting, but I didn't ever think I would be on it."

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Saturday Night Live - Season 42
Saturday Night Live

The original late-night comedy sketch show from the one and only Lorne Michaels.

  • TV Show
  • 47
  • Saturdays at 11:30 PM
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