From one "Superstar!" to another.
Saturday Night Live - Season 42

Molly Shannon, former White Lotus priority guest and Saturday Night Live G.O.A.T., popped by The Howard Stern Show to promote her new book, Hello Molly!: A Memoir, and told a tale of two "Superstars!"

In her memoir, the comedy vet discusses becoming friends with the gone-but-never-forgotten Whitney Houston and how she convinced the diva to appear in a holiday sketch with Mary Katherine Gallagher — Shannon's spastic, fantastic Catholic school girl character.

"Whitney was so nice. They're like, she's not going to be in the sketch. She's not going to do it," Shannon told Stern. "I was like, 'She'll do it. Let me go talk to her.'"

Whitney Houston and Molly Shannon on Saturday Night Live in 1996
Whitney Houston and Molly Shannon on 'Saturday Night Live.'
| Credit: NBC

Houston was the musical guest on the Dec. 14, 1996 episode of SNL, hosted by Rosie O'Donnell.

"Sometimes I would see where they would approach the musical guest and they would have too many lines or it's too confusing," Shannon continued. "And I thought, They don't want to have all of this pressure memorizing these lines. So I just told Whitney, 'Look, I'm going to play the Catholic school girl. You're going to be like a snotty girl. All you have to do is, just do whatever you want. You just have to be snotty, push in front me, out-sing me. You can say whatever you want."

Shannon said "out-sing me" and Whitney said, "In what octave?" Though, really, Houston was more than game.

"She was like, 'Okay, I'll do it, I'll do it!' So that's how I got her to do it," Shannon recalled. "And that's what I meant. I was like, don't even look at these papers, just have fun!"

Getting Whitney to agree to the sketch was one thing — getting Whitney to show up for the sketch, well, that took a bit of a turn.

"Then the night that the sketch was on, she was not there yet. And I was like, 'Oh no.' So they had Ana Gasteyer dress in the Catholic school outfit so she was ready to go onstage. It was like, honestly, like five seconds, they're counting down, [Gasteyer]'s about to go on. And then they're like, 'Whitney's here, Whitney's here!' They usher her on and she was fantastic. She showed up."

In the sketch, two nuns (O'Donnell and special guest star Penny Marshall) are preparing their students for the Inter-Catholic Chorus Competition and Houston (as "the perfect Jennifer") sings, and out-sings, "Little Drummer Boy" and "Sleigh Ride" while Mary Katherine tries to steal the spotlight.

"Rosie was great. She was so good, and Whitney was so nice after," Shannon said. "She loved being in that and she was like, 'Girl, you're crazy.' She had so much fun. She had such a good sense of humor."

Sadly, SNL doesn't have that classic sketch on YouTube (hint, hint), but you can enjoy this less than HD version below:

Related content:

Episode Recaps

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
stream service

Comments have been disabled on this post