How "A Lot of Struggle" Allowed Molly Shannon To Find the Most Success of Her Career

Molly Shannon, the star of Showtime's comedy I Love That For You, explained why her career is better and more fulfilling than ever in an exclusive interview with E! News.

By Daniel Trainor May 08, 2022 12:00 PMTags
Watch: Molly Shannon Credits Vanessa Bayer For Home Shopping Intro

Molly Shannon knows about adversity.

The Saturday Night Live alum, who stars in Showtime's new comedy I Love That For You, learned about hardship early on. When Molly was four, her mother, younger sister and cousin were all killed in a car crash. Molly was in the car at the time.

In her memoir Hello, Molly!, the actress writes about how learning to handle grief at such a young age inspired her work ethic and outlook on life—and how fleeting it can be.

So, perhaps it's no surprise that over the course of more than three decades, Molly has built a more diverse, impressive and well-respected comedic career than almost anybody in the industry. With her hilarious performance as an overbearing mother in 2021's The White Lotus, her scene-stealing turn in The Other Two and now, as a home shopping network legend on I Love That For You, Molly is getting her flowers.

And she knows it.

"I started to feel it heating up during The White Lotus and then it just kind of continued," Molly told E! News. "It's blowing my mind. But I have to say, I worked really hard to get to this point. I kept putting the pieces in place. I struggled for a long time. I did not have an easy time." 

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After leaving Saturday Night Live after six seasons in 2001—where she originated iconic characters like Mary Katherine Gallagher and Sally O'Malley—Molly began plotting out those pieces. 

She earned Emmy nominations for guest appearances on Enlightened and Will & Grace, she earned critical raves and won an Independent Spirit Award for her performance in 2016's Other People and, most importantly, she just kept working.

"If you just put one step in front of another and try to enjoy the process, not just the end result," Molly said. "Just stay in the game, you know what I mean? I put the pieces into place and then it started to come together. I feel very appreciative because I don't take it for granted. I understand how hard showbiz is. I appreciate opportunities. I worked in restaurants for years and made my money that way, so I really appreciate making money in Hollywood."

Nicole Wilder/SHOWTIME.

On I Love That For You, co-created by and co-starring fellow SNL alum Vanessa Bayer, Molly plays Jackie Stilton, the most adored host at fictional home shopping network SVN. The most adored part? Right up Molly's alley! The home shopping part? Not so much.

"[Vanessa] coached me. I don't really know anything about that world," Molly said. "Of course, I did watch it once I got the part. But Vanessa taught me. If they're selling something like a vase, they're like, ‘These are so cute, they come in the beige.' They always want to touch it. They always have a beautiful manicure."

New episodes of I Love That For You stream every Friday on the Showtime app and air on Showtime Sunday nights at 8:30 p.m. ET.

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