'SNL's' Molly Shannon Talks Family, Mother's Day & Jimmy Fallon

Molly Shannon

It's been more than a decade since Molly Shannon left—superstar!—Mary Katherine Gallagher behind in favor of the big screen. Currently starring in Scary Movie 5, the Saturday Night Live favorite wed artist Fritz Chestnut in 2004 and the couple is now parents to Stella, born 2003, and Nolan, born 2005.

YourTango sat down with the 48-year-old Excedrin Extra Strength spokesperson to chat about balancing a successful career and motherhood, returning to SNL, and her advice for pal Jimmy Fallon when he takes over Jay Leno's Tonight Show seat next year. 

YourTango: Describe being a mom in three words.
Molly Shannon: Joyful, peaceful and fun.

YourTango: Becoming a parent obviously shifts your focus. How do you balance mom and career duties?
Molly Shannon: I'm able to work really hard for a week or two and then I have weeks off, and then I can work again. I try not to work too much because I really love being with my kids, so I'm able to pick and choose. I'm in a fortunate position, where I've saved up enough money and I can take time off. 

YourTango: What do you have planned for Mother's Day?
Molly Shannon: I always forget about Mother's Day because my mom died when I was little, so that was a day that was never, ever a big deal. It was like we never celebrated Mother's Day, obviously. But now that I'm a mother, I'm always like, 'That's right, I'm a mother'! So, it's really weird.  Usually I will go get a massage or do something nice for myself and then spend the rest of the day or go out to dinner with my family

YourTango: Would you ever return to Saturday Night Live full-time?
Molly Shannon: That's such a nice question. It's such a fun job, but I kind of feel like I did it—it's like going to college. It's such a late night job, and now that I have kids my life is so different.  But, I would like to go back, not to be a full-time host, but to visit and perform, to do a little guest pop. I would do that.

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YourTango: What's the funniest thing your kids have ever done?
Molly Shannon: Well, the other day, I walked into my kid's bedroom—this was during spring break—and my son was lying down with all his clothes on, and there was my daughter around him and her other friends, and they were giving him a massage.  And I was like, 'What are you guys doing?' My son just turned eight. They had spa music on and candles. My son said, 'Oh, it's a game where I walk in and I pretend I'm a drunk person looking for Easter candy, and I can't find any Easter candy.' Then, he [pretend] passes out, and then he gets like a full body massage on the ground by three girls.  So, that made me laugh. 

YourTango: Do you have any advice for Jimmy Fallon taking over The Tonight Show?
Molly Shannon: I'm so happy for him.  No, I don't need to give him any advice. I mean, he's obviously doing so well. I guess I would just say, 'Just keep doing what you do.' He's the nicest guy. I think people just adore him because he's such a nice, warm person. How he seems on-screen, that is how he really is in real life, to everyone: to bus drivers, to my dad, to everyone. He has that infectious energy off-camera as well as on-camera and everybody knows it. On top of that, he makes the guests feel so comfortable because he'll be like, 'If you don't like something, I'll just cut it out.'  Everybody wants to do his show because he's the best. He's such a sweetie pie.  Everybody is just so happy for his success, everyone wishes Jimmy well.