Molly Shannon Got Hired on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and Mugged on the Same Day

The assailant couldn’t steal her good mood
Molly Shannon Got Hired on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and Mugged on the Same Day

With all due respect, Mary Katherine Gallagher getting mugged on the best day of her life sounds like a solid Saturday Night Live sketch.

In 1995, Lorne Michaels tapped Molly Shannon to replace Janeane Garofalo midway through SNL’s 20th season. The day Shannon got the news that would make her career, she celebrated over a glass of wine with her sister and her brother-in-law — then, on the way home, she was assaulted and robbed by an ogre of a man who failed to steal her excitement. An overjoyed Shannon even offered her mugger her coat after he took her money, because, as Shannon’s SNL career proved, no amount of bodily harm can break her comedy spirit.

The story is Shannon’s go-to anecdote whenever she needs to fill some time on a talk show, and the eternally optimistic comic talks about her attacker as if he’s some guy she met at a wedding and not a literal assailant.

It takes either a strong constitution or a spectacularly good mood to make a mugger seem so sympathetic, and Shannon had both the day Michaels decided that SNL needed her boundless chaotic energy.

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