"Mary Katherine Gallagher – West Side Story"
Molly Shannon, cast member, 1995-2001: I did "Mary Katherine Gallagher - West Side Story" with [writer] Steve Koren. Mary Katherine really wants to be Maria, but Teri Hatcher, who was hosting, gets the part. Will Ferrell and Teri Hatcher are Tony and Maria. I'm in the background, and I really wish that I could be her so I could kiss Will. I did a monologue, and I end up pushing Teri and kissing Will and it was just beautiful. I think Lorne really liked it.
It's the combination of all these things: comedy with love, with drama, with a gun, a dramatic monologue from West Side Story. They hardly ever replay it because I think the music to West Side Story is so expensive.
I love performing with Will Ferrell. We made a little agreement where if we were failing, we would commit harder. If a sketch was tanking, and you weren't getting any laughs and it was just crickets, we always said, "We're gonna commit even harder and pour our hearts into it even more." It was an exercise in being supercreative. Embrace the failure!
We did a sketch where we were two people who had just recently lost 100 pounds. We went out and we did it center stage, which usually was a good position to be in, because you can play to the audience as opposed to being stuck with a set built in the corner of the studio. But this time, there was not a single laugh. We're looking at one another's eyes like, "Holy shit. This is so funny. This is such a bad sketch."
We just kept going for it and gave the best
performances of our lives in that sketch. When we came off, we were dying
laughing. We failed beautifully. Comedy is hard. The stuff that fails is
important, because you learn so much from it. Even if something doesn't work,
there's something beautiful about putting yourself out there.