"Sally O'Malley: Bada Bing" ('Sopranos' Audition)
Darrell Hammond, cast member, 1995-2009: There was a sketch in which Molly Shannon reprised her 50-year-old dancer character [Sally O'Malley], and I played Tony Soprano. The premise was the Sopranos were at Bada Bing, Tony's strip club. And Molly Shannon's dancer character came on to audition to be a stripper. Molly did what she does as well as just about anyone, which is take the whole room by storm. She didn't wear underwear and she made her pants real right. Her character realizes that Tony Soprano is the boss, so she does her own version of a lap dance in a pantsuit. Pretty darn funny.
Three minutes earlier, I had been doing Dan Rather and a scaffold fell on me. I had chalk in my mouth and powder in my mouth and mascara in my eye. The cue cards changed for the sketch at the last minute, which they almost always do. With all those things up against me, I ended up doing more of a Stanley Kowalski than a Tony Soprano. If you see the sketch at read-through, it's just a skeleton with potential. Then you see a virtuoso performer like Molly just gradually add layer and layer and layer and keep layering things into small bits. Dana Carvey used to tell me, "Don't give it all at dress [rehearsal]. Save some for air." I never really understood what he meant until I was out there with Molly and she added about 10 percent for air.
[This sketch] had 100 percent of the room laughing the whole time. And as someone who was always sort of addicted to that sort of energy, having that very famous room laughing 100 percent for the whole sketch is really unforgettable. The only other sketch where I think I saw that happen was "More Cowbell," but, ya know, Molly did things on air that were so bold and so audacious and so genius. It took my breath away and I cracked up during that sketch. I admit it.