“Don’t give up. Whatever you do. Just don’t give up, okay? It took me ten years to get on SNL. I walked around and no one knew who I was. Then I got on SNL and it all changed overnight. You just never know. So, don’t give up!”
This story was originally shared by actress Jenna Fischer (The Office, Splitting Up Together), from her 2017 book, The Actor’s Life. Fischer tells this story from her early days in Hollywood, as an aspiring actress. According to Fischer, she pretended to be sick so she could skip out on her day job to attend a Saturday Night Live party, following a Television Critics Association press event. While there she met SNL’s Molly Shannon, who inspired her with this quote:
“I stood and waited, nodding along as Molly answered questions. But after waiting a few minutes, I became so desperate to have her notice me that I started cracking jokes. Awful jokes. I vaguely remember a joke about traffic and one about boobs. It was seriously so horrible and cringy and awkward I can barely think about it without getting hives. It didn’t take long before I started getting the evil eye from the reporters. So, I finally shut up and listened politely.
“Eventually the press walked away, and I seized my chance to have Molly all to myself. I said, ”Hi, I’m not really supposed to be here. I’m an aspiring actress, new to LA, and I just wanted to say that I really love what you do.” Now, Molly could have just been polite and said, “Thanks, nice to meet you.” Or she could have blown me off. After all, I was the weirdo party crasher telling boob jokes! But she didn’t. She turned to face me, looked me in the eyes, and said,
“Don’t give up. Whatever you do. Just don’t give up, okay? It took me ten years to get on SNL. I walked around and no one knew who I was. Then I got on SNL and it all changed overnight. You just never know. So, don’t give up. Ten years. Ten years. It’s hard, okay? Good luck. You can do it.”