Was there ever a more train-wreck-watching moment of disbelief than the first time you spied Mary Katherine Gallagher on a Saturday Night Live (SNL) skit as an armpit smeller?
I mean, even if you didn’t go to Catholic school, you recognized her in an instant.
She was the strange little girl who carried egg sandwiches in her backpack for weeks in grade school. The same egg sandwiches.
She was the awkward teenager who tried out for the basketball team even though he couldn’t dribble … and made the cut through sheer dint of determination and a supernova-intense personality.
Hell, she was you every time you felt shy, stinky, ugly, clumsy, craptastic, or just plain not good enough … but then said screw it and rumbled through your next challenge anyway.
Mary Katherine Gallagher was the first breakout character from SNL’s new cast in 1995, and an instant — if uncomfortable — hit.
And, while Molly Shannon didn’t bring her backwards “superstar” to our small screens until we were adults, kids of the 1970s and 1980s ate her up.
We knew her. We were her!
So get your armpits ready and your fingers out, because it’s time to sniff those babies and remember some of the best Mary Katherine Gallagher moments from SNL.
Just beware, though, as you step into these clips … it’s gross.
As Alanis Morissette told us, those Catholic girls start a little too late.
But they make up for all that lost time.
I mean … that’s Alanis talking, not me.
And since Mary Katherine came to our collective consciousness around the same time as we learned about “duplicity” from Morissette, it stands to reason she would have been making up for lost time, too.
And so she does here in this skit, where she decides to join a gang.
Who’s to say she couldn’t?
After all, what group of bikers or drug-runners or just basic thugs wouldn’t want a secret weapon — smelly armpits wielded through fingertips — in their arsenal.
What’s more nerve-racking than standing in front of a crowd of disinterested, leering peers trying to spell words so complicated they might be made up?
And delivered from the lips of some clueless old white man who is probably mispronouncing them?
Not much that I can think of, which is why a spelling bee is the perfect foil for Mary Kate.
She’s at her absolute best when the nerves run high, after all, and the threat of a wrong-word-ding makes her anxiety all the more palpable.
OK, so maybe there is something more nerve-racking than a spelling bee … waiting tables.
Where else can you go for the chance to maim a stranger with a tray full of hot food, glass and ceramics, and sharp silverware?
So … when Mary Katherine Gallagher shows up as your server at Friday’s, wouldn’t you be nervous, too?
What one word comes to mind when you think of Mary Katherine Gallagher?
If you’ve been paying attention to SNL over the years, the answer is obvious … “superstar”!
Heck, Mary Katherine even scored a movie by the same name in 1999 — Superstar may not have been a blockbuster, but it got her sweaty pits on the silver screen.
No place does Gallagher’s star shine brighter than onstage at the school talent show …
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