Vanessa Bayer and Molly Shannon Embrace SNL and Being Awkward at I Love That for You FYC Event

Showtime comedy “I Love That for You” traces a straight line back to “Saturday Night Live.” Not only did former “SNL” star Vanessa Bayer create the show with former “SNL” writer Jeremy Beiler, and Bayer’s co-star is “SNL” veteran Molly Shannon, but the relationship between the actresses’ characters also looks a lot like… Shannon and Bayer’s, back when they were on “SNL.”

They didn’t overlap on the show (Shannon’s run ended in 2001, and Bayer’s began in 2010), but it remained a shared experience. The actresses grew up 10 minutes away from each other in Cleveland suburbs and brought their Midwestern sensibilities to the venerable comedy show.

“Like when Vanessa’s character is getting a makeover, I relate to her character because that’s how I felt when I started on ‘Saturday Night Live,” Shannon said at the show’s premiere and FYC event at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles Wednesday night. “You’re kind of green, and I remember wearing tights and little-girl dresses. And [producer] Marci Klein was like, ‘Honey, we’re gonna get you a makeover!’”

Added Bayer, “I got to ‘SNL’ and I was so Midwestern. Everyone seemed like they knew what they were doing except for me.”

“I Love That for You” follows Joanna (Bayer) as she fulfills her long-held dream of being a host on home shopping channel the Special Value Network, where veteran host Jackie (Shannon) hawk items like the couch-engulfing Twinsie Tandem Snuggie. On the verge of being fired, Joanna blurts a lie about her health and saves her job but now finds her nice-girl persona weighted by her own deception.

Even former “Black-ish” star Jenifer Lewis said “SNL” lured her to “I Love That for You,” where she portrays the Special Value Network’s founder and CEO. Although she’s never been on the late-night show, she was inspired by seeing Shannon’s career after her breakout run.

“Listen, I’m gonna be honest with you,” Lewis said. “When they called me, I was getting ready to retire after ‘Black-ish.’ When I heard Molly’s name I said, ‘Baby, you had me at ‘hello.” Anybody who can slam themself into their chair, tongue-kiss a tree, and that ‘Superstar’ shit — I’m standing in front of Molly Shannon, and I’m not supposed to laugh?”

“I Love That for You” also stars Matt Rogers, Ayden Mayeri, Paul James, and Punam Patel. The showrunner is Jessi Klein (“Inside Amy Schumer”); all were in attendance. Executive producer Michael Showalter, who directed the pilot, was unable to attend.

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