Molly Shannon, 42, may be known for her comic schtick on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ but she takes a turn playing an animal rights crusader in ‘Year Of The Dog.’ OK! caught up with the mom of two April 9 in NYC. Do you have a dog?No, but when I was little I had a German Shepherd named Hannibal who could sing opera. After that, I had a beagle named Oliver. We had to get rid of it because I developed allergies, and I was like [my character] Peggy ? just so devastated, so sad. Wait, you had allergies while you were filming a movie with these dogs?I did ? the worst of it was in pre-production, we did a photo shoot, and I got a little breakout on my face, so I had to tell them I had a little bit of an allergy and they were like ëwhoa! What?’ I went to an allergy doctor and got all this medication but I ended up not having to take anything. It was fine. Is this movie making a statement about animals?It’s about the obsessional thinking of a lot of people, whether it be the obsessional world of mommies and babies, somebody wanting to be on the blue team or the orange team ? all different kinds of obsessional worlds. What’s crazier necessarily? Not judging these people but just observing them. That’s how I see it.Have you ever had to balance your own obsessions?I remember really wanting to be on ‘Saturday Night Live’ years ago, and they came around looking for women. It’s all I wanted! I ended up getting passed over because they looked at other women first. I was like ëno!’ And I had to wait five years. Do you ever worry about how your ëSaturday Night Live’ fans will react? I do, but I really feel so proud of this movie that I don’t feel that way about this. People get used to a certain thing. I try not to worry about it too much, but yeah, I do.What’s a movie that touched you?’My Life As A Dog,’ that Lasse Halstrom movie. It’s about a little boy who loses his mother. I thought it was so beautiful. I remember seeing Diane Keaton in ‘Shoot The Moon,’ where she’s going through a divorce and she’s in the bathtub. Do you use that for inspiration?No, I try to think about personal things mixed with a character. You can’t control it because it’s a very sensitive moment on set. ëJust let us know when you’re ready, Molly,’ but they’ll have people waiting with a boom. It feels like a lot of pressure, because they don’t have that much time. You have all these people standing around, and you have to go to your file of super-dark moments and think of that, then action! Toward the end, they’re like ëjust let us know when you’re ready,’ and I’m like ëGod, I’m never going to be ready!’ It’s hard. It’s so different than comedy.Who was your celebrity crush growing up? I liked the Fonz. I wrote him a letter saying I wanted to cook him spaghetti and meatballs, which is so queer, but I met him years later and he is the nicest guy.What’s next for you?I just shot a pilot for NBC with Natasha Richardson about these three sisters. They’re wealthy socialites from this very eccentric family that lives in New York City in this fine apartment. It’s a comic soap opera, and it also has mystery. My character’s on trial for murdering her husband. –Valerie Nome

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