Molly Shannon Used To Run A Scam Pretending To Be David Mamet’s Assistant

April 12, 2022 / Posted by:

We can all appreciate a good scammer over here in this corner of the internet, especially one with hustle and initiative. Even better, is when the scam is essentially a victimless crime. Better still, when the mark has just proven himself to be, not just worthy of derision, but worthy of a hale and hearty “get her, Jade!” In this case, the mark is pedophile-obsessed playwright David Mamet, and Saturday Nnight Live alum Molly Shannon already done got him way back in the 90s! In her new memoir, Molly talks about the “Mamet Scam” she and her friend Eugene Pack used to run, that led to her landing a role in a 1991 episode of Twin Peaks. Always be closing? Ha! How about always be conning. That’s how Molly learned the ABCs.

At the beginning of her career, 4 years before she got SNL, Molly, and Eugene, who used to study with Mamet in New York, were trying to get their foot in the door, but were having no luck. Knowing that Mamet hardly ever spent any time in Los Angeles, they made up a false identity, a woman named Liz Stockwell, Mamet’s imaginary assistant, and started calling casting offices pretending to be her. IndieWire reports:

“We were trying to figure out how we were going to get in the door as actors,” Shannon wrote in her memoir, “Hello Molly!,” available from HarperCollins on April 12. “How were we gonna bust in? It was too hard to just slip your picture under an agent’s door. A random headshot? No one was ever gonna call. Then we hit on an idea. Eugene had studied with David Mamet. He was (and is) this giant, hugely successful guy, very respected — a big-time playwright and screenwriter — but Eugene knew that he wasn’t a guy who was in Hollywood much. He just liked staying in Vermont and New York.”

And so, with Mamet’s absence from the L.A. scene, Shannon and Pack decided to call casting agents from Mamet’s faux office — but only after doing their research.

“We went to the American Film Institute library and looked up managers and agents that we thought would be good for us in this big, thick agency book,” Shannon continued. “We also looked up actors who we thought were like us, found out who managed them, and decided to go after these people and try to get them to sign us by pretending to be representing Mamet. I called it the Mamet Scam.”

While running the scam, Shannon would call and say, “‘This is Liz Stockwell calling from David Mamet’s office.’ I was David Mamet’s right-hand girl. I was a ray of sunshine. A fun, positive gal.”

“The Other Two” star added, “We started meeting everyone — agents at ICM, William Morris. I wanted to be on ‘Twin Peaks’ so Eugene called the casting director, Johanna Ray, and I actually did get cast on ‘Twin Peaks.’ Through the Mamet Scam.”

Thanks to the scam, Molly ended up playing a social worker in a season 2 episode. Molly says she and Eugene kept the scam running for about 6 months in total, only to be foiled by that nosy, good-for-nothing Molly Ringwald!

“We ran the Mamet Scam on her and set up a meeting,” Shannon recalled. “When I sat down for my appointment, she glared at me and said, ‘I just wanted to see what a liar looked like in person.’”

I guess what they say is true, there really is no honor among Mollies. But at least we know who should play Molly R. if they ever make a movie about The Mamet Scam. I never thought about it before, but Molly Ringwald is the role Dakota Johnson was born to play!


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