Gasteyer plays Sheila Shay, the epitome of a suburban PTA mother who does a whole lot more controlling than nurturing — particularly when it comes to her own daughter, Lisa (Allie Grant). “I just find controlling women really funny,” Gasteyer tells us. “When I first read the character, I had no idea that Emily [Kapnek, creator] was going to take her as far and as creatively wide as she has.”
We’re looking forward to a fellow “SNL” vet, Chris Parnell, joining the show as Sheila’s husband. “Our family is insane,” Gasteyer laughs. “We just have a really hilariously terrible family, which I’m very much enjoying. He’s constantly referencing how controlling she is, but then he’ll be like ‘But I love it!’ He loves being bossed around a little bit. I think he finds it comforting.”
Though she’s moved on to the next stage of her career, Gasteyer isn’t done with “SNL” yet — particularly because one classic sketch remains consistently relevant. Gasteyer, of course, was part of the Alec Baldwin sketch that, 13 years later, inspired the controversial Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor Schweddy Balls.
“I hope that on my headstone it says ‘controversial ice cream,'” she jokes, noting that at the time, she, Baldwin, and Molly Shannon had no idea that the sketch would remain so iconic. “After I left the show, it grew in popularity even more so, partially because they air it every Christmas and Alec Baldwin has become an even bigger cultural icon than he was when he hosted.”
Some grocery stores have banned the flavor in response to pressure from parents’ groups, which led us to wonder… what would Sheila Shay think of Schweddy Balls?
“Oh, she would be outraged. She would be scandalized by it, no doubt… and probably secretly binge on it, in the basement,” Gasteyer laughs.
Check out our video interview above for more from Gasteyer on working with Parnell, Sheila’s relationship with Lisa, and tonight’s Halloween episode of “Suburgatory.” Tune in at 8:30 p.m. EST on ABC.