Shannon went on The Howard Stern Show recently to talk about the book, and discussions of her father came up.
Shannon was telling Stern about an accident that happened in her youth where her father, James Shannon, was driving drunk and her mother, sister, and cousin ended up dying. The two spoke about how he carried the guilt from that accident his whole life, and then added that he was carrying something else as well.
"Your dad was dying of prostate cancer, and you put together that your dad might have been a closeted gay man his whole life," Stern said. "And this is the horror of our world, because these a******s, attacking gay people even today and making 'gay' bad, maybe that's why he was drinking and why he was an alcoholic."
"Yes Howard, you hit the nail on the head," Shannon replied.
"It was my last week of Saturday Night Live, my very last show, such a big deal for me," Shannon explained when asked how she figured out her dad was gay. "He showed up to my apartment my last week, but he was drunk when he showed up, and I was so bummed because he really hadn't been drinking for a long time, he had been sober for a few years, you know?"
She explained how on the way to her apartment, her father had stopped at a bar and picked up a young, straight, college student, and brought him to Shannon's apartment as well. After Shannon ended up kicking both her father and the student out, she called her manager Steven Levy, who is gay and had become very close with her father over the years.
"Steven, in that conversation when I complained about my dad, said, 'You're being too hard on him Molly, you're being too hard on him. You don't understand, he's given up so much for you girls, so much for you and Mary,'" Shannon said. This prompted her to ask Levy if he was saying her dad was gay.
"He was like, 'I don't want to tell you! He's going to tell you.' And I was like, 'Oh my god.' I couldn't believe it."
Shannon added that her dad had tried to tell her mother about it when she was still alive. "I think he had tried to tell my mom before that," she said. "He said, 'I saw this psychiatrist, and the psychiatrist told me I'm a latent homosexual,' and she said, 'Oh, that psychiatrist never should've told you that.'"
She then later asked him directly if he ever thought he might be gay, about six months before he died. "Most definitely," he replied.
Finding this out about her father helped to put his drinking into context for Shannon. "So of course you're going to drink. Imagine if you couldn't be who you were sexually. It's horrible," she said to Stern.