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Alumni Spotlight: Mary Gallagher
Mary Gallagher senior photo

Brookfield Central Class of 1986

Brookfield Central graduate, Mary Gallagher, is a comedian and actress who has appeared on a number of America's favorite shows and recently had her stand up featured on Late Night with Stephen Colbert!

Gallagher started in Elmbrook at Leland Elementary School and then transferred to Tonawanda Elementary before attending Pilgrim Park and Brookfield Central. During her years in high school, Mary enjoyed making cartoons and writing jokes and sketches with her best friend, Juli. "I often struggled in school," reflected Mary, "and that's something I really appreciate because it drove me to find my passion." Mary highlighted her fourth grade teacher at Tonawanda, Michael Giordano, for the positive impact he had on building her character. "He inspired me to think for myself, be curious, and to not judge others, and those were important, fundamental lessons to learn at an early age," she said.

Following her Central graduation in 1986, Mary continued on to the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay where she earned a Theatre degree in 1990. "Discovering acting, theatre, and comedy at UW- Green Bay was a pivotal point for me," Gallagher stated. "Without that school and those experiences, I would still be figuring out what to do with my life!" After taking her first acting class and her first audition, she was hooked and began doing comedy in clubs, malls, bars, and auditoriums all over the area.

Mary then attended Chicago's The Second City Training Center where she studied improvisational and sketch comedy. As a graduate of the program, she joined the ranks of comedians Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, and Amy Poehler, among others. She continued training and moved to Los Angeles where she performed stand up comedy and began writing, as well as acting in commercials and TV shows. Gallagher was featured in episodes of Sister, Sister, FRIENDS, and Mad About You in the 90's, and eventually went on to star in a number of films, including 2005's Flightplan.

Mary Gallagher today

Following the birth of her daughter, Mary took a break to focus on parenting. After several years, Mary returned to acting, continued her comedy training, and was featured in episodes of How I Met Your Mother, NCIS, Grey's Anatomy, and Fameless. "One of my personal goals in life is to help people that struggle with feelings of inadequacy and depression, from children to moms and everyone in-between," stated Gallagher. "As a cartoonist, I'm able to teach kids about confidence through my art and it's a truly powerful experience."

On Friday, May 18, Mary's stand up will be featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. She is now writing her own television and film scripts and hopes to appear more frequently on late night television. "My favorite part of the job is meeting so many extremely talented people...and having someone else do my hair, makeup, and wardrobe - not my strength," she joked.

Find out more about Mary and her work at marygallagher.tv and myfriendmary.com, and be sure to follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and tumblr @myfriendmary.

Read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's interview with Gallagher here, and you can check out her stand up routine here.

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