Maya Rudolph won her first two Emmys last year for “Saturday Night Live” and “Big Mouth,” and she may just win two more this year. The versatile actress is currently nominated for both shows again, landing bids in Best Comedy Guest Actress and Best Character Voiceover Performance. Rudolph looks back on her double wins last year in shock, especially having it finally happen this far into her career. “I never really won anything before in that way,” says Rudolph in an exclusive new webchat for Gold Derby. “I was really blown away.”
One of Rudolph’s signature roles on “SNL” is now Vice President Kamala Harris, an impression she debuted (and won her Emmy for) the previous season. She appeared in the first six episodes of this season, often to play Harris, a period of time Rudolph describes as both strange and exciting. “The entire setup was completely different, so we were all kind of going in blind,” she recalls, “knowing that the bones and the structure of what ‘Saturday Night Live’ is were there, but everything else was like, ‘Well, we’ll have faith. We’ll see how we can pull this off.’” She mentions feeling like she and Jim Carrey, who played Joe Biden, were like “Avengers,” coming in through a secret entrance to help make people laugh during a fraught time in the country.
Rudolph’s Emmy submission for “SNL” is the episode she hosted in March, which features another impression of Harris, a sketch about Beyonce on the talk show “Hot Ones” and a multitude of original character pieces. For Rudolph, the physicality of the “Hot Ones” sketch appealed to her sensibilities. “Those goofy moments were really, really fun to play and I was looking forward to it,” she remembers. It was also an excuse for Rudolph to bring back her Beyonce impression, having parodied the superstar earlier in her career. “It was fun to nuance it with something completely different and ridiculous, something you would absolutely never see her do.”
As for “Big Mouth,” Rudolph is now comfortable with the very specific vivacious tone required to voice Connie the Hormone Monstress. In the beginning, she and the producers had to figure out the exact vibe of how she speaks. “Then, once we started realizing there were certain words, obviously ‘bubble bath,’ how the double alliteration helped bring out this juicy quality to her voice, then they started writing accordingly and then it all clicked,” she notes. Now having played Connie for four seasons, she has come to embrace her as her version of Sasha Fierce.