She’s one of the funniest women in Hollywood, but she isn’t alone. From 2000 to 2007 Maya Rudolph was a core cast member of SNL , and she shared the SNL spotlight with other exceptionally funny women (like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey to name a few). When I meet up with Rudolph in Hawaii to talk about her latest flick, Angry Birds, the actor can’t help but steer the conversation towards her time on the late night NBC sketch show. And it makes sense, as many of the voice actors on Angry Birds have a history at SNL. “It’s an amazing cast of really funny people. I saw Jason [Sudeikis] and Bill [Hader] were on board, and it didn’t take much to convince me,” she says of signing on to the film.
During her time at SNL — both as a cast member and a host — Rudolph crafted some particularly memorable characters like Attorney Glenda Goodwin, and Wake Up, Wakefield!’s Megan. But perhaps some of her most comical moments came from impressions of real life celebrities, such as Paris Hilton, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, and of course — Beyonce.
“My SNL family is truly family. When you go through an experience like SNL with other people, you’re family for life. It’s a very intense, wonderful, hyper-version of reality, and it’s a job that requires all of your attention and focus,” she says.
I suggest that perhaps being an SNL cast member is similar to being on a show like The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, or one of the ABC spinoff shows like Bachelor in Paradise. Both SNL and Bachelor environments are entirely immersive, seemingly non-stop, require high-energy, and require a performance of some kind. Rudolph sees the similarities.
“Yeah, because they feel like no one on earth understands. I would say that it’s probably as similar, and just as traumatic,” Rudolph says. “In the same way of a fraternity or a sorority, there are people I’ve never worked with on SNL but because we come from that place we’re connected.”
Rudolph, who remains good friends with many of the cast mates she worked with on the show, says their camaraderie was built out of necessity. SNL is an intense weekly cycle, and relying on one another was crucial to the show’s success, according to the 43-year-old actor. “During the time that I worked there, you were really holding each other up, because everyone is just exhausted.”
In my estimation, there are worse things than being held up by peers like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. Solidarity, sister!