Maya Rudolph Gets Candid About Feeling ‘Humiliated’ During Her First Appearance On David Letterman’s The Late Show

Maya Rudolph in Loot
(Image credit: AppleTV+)

Maya Rudolph is a brilliant actress and comedian known for a slew of iconic performances in films like Bridesmaids and shows like Netflix’s Big Mouth. Rudolph was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 2000 to 2007, and followed her impressive tenure with a variety of interesting projects. She has returned to SNL periodically to play Vice President Kamala Harris starting in 2020, and recently revealed her rise to becoming one of the most successful comedic performers working today wasn’t always smooth sailing, specifically mentioning an upsetting appearance on David Letterman’s late night show.

The Loot star opened up to The Wall Street Journal about some of the more difficult situations she ran into during her meteoric rise to prominence. In particular, she detailed an instance when she visited the Late Show with David Letterman, and was made to feel embarrassed during her first-ever talk show appearance. She blames her lack of experience for how she handled the incident, saying:

I did not have a good time. He said my name wrong, and I just sat there, like, I grew up my whole life in love with you. And now my heart is broken. And I’m sitting here embarrassed and humiliated. I didn’t know how to handle it. I didn’t know how to come up with something funny to say. My public persona muscle wasn’t strong yet. I’ve definitely gotten much better. When I’m uncomfortable, I try to be funny.

This is a very awkward situation, and was probably difficult to open up about. As a first time talk show guest, the experience must have been overwhelming. In addition, Rudolph clearly admired Letterman quite a bit, so such an experience meeting him for the first time may have thrown her off. Having a public persona to showcase on a talk show is a lot to ask for a novice. The SNL alum probably would have handled the situation much differently now, as she has plenty of experience.

Since her awkward Letterman appearance, the Wine Country star has shined on talk shows, and seemingly has reflected back on the experience artistically. In her show, Loot, her character appears on the popular (real) spicy-wing talk show Hot Ones, where celebrities answer serious questions while eating impossibly spicy chicken wings. Her character, Molly, has a complete meltdown. The scene is hilarious, and may act as an homage to past talk show appearances gone wrong. 

Rudolph doesn’t have to “try to be funny” as she puts it. At least from the outside, she comes off as naturally hilarious, especially on Loot, which is currently streaming for Apple TV+ subscribers. She plays the ex-wife of a billionaire who is trying to create her own legacy post-divorce. In addition, Rudolph will be starring alongside Amy Adams in Disenchanted, a sequel to 2007’s Enchanted. The film will be available with a Disney+ subscription on November 18.

You can currently catch Maya Rudolph on Loot, or hosting a baking reality show, Baking It, which is streaming for Peacock subscribers. Amy Poehler is joining her for the upcoming season, so it should be a lot of fun, especially ahead of the holiday season. For more information on other shows coming to streaming, make sure to consult our 2022 fall TV premiere dates.  

Caroline Young

Writer, podcaster, CinemaBlend contributor, film and television nerd, enthusiastic person. Hoping to bring undying passion for storytelling to CinemaBlend.