Maya Rudolph on her 'SNL' greatest hits!

Maya-rudolph_l Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down to lunch with Maya Rudolph for an EW feature about her surprisingly dramatic role in the new film Away We Go. And like many comedians, she was much more low-key than the often riotous characters she played on Saturday Night Live. But she was more than happy to give me a few behind-the-scenes tidbits about some of her best-loved SNL characters.

Whitney Houston Her fake Geico commercial opposite Andy Samberg is perhaps the funniest thing I've ever seen on SNL. "All I was trying to do was make Andy laugh," she says. "You could see him just barely holding on at the end. But my goal was to get him to break."

Oprah Winfrey Remember the genius skit where the audience member's head exploded? "When I did Oprah, I picked up on her talking [in sing-song voice] like thii-iiisss. I felt like it conveyed the feeling of Oprah to me. It made me laugh. And now I swear she does it more!"

Donatella Versace "That was so fun to do because we didn't make her a real person, so any scenario worked. She could sit in a bathtub with a hairdryer because she loved the feeling of electrocution. She broke things over her head, walked through walls, burned herself. And she was into it. She thought it was fantastic."

Jodi Dietz Rudolph channeled a New York City housewife on the talk show Bronx Beat. "I still find myself slipping into Bronx Beat. She's our real friend, Jodi Mancuso, who works at the show in the hair department. She loves it. She'd give us ideas: 'You should tawk about prime rib. You should tawk about cutsa meat.' I love that woman."

Pamela Bell Rudolph's over-the-top National Anthem singer is one for the ages. "I was making fun of this new style of singing that people seem to do, where not only do they lay it on thick, they have, like, 20 different voices in the same song, which I find so incredibly strange. I actually got the idea from American Idol, one of those montages of people singing the same song. Everyone was singing 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game.' And there was this girl who was supposed to sing 'Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks,' and she said, 'Buy me some ee-nuts and Apple Jacks.'"

addCredit("Everett Collection (3)")

Comments (16 total) Add your comment
  • Stephanie T.

    One of my personal favorites was when she appeared in the Sofa King sketch. She looked straight into the camera with this face that said “I cannot believe that we are getting away with this on television”. Priceless.

  • Paula

    I do not think she is funny at all, but I did find interesting that she is the daughter of 70s singer, beloved Minnie Riperton who had the famous whistle register. Her mother was quite gifted.

    • penny pigtails

      You’re an idiot !

  • hanna

    My fav Maya sketch is the one where she plays “herself” on a romantic dinner date with Shia LaBeouf. I laughed so hard after Shia asked what she cooked for him, and her reply? “Baked cereal”. Perfect.

    • ROSE


  • Jen

    I love her Donatella Versace. Cracks me up every time.

  • summer

    i miss maya on snl! she should come back and do michelle obama again.

  • Amyelissa

    Does anyone know where you can see clips of Maya’s Donatella Versace skits?? I have searched YouTube and Hulu and can’t find them.

    • KUBS


  • RayT

    “I passed Bobby Brown the other day, and I threw a bag of chicken McNuggets at his head!” The best part about Maya is that, with this impression, I can actually picture Whitney doing this to Bobby in real life.

  • Crystal

    Hadn’t seen that Geico ad – pretty hilarious. Donnatella always made me laugh. Hard.

  • Martha

    My favorite is the national anthem – such a great parody of all the hoo-ha singers do these days! “Gave proof…through the…buh-night…” Awesome.

  • Anna

    That Whitney Houston impression was terrible. She didn’t even come close to getting the speaking voice right, which is necessary for doing a proper Whitney impression.

    • penny pigtails

      ARE YOU CRAZY ??!!

  • tuppy

    OMG NBC must post Pamela Bell on Hulu!

  • Maya Rudolph hosts tonight’s ‘Saturday Night Live’: Talk about it here! | Vogue Entertainment Group

    […] going to be awfully sweet to hear Don Pardo’s voice call Maya Rudolph‘s name once again. Tonight the Saturday Night Live vet is returning to Studio 8H to host the show […]

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