LimeLife Original Interview: Maya Rudolph On 'SNL' And Her New Show, 'Up All Night'
Rudolph: Becoming a Mom Again is Like Getting Really Good at Angry Birds
Maya Rudolph is a marvel of many talents. The former Saturday Night Live impersonator can play the diva (Whitney Houston), the politician (Condoleeza Rice) or the plain insane (Omarosa). Yet for her latest role on the new show Up All Night with Christina Applegate Rudolph says she's not channeling anyone.
On the new NBC show, Rudolph, who gave birth to her third child with director Paul Thomas Anderson in July, plays Eva, the "ambitious yet vulnerable" talk show host demanding time from new-mom Reagan (Applegate).
While the character sounds like a perfect SNL parody, Rudolph says she's not based on someone specific.
"Ive never met anyone like her," she told us in an interview alongside Up All Night creator Emily Spivey. "She's a Spivy/Rudolph character. She's got a lot of that presence that a daytime talk show has ... somebody who's commanding."
"She's an amalgam of people we've met, but also of our universe of characters," added Spivey, who has been creating characters with Rudolph for 15 years now.
For Rudolph, who spent eight years as a staple on Saturday Night Live before starring in films like Bridesmaids, the move from sketch comedy to a longer comedy series represents the opportunity to really dive into creating a character.
Read: Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph 'SNL' Duet with Babies [WATCH]
"It's more challenging to give a character life and longevity," she said. "When you're doing sketch comedy, you may only do a character once. So it becomes more difficult to find new and fresh things for the character to do. But it's kind of a luxury to have a character that you can start from scratch on."
"As you see in shows [like Up All Night], once they build momentum to the second and third season, you get to see their entire lives open up -- their families, their households, their pets -- whatever it is that you don't have time for in just half an hour."
Of course, the new show doesn't come without its challenges.
"SNL is a live variety show, which isnt comparable to anything else. The first film I did after leaving SNL was Away We Go, and I remember feeling like, 'Wow, this is really slow.' Having done SNL for so long, and having it be such a part of my life, [film] felt so slow. You're used to having laughs and playing to an audience. Also the exhiliration of performing live. It's something that feels like home for me, and I feel like I need a fix every once in a while."
She added, "It's a legal drug, because im totally addicted to it. And Lorne [Michaels, creator of SNL] knows it, that's why he always calls me, like, 'we need an Obama.'"
In Up All Night, Rudolph co-stars with Applegate and (Amy Poehler's husband) Will Arnett, who are trying to juggle careers with being new parents. Both Spivey and Rudolph can relate.
"It was definitely straight out of my baby journal, after my son was born," Spivey said. "Facing having to go back to SNL after having a baby, and just the funny challenges that came from that."
"I definitely recognize what Christina and Will's characters are going through," added Rudolph. "So much so that it's kind of embarrasing. Except I'm a third-time parent, which is actually like getting to a higher level on Angry Birds. I'm a little bit of a pro now. The stuff that I use to fear and worry about is so different now. Like the first time i brought the baby from the hospital I sat with my finger under her nose to see if she was breathing, and asked my husband to drive like three miles an hour.
"But by the third child we didnt even have a car seat anymore, and when we finally got one we didn't even install it properly because we were just running out of the hospital. We just wanted to get home. I even ended up just driving myself."
So, make like Maya and drive yourself to the second episode of Up All Night when it airs this Wednesday at 8/7 c on NBC. In the meantime, check out the FULL pilot episode below.