Maya Rudolph Recalls Being ‘Embarrassed & Humiliated’ During David Letterman Interview
A 2009 sit-down on David Letterman’s Late Show was anything but a laugh for Maya Rudolph. The Loot star said she was “embarrassed and humiliated” after Letterman, Stephen Colbert’s predecessor in CBS’ late-night franchise, mispronounced her name.
“I did not have a good time,” Rudolph recalled in a WSJ. Magazine interview posted online on Friday, October 28. “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.”
Looking back, the former Saturday Night Live player observed that she often found it difficult to be funny during talk shows, interviews, and red-carpet appearances earlier in her career. “It would always feel like someone was stealing my soul,” she said. “That’s where, over the years, I created a persona to protect myself.”
At the time of the Letterman interview, Rudolph’s “public persona muscle wasn’t strong yet,” she added. “I’ve definitely gotten much better. When I’m uncomfortable, I try to be funny.”
As seen in a clip from the interview posted by The Daily Beast, Letterman apologized to Rudolph later in the Late Show episode. “I’m sorry that I mispronounced your name,” the host said. “I’m just a boob, there’s no excuse for it, and from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely apologize.”
Rudolph, 50, also discussed her public persona in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter this June, describing her characters as an armor of a sort. “I think the armor has done me some good because I don’t want to be a person who has nothing left for myself,” she said at the time. “I enjoy the armor.”
In addition to her ongoing roles on the Apple TV+ comedy Loot and the Netflix animated comedies Big Mouth and Human Resources, Rudolph will next be seen in the Disney+ fantasy film Disenchanted and alongside fellow SNL vet Amy Poehler in Season 2 of the Peacock competition Baking It.