Maya Rudolph Reveals What Soured Her First Letterman Show

Ex-'SNL' comic says host mispronounced her name: 'I did not have a good time'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2022 9:25 AM CDT
Maya Rudolph's First Letterman Show: 'I Did Not Have a Good Time'
Maya Rudolph arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of "Crush" on April 27 at NeueHouse Hollywood.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Making a guest appearance on a popular late-night TV show is usually a young comedian or actor's dream. For Saturday Night Live alum Maya Rudolph, however, her first turn on David Letterman's program in the late aughts was anything but. "I did not have a good time," Rudolph, 50, tells WSJ Magazine of her 2009 appearance, in which the talk show host mispronounced Rudolph's name, making her feel ... not great. "I just sat there, like, I grew up my whole life in love with you," Rudolph says. "And now my heart is broken. And I'm sitting here embarrassed and humiliated." She says she didn't know what to do in the moment, as "my public persona muscle wasn't strong yet."

In other words, "I didn't know how to come up with something funny to say." The Hollywood Reporter notes that, later in the same episode, Letterman offered his apologies. "I'm sorry that I mispronounced your name," he told Rudolph. "I'm just a boob, there's no excuse for it, and from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely apologize." Rudolph tells WSJ Magazine that a lot has changed over the past dozen or so years since, and that "I've definitely gotten much better" at dealing with awkward situations. Now, "when I'm uncomfortable, I try to be funny." As for Letterman's thoughts on the matter today, one of his reps tells NBC News, "We must respectfully decline comment." (More Maya Rudolph stories.)

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