A Look At Maya Rudolph, Master of Impressions

Rudolph can move up and down the scales of race, age and gender with no problems.

maya rudolph
"The Burrito" Episode 212 -- Pictured: Maya Rudolph as Judge -- (Colleen Hayes/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Maya Rudolph’s comedy is so rooted in elasticized facial expressions and off-kilter impressions that any attempt to recreate her hilarity would fall flat. This is why it is sometimes hard to put a finger on exactly when Maya Rudolph became a person Americans love to love, writes The New York Times Magazine. She was well-liked on Saturday Night Live, when she showed her ability to impersonate musical divas across time and race. Fans also liked her in the 2011 film Bridesmaids, when she turned the part of the ostensible straight-woman into a character that The Times calls “at once heartfelt and grotesque.”

But at some point, viewers began to be as excited to see Rudolph as they were about getting a three-day weekend. She steals scenes in movies, even if she is there for just a few seconds.

“It’s kind of like everybody has a song,” said actress Amy Poehler, one of Rudolph’s friends, to The Times, “and I think Maya’s song is like a really good popular song that will stand the test of time.”

Rudolph has been working for nearly 20 years, but she seems to be entering a platinum era. She just wrapped filming a 2019 Netflix movie directed by Poehler called Wine Country, she’s up for an Emmy for playing God in The Good Place, and she’s starring in Forever, a new series by Amazon.

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