'00s "SNL" Star Says She Was "Humiliated" by David Letterman During Interview

"I didn’t know how to handle it," Maya Rudolph said of the experience.

Even though she was a veteran at performing on live TV once a week, Saturday Night Live star Maya Rudolph wasn't always comfortable with appearing on television in other contexts. By now, she's grown more experienced doing interviews, but the comedian recently admitted that she felt "humiliated" when she appeared on a 2009 episode of The Late Show with David Letterman. While she acknowledged that her nerves got to her, she also said that a mistake the host made in her introduction made the entire experience embarrassing. Read on to find out what happened.

READ THIS NEXT: Maya Rudolph Says This SNL Host Made the Cast Want to Leave.

Rudolph starred on SNL for seven years.

Maya Rudolph at the 2011 Creative Arts Emmys
s_bukley / Shutterstock

Rudolph joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 2000 and remained on the sketch comedy show until 2007. During her time on the series, she also appeared in movies including 50 First Dates, Idiocracy, and A Prairie Home Companion. After leaving SNL, Rudolph continued her film and TV career, and in 2009, she starred in the movie Away We Go, which she appeared in the Late Show to promote.

She felt "humiliated" on the talk show.

Maya Rudolph outside of the "Late Show with David Letterman" in 2009
Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage via Getty Images

In a new interview with WSJ Magazine, Rudolph said she "did not have a good time" during her 2009 interview with David Letterman.

"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," she explained. "I didn't know how to handle it. I didn't know how to come up with something funny to say. My public persona muscle wasn't strong yet."

Letterman apologized for the gaffe.

Maya Rudolph and David Letterman on the "Late Show" in 2009
CBS Television Studios

A video from Rudolph's Late Show appearance posted by The Daily Beast shows Letterman's introduction of the actor. After sharing the name of her new movie, the host seemingly calls her "Amaya Rudolph." At the end of their chat, Letterman says, "I'm sorry that I mispronounced your name. I'm just a boob. There's no excuse for it, and from the bottom of my heart I sincerely apologize." Rudolph responds," Thank you, Dave."

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Rudolph struggled with public appearances in her early career.

Maya Rudolph at the 2019 Oscars
Tinseltown / Shutterstock

In her interview with WSJ. Magazine, Rudolph said of interviews and red carpets, "It would always feel like someone was stealing my soul. That's where, over the years, I created a persona to protect myself." She added later, "I've definitely gotten much better. When I'm uncomfortable, I try to be funny."

The Bridesmaids star has opened up about this before. A 2015 interview with The Guardian notes that during her photoshoot, she did various impersonations for the crew.

"When you're doing something like a photoshoot, which is the epitome of self-consciousness, my go-to instinct is always humor. Because taking pictures is not what I do for a living," Rudolph said. She continued, "Nobody teaches you how to do this side of the job, the non-creative side. So I kind of mask it with humor."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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