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Maya Rudolph is reflecting on a phase in her career when she didn’t yet feel confident about speaking up for herself.
During an interview with WSJ. Magazine that published online Friday, the star of Apple TV+’s Loot recalled her first visit to CBS’ The Late Show in 2009. Rudolph explained that she felt uncomfortable during the interview after host David Letterman mispronounced her name.
“I did not have a good time,” she told the publication. “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.”
She continued, “I didn’t know how to come up with something funny to say. My public persona muscle wasn’t strong yet.”
Rudolph, who made her Saturday Night Live debut in 2000, said that she has since gotten better at finding humor in challenging moments. “I’ve definitely gotten much better,” she said. “When I’m uncomfortable, I try to be funny.”
Letterman apologized to Rudolph later in the episode for his unintentional gaffe. “I’m sorry that I mispronounced your name,” he said. “I’m just a boob, there’s no excuse for it, and from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely apologize.”
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to a representative for Letterman for additional comment.
The Emmy-winning Rudolph, who can be seen next month in Disenchanted opposite Amy Adams, told THR in a June cover story that she values keeping up a wall between her public and private personas. “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.”
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