'Bridesmaids' star Maya Rudolph returns to small screen

theGRIO Q&A - theGrio caught up with versatile comedienne to discuss her breakout summer success, its possible sequel and her return to the small screen...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

The daughter of legendary singer Minnie Riperton, who was actually in the studio when her mom recorded her classic “Lovin’ You”, Maya Rudolph is most well-known for her witty and side-splitting impressions on the iconic Saturday Night Live.

Earlier this year, she also starred in the summer blockbuster Bridesmaids. This fall, the mother of three returns to television as Ava, the childless boss of Reagan (Christina Applegate), who is adjusting to balancing work, parenting and her husband Chris (Will Arnett) on the new comedy Up All Night, executive produced by SNL’s Lorne Michaels and airing Wednesday nights on NBC at 10pm EST/9pm CST. theGrio caught up with versatile comedienne to discuss her breakout summer hit, its possible sequel and her return to the small screen.

For you, how is starring in Up All Night different from SNL?

It’s a different animal. This is really absolutely kind of a first for me because SNL is a new show every week and there’s generally new material every week. It’s a totally different animal. I am really starting from scratch here, which is exciting. At least I’m a little of a TV veteran in that I’ve done TV before but a variety show is totally different. We write new material each week. We perform new stuff. Creating a character that’s going to go on, I think is exciting

So how do you get used to playing Ava, one character all the time, when you’ve been so used to being so many different people on any given night?

I don’t know. It’s kind of refreshing to know what you’re going to be doing. I like the variety as well but it’s nice to have a character that you can slip into and you know where you’re going. I think what’s exciting about it is that more and more can come out of it. It ends up becoming something you can really explore and that you can do a lot with.

With having a hit film in Bridesmaids and making this TV series move with Up All Night, how do feel about being a part of the “comedy power girl movement”?

The “comedy power girl movement”? It sounds like a team of superheroes. The” comedy power girl movement.”

SNL has always been such a great launching pad for the guys and we’ve had one or two women in the past really excel but, now, with you, Amy [Poehler] and Tina [Fey], it’s like a whole group of you.

Yeah I keep hearing that. You never see it that way when you’re a part of it I guess. It’s certainly nice when people regard you as part of something positive but I don’t pay too much attention because the same people that say that are fickle too and they say the other stuff too like ‘why aren’t there enough women in blah, blah?’ I never set out to do this, to become a part of a comedy super girl thing, but I’m certainly grateful that it’s all pointing in my favor because this is what I like to do.

As a kid, did you know you were funny?

I did. It was kind of no question. It’s always been that kind of way for me. When I grew up I don’t think I was too far from the idea of a performer because I watched my mom performing on a stage and I think I knew what that was at a young age. In terms of comedy, I don’t know where it came from. It was something I was always doing. It’s a place where I feel really comfortable. It’s just always been there.
Even though your character Ava doesn’t quite relate to being a parent, as a parent yourself, do you relate?

I definitely relate to pretty much everything that Will [Arnett] and Christina [Applegate]’s characters go through. I’m not a first-time parent. I’m a third-time parent but it kind of never gets old. When I was a first-time parent, I did go to back to work at a high-pressured job. I went back to SNL when [my daughter] Pearl was four and a half months old and, even then, it was really hard.

But, meanwhile, my newest, he’s like ten weeks old, and I was pretty much at work out of the hospital and it was nuts but you kind of just have to be up and ready for action when you have two other kids. I was ready. I was prepared. I’m like a ninja. You become a ninja when you become a parent of multiple children. You’re just like “I don’t need any sleep. I’m good.”

What was your favorite character to play on SNL?

I never had a favorite to play. I think you always remember the stuff at the end because, as you get older, your memory slips. When I left, I was doing Whitney Houston. She was fun to do on the Update desk…. I like to play Oprah just because people love Oprah. When you play Oprah, people just love you. You can scream out anything and people get excited. Like you can scream “toothpaste” and people go nuts.

Were you surprised by how well Bridesmaids was received?

Yeah I was pleasantly surprised. Not because I didn’t believe in the movie. I knew it was a great movie but I’ve never personally been a part of anything that was received so well. No one intended it to be a blockbuster — for me, it was in my comfort zone. I find it to be my sense of humor and it was really cool to see it expand to all different kinds of people. And I’m talking young and old, male and female. It was really amazing.

There are rumors that there’s going to be a sequel. Can you speak on that at all?

Well I guess it just shows you how valid rumors are. I haven’t heard anything about there being a sequel but I have heard a lot about the rumors about there being a sequel.

Would you like to do more of that kind of film?

Oh yeah. It would be a blast. There’s no question that this whole group of people would love to work together again. We would have the best time, but you also have to wonder if something’s so great do you leave it there?

When you started out, did you expect to be here and are you pleased with where you are?

I am very pleased and I actually always expected to be here. That sounds terribly cocky doesn’t it? In the most positive and healthy sense, I think my parents instilled this idea in me that I could do what I wanted to do. So, in that sense, I do feel like, in a very healthy way, I expected this. I didn’t know I would have three kids on top of it but that’s what I wanted. I can’t complain. I’m very lucky. But I also feel like I’m doing what I should be doing and that makes me feel really proud.