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Maya Rudolph Remembers Being “Humiliated” By David Letterman

Maya Rudolph remembers that she "humiliated" in David Letterman interview

Maya Rudolf; David Letterman
Photo: Anna Webber; Theo Wargo (Getty Images)

The lifestyle of the rich and famous may be spoiled, but it nevertheless requires tough skin. Maya Rudolphwho became famous on Saturday Night Livelearned this lesson the hard way on her very first performance on The Late Show with David Letterman in 2009-two years after she left the famous sketch show.

“I didn’t have a good time,” she says WSJ. Magazine of her conversation with Letterman. “He said my name wrong, and I just sat there, I grew up in love with you all my life. And now my heart is broken. And I sit here ashamed and humiliated. I didn’t know how to deal with it. I didn’t know how to think of something funny to say. My public persona muscle wasn’t strong yet.” (A Letterman representative tells NBC News“We must respectfully decline comment.”)

Rudolph has gotten “much better” at navigating these press appearances by deviating with humor, but “It would always feel like someone is stealing my soul,” she admits. “That’s where I’ve created a persona over the years to protect myself.”

It took some effort to find that persona: “I remember saying to someone, ‘What am I to you? What is my brand?’ Because I don’t know what it is’, she looks back. “Do I have a brand? Like, what is it?”

It is not a “celebrity” in her opinion, even though she is technically famous. “I know I’m a working actor and people know who I am, but I don’t feel like a celebrity because that word means something different to me today,” she says. “There are a lot of different kinds of celebrities these days and a lot of self-made celebrities where people are famous because they’re famous, and that’s not what I do.” If there are many different types of celebs, surely Rudolph must qualify as one of them? She’s definitely way past the “talk show fluttering her name” level now.

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