Maya Rudolph replicates her mom’s 1970’s album covers

When you think about it, everyone is a nepo baby in some way, including “Saturday Night Live” star Maya Rudolph. However, as she discussed in an episode of Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast that aired Monday, it doesn’t really matter if you’re not entering the same field as your successful parents.

Rudolph, 51, is the daughter of accomplished songwriters and musicians Richard Rudolph and the late Minnie Riperton, famously known for the hit single “Lovin’ You.”

“They were musicians,” she explained, noting that despite her parents’ success, she didn’t receive a direct advantage in her career. “They weren’t actors.”

“My goal was to move to New York and be on Saturday Night Live,” Maya Rudolph said, acknowledging the enormity of her ambition. “It wasn’t like, ‘Oh, my dad writes songs, that’s going to make me a comedian.’ There was no direct connection. I knew I had to make it on my own.”

Minnie Riperton was best known for her 1975 hit “Lovin’ You” that featured her five octave range and use of the whistle register.
The song was said to have been originally written as a lullaby to one-year-old Maya and her brother Marc. At the end of the LP version you can hear Minnie singing “Maya Maya”.

Rudolph was only six years old when her mother, Minnie Riperton, died of breast cancer in 1979 at the age of 31. “So when I started on SNL, people didn’t initially know she was my mom, and they figured it out later,” Rudolph shared. “As a kid who lost their mom, you don’t want people to know that.”

“I’ll never get over how young she was,” she added somberly.

Rudolph’s early career included a stint with the renowned improv group The Groundlings, which eventually led to her seven-year tenure on Saturday Night Live from 2000 to 2007. She starred in films like “Bridesmaids” and is currently leading the show “Loot,” with its second season premiering in May on Apple TV+.

Where Rudolph’s connections do prove beneficial is in her work environment, surrounded by excellent coworkers. She enjoys collaborations with long-time friends like Melissa McCarthy and Nat Faxon, as well as SNL alumni like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, describing her work as “playing” and a “group sport” with trusted teammates.

“As much as I want to feel good, I want to feel safe,” she expressed. “I think I got better at it after I had my oldest daughter, Pearl. I remember how hard it was working away from home when I had a baby and how painful that was. It taught me to ensure I’m happy with what I’m doing when I’m away from home because it has to be worth it.” She acknowledges that achieving this balance is a goal, not always easily met, but vital. “Plus, we have the luxury of knowing so many incredibly funny people,” she concluded.

Maya Rudolph continued her subtle tradition of honoring her late mother during her appearance on “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend.

In an episode filled with sketches celebrating Mother’s Day, Rudolph took the opportunity during one of the show’s commercial bumpers to recreate a photograph of her mother, soul singer Minnie Riperton.

Rudolph has consistently paid tribute to her mother, who died in 1979 when Rudolph was just six years old, during each of her hosting stints on SNL. In her first hosting appearance in 2012, Rudolph emulated the cover of Riperton’s “Perfect Angel” album, posing in overalls and holding a dripping ice cream cone.

In her 2021 episode, Rudolph appeared against a backdrop haloed with flowers, mirroring the cover art of Riperton’s third album, “Adventures in Paradise.” Her most recent bumper continues this theme, once again featuring Rudolph crowned with flowers, echoing another image from that album’s artwork.


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