By Spencer Blohm.
During Maya Rudolph’s seven year run on Saturday Night Live she went from an unknown talent to one of the major leading female comedians in Hollywood. Her comedic timing and uncanny ability to impersonate practically anyone quickly endeared her to SNL audiences and, no doubt, miffed a few accurately portrayed celebrities. Among those she convincingly skewered were Diana Ross, Christina Aguilera, Condoleezza Rice, Jennifer Lopez, LaToya Jackson, Maya Angelou, Lucy Liu, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Paris Hilton, Patti LaBelle, and Tina Turner. So, in honor of Maya’s birthday let’s look at her hilarious and wild tenure on SNL, remembering some of her best, and most missed characters.
Donatella Versace: From 2001 to 2007 Maya played the infamous Italian fashion designer Donatella Versace a whopping 13 times, making her Maya’s most frequently parodied character. As Donatella she chain smokes, guzzles champagne, and flies into wild fits of rage, all while surrounded by hunky male beefcakes. Perhaps the reason why this is one of her best characters is because Donatella Versace herself called her and gave her tips on how to play her!
Whitney Houston: Coming in a close second with number of appearances is Maya’s impersonation of Whitney Houston, played an astounding 12 times. During the majority her emergences, Ms. Houston crashes the Weekend Update and various hijinks ensue. She tends to share shocking and inappropriate anecdotes about her life -such as the time she lost bowel control when she caught husband Bobby Brown in a hot tub with other women, or the time she assaulted him with a bag of chicken nuggets, shouting, “Bobbbbbay!”
Nuni Schoener: Another popular character of Maya’s is the eccentric art dealer Nuni Schoener. The oddball Scandinavian art dealer has a passion for all things modern, along with her husband, also coincidentally named Nuni Schoener. With an impossible to place accent and strange assortment of outfits, Nuni is always on the forefront of what’s happening. Together with her husband, the avant-garde couple became SNL mainstays for years.
Jodi Dietz: As one half of the hosting team for Bronx Beat, Jodi Dietz ain’t messing around. With her brash demeanor and “don’t screw with me” attitude, her and co-host Betty Caruso (Amy Poehler) gossip, complain, and dish about life. In between smacks of gum, she drools over any attractive male guests featured on Bronx Beat. Jodi Dietz is the sassy, slightly tacky, stay at home mom we all know -but would never want to mess with.
Beyoncé: It’s not an easy task, playing the reigning queen of music, but Maya skillfully appeared as Beyoncé a total of 8 times! Maya’s Beyoncé would frequently arrive as a guest of Prince on “The Prince Show” skit, but during Maya’s final portrayal featured Beyoncé at home with her new daughter, Blue Ivy. Maya’s Beyoncé often appears in stage costumes, and is fond of breaking out in song mid-sentence. Maya’s over-the-top caricature of the pop diva is always spot on.
Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment, film, and television blogger for www.getdirecttv.org. He can still be found attempting to master Maya’s impersonation of Whitney Houston (Bobbbaaaay!). He lives, works, and plays in Chicago.
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