Art & Entertainment

Drawn To Characters That Are A Combination Of Reality And Ridiculousness, Says Maya Rudolph

Actor Maya Rudolph, known for her spot-on celebrity impressions and her ability to find humour in everyday situations, says she is attracted to stories that let her explore relatable but ridiculous characters.
Maya Rudolph Photo:

Actor Maya Rudolph, known for her spot-on celebrity impressions and her ability to find humour in everyday situations, says she is attracted to stories that let her explore relatable but ridiculous characters.

Rudolph brings a unique charm to her comedy whether it is through her stints in "Saturday Night Live!" or films such as "Bridesmaids" and "The Grown Ups".

"I think I'm always drawn to a combination of the reality of a character and the ridiculousness of a character. I can't live without either, so I like the combination, the sort of cocktail of the two. Maybe because it's easier to not commit to either. I don't know but I think there's a humanity in that balance.

"It's sort of like the idea of why we relate to things. You're watching a stand-up talk about something really painful but you can laugh," the actor told PTI in an interview.

That was one of the reasons for her to star and executive produce Apple TV+ series "Loot", whose second season is currently streaming. In the show, Rudolph plays Molly Wells, a recently separated billionaire who finds purpose in philanthropy.

The 51-year-old actor said she can relate to her character's desire to start afresh but her approach is less radical. At the end of the first season, her character pledges to give away all her wealth.

"It is something we can all relate to. I mean, I noticed that every January 1st, I have the desire to get healthy. I think especially in a time of very big change, there is something very self loving that comes with that idea of recognizing that you need to take care of yourself. So, I can relate to that, absolutely. Maybe not Molly's version, but my own version for sure," she said.

Season two, which is currently streaming on Apple TV+, sees Molly settling her very public divorce from tech billionaire John Novak (Adam Scott), and now thriving in her role as the head of her philanthropic organization, the Wells Foundation.

Focused mainly on her charity work, Molly has sworn off any new relationships with men and embarks on a wellness journey, while striving to keep up with her pledge.

Rudolph described Molly as someone with "good intentions" but "they don't always play out in the way that she initially thought of".

"There is an element that she is discovering about herself where she still wants to have a little bit of fun, while she's doing good. And that's the fun that we always lean into on the show, I really enjoy the delusional elements, combined with really being aware. I think it's a nice combination," she added.

The actor said Molly is not necessarily a bad person, but just "out of touch".

"Molly is fun to play because she is really putting it all out there and very different from myself. The mistakes that she makes, it's not necessarily that she's a bad person. It is just out of touch sometimes, which allows the larger personality to emerge.

"I've also enjoyed leveling her out and bringing her back down to Earth and seeing her play with the rest of the cast, and those characters and, and how she is learning from them as well as bringing something of herself that she didn't expect," she said.

What was nice to witness was the emergence of "adult relationships" between different characters in the show, the actor added.

"I think you can be a more authentic version of yourself when you're not a kid in school. And sometimes we find parts of ourselves that we didn't know that we had in these relationships with each other. So I like exploring that with Molly," Rudolph said.

The actor also believes that comedy acquires more meaning in a world that is full of strife.

"I've noticed it so much more recently that people have been thanking us for making them laugh because things don't feel great and it's been hard or what the world is going through. And I noticed it so much more than at earlier times in my life," she said.

"It's something I rarely think about until you're actually having a conversation with someone and you're like, 'Wow, I never think about comedy in that way.' But I'm glad that it is helpful for people. I just like being goofy, and funny is fun, but I also understand why we all desire it. It can be soothing, too."

Also starring Michaela Jae Rodriguez, Nat Faxon, Ron Funches and Joel Kim Booster, "Loot" is created, written and executive produced by Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard. The show is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group.