18 Things to Know About Black Jewish Comedian Maya Rudolph

The SNL star's high school crush also grew up to become Jewish comedy royalty.

Is there anything more perfect in this terrible world than Black Jewish comedian Maya Rudolph saying the phrase “bubble bath”?

If you don’t know what we’re talking about, just listen:


In a podcast with Conan O’Brien, Rudolph talked about the incredible voice she created for her “Big Mouth” role: “I remember sort of doing it and I remember sort of being egged on to… can you find more? Can you actually find more? Because she’s meant to be a hormone monster, we were trying to make her voice a roller coaster. Just like a roller coaster of emotions. So it was sort of that low, high, low dipping stuff.”

In three syllables, Maya is able to find the sweet spot of a phrase that is both laugh-out-loud funny and weirdly comforting. It’s also proof of her inimitable comedic skill and ingenuity.

So while we could write an entire article on Maya Rudolph and bubble baths, we’ll give you 18 other things to know about Maya Rudolph instead.

1. She was born in 1972 to an African-American secular mother and an Ashkenazi Jewish father.

2. Maya’s mother is iconic singer-songwriter Minnie Riperton!

Minnie came up with the melody for “Lovin’ You,” arguably her most famous song, as a way to distract baby Maya so that she and her husband Richard could spend time together. Additionally, in the unedited version of the song, you can hear Minnie singing, “Maya, Maya, Maya” at the end.

Too sweet!

3. In an episode of “Finding Your Roots,” Maya shared that her Lithuanian great-grandfather changed his last name from “Rudashevsky” to “Rudolph” and was a founding member of Congregation Beth Shalom in Pittsburgh.

4. In that same episode, Maya went on to discover the lineage on her mother’s side. Specifically, she learned about her great-great grandfather, a man named James Grigsby, who was born into enslavement.

You can watch part of the episode here:

5. Her family was “committedly unreligious.”

6. While in school, Maya became friends with fellow Jewish comedian Jack Black!

“I always had a crush on [him],” Maya told Vulture in 2014. “He was like the theater god at my school. He was Pippin when we did ‘Pippin.’ I was just one of the chorus in a unitard.”

7. Black also took Maya to see the comedy troupe The Groundlings for the first time when she was 14. She would later become a member of the group!

8. Maya graduated from The Crossroads School in Los Angeles in 1990, and later graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in photography.

9. Maya was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 2000 to 2007.

And clearly, she loved the experience (read the cap):

However, Maya thought she didn’t get it after her first audition.

“I ended up, after that, thinking, I’ll never work there. That was the worst interview I’ve ever had. He must think I’m an idiot. He asked me why I thought I should be on the show and I said, ‘Because I like to wear wigs.’ It was so pathetic,” Maya told Vulture.

Maya, that’s a good enough reason for us!!

10. During her time on the show, she played some iconic characters and did hilarious impressions. Here are just a few of them!

One-time character Pamela Bell:

Jodi Dietz from Bronx Beat:

Donatella Versace:

Whitney Houston:

11. Maya has also hosted SNL twice — once in 2012 and a second time in 2021.

Both times Maya brought her A-game, doing this Maya Angelou impression in 2012:

And this Beyoncé impression in 2021:

12. She has even done cameos on the show, like with her impression of now-Vice President Kamala Harris:

13. Maya’s partner is “Licorice Pizza” director Paul Thomas Anderson. They have four kids together: Pearl, Lucille, Jack and Minnie.

14. She’s also best friends with Jewish actress Natasha Lyonne! They even have a production company together, Animal Pictures.

Watch this video about how they instantly became friends:


15. Maya played a slew of other iconic characters on TV and film, including: Connie the Hormone Monstress on “Big Mouth,” Lillian in “Bridesmaids” and Judge Gen in “The Good Place.”

You can watch some of her most hilarious moments here:

And a clip from “Bridesmaids,” just for good measure:

16. Maya is the proud winner of four Emmy awards! Two are in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series category for appearances on SNL and two are for her role on “Big Mouth.”

Mazel tov, Maya!

17. Maya’s latest project is the Apple TV+ show “Loot,” which she stars in and executive produces! It was just picked up for another season.

You can watch the trailer here:

18. She’s also set to star in “Disenchanted,” the sequel to Disney’s 2007 film “Enchanted.”

You can watch her talk about doing drag for the role:

Love you, Maya!!

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

Read More