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Maya Rudolph says David Letterman 'humiliated' her on his show

“He said my name wrong, and I just sat there, like, I grew up my whole life in love with you,” she told WSJ Magazine.
Maya Rudolph Visits "Late Show With David Letterman"
Maya Rudolph visits the "Late Show With David Letterman" on May 12, 2009. Ray Tamarra / Getty Images file
/ Source: TODAY

Maya Rudolph recently reflected on her first appearance on "The Late Show" with David Letterman in 2009. 

During an interview with WSJ Magazine on Friday, Rudolph did not look back on the moment in her career fondly. In fact, she told the outlet outright, “I did not have a good time.”

“He said my name wrong, and I just sat there, like, I grew up my whole life in love with you,” she added. “And now my heart is broken. And I’m sitting here embarrassed and humiliated. I didn’t know how to handle it. I didn’t know how to come up with something funny to say. My public persona muscle wasn’t strong yet.”

However, she acknowledged that in the 13 years since the incident, she’s “gotten much better,” adding, “When I’m uncomfortable, I try to be funny.”

Letterman’s representative said, “We must respectfully decline comment.” 

In a clip from the 2009 appearance, Letterman appears to pronounce her name with an "a" at the beginning. He later apologized during the appearance for flubbing her name.

Rudolph, perhaps best known for her seven seasons and subsequent guest appearances on “Saturday Night Live,” spoke to the outlet at the top of the interview about how she struggled with all of the public-facing aspects early in her career, all of which stunted her comedy.

“It would always feel like someone was stealing my soul,” she said. “That’s where, over the years, I created a persona to protect myself.”

Later on in the interview, she reflected on how sketch comedy had eventually become tiring for her.

“Believe me, I am not a Pollyanna who’s like, I smile all day, every day,” she explained. “I get stressed out, I get pissed off, but I learned I could make a choice for myself, and it’s liberating. Maybe people who’ve worked as long as I have make other choices and have nicer cars. I don’t know, but it’s so important for me to [try to] have that balance.”