Saturday Night Live 2000 rewind: Maya Rudolph

Maya Rudolph (Photo by Munawar Hosain/Fotos International/Getty Images)
Maya Rudolph (Photo by Munawar Hosain/Fotos International/Getty Images) /

Revisit Saturday Night Live and Maya Rudolph in the year 2000

Any list of the best Saturday Night Live cast members from the past 20 years that doesn’t include Maya Rudolph can’t be considered complete. Rudolph’s road to that distinction took a major step forward in her second season, season 26, in the year 2000.

After debuting the previous season, Rudolph remained a featured player along with Rachel Dratch in season 26. Saturday Night Live added Jerry Minor as a featured player and also added head writer Tina Fey to that category to coincide with her “Weekend Update” anchor duties. Cheri Oteri, Tim Meadows, and Colin Quinn left, leaving the door open for more opportunities for Rudolph.

Rudolph’s ability to do just about any accent or voice made her a valuable asset throughout season 26. Add in her ever-growing list of impressions and It was clear early on that she would have a long, productive career at Saturday Night Live.

In addition to Oprah, Beyonce, Condoleezza Rice, Donatella Versace, and Tina Turner were among Rudolph’s celebrity impressions. Recurring characters included Jodi Deitz on “Bronx Beat,” Megan on “Wake Up, Wakefield!,” and Britanica of Gemini’s Twin.

Rudolph’s musical talents were always put to good use during her SNL career. Whether it was impersonating an artist or singing herself, Rudolph had a skill set few others could match among the cast.

The next season would see Rudolph bumped up to repertory player status along with Dratch. Season 27 was also the first for Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers, two cast members who would become frequent collaborators with Rudolph during their time together at SNL.

Where is Maya Rudolph 20 years later?

Maya Rudolph left Saturday Night Live in 2007 prior to the writers’ strike. Following SNL, Rudolph’s movie career took off with roles in films like Away We GoGrown Ups, and Bridesmaids.

On the television side, Rudolph led the sitcom Up All Night that aired from 2011-2012. She’s also made guest appearances on countless hit shows like Brooklyn Nine-NineThe Good Place, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Despite that success, Rudolph has never gone too long without a return to Saturday Night Live. Starting in 2008, she made a handful of cameos usually in support of friends Amy Poehler and Tina Fey while they hosted.

Rudolph got her own chance to host in season 37. And most recently, her cameos as Senator Kamala Harris during season 45 earned her an Emmy nomination.

There is a chance that Joe Biden taps Senator Harris to be his running mate. If that happens, Saturday Night Live fans could be seeing a lot more of Maya Rudolph. And even if vice president isn’t in the cards for Sen. Harris, Rudolph has the talent and popularity to continue popping up in Studio 8H for a very long time.

Related Story. Saturday Night Live season 45's five best cameos. light

What are your early memories of Maya Rudolph on Saturday Night Live? Where does she rank among the best cast members since 2000? Share your thoughts in the comment section. All month, Last Night On will be looking back at season 26 of SNL and the cast so stay tuned.