10 Best Maya Rudolph Roles
Known for her tenure on Saturday Night Live throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, Maya Rudolph is one of the most memorable and impressive performers in the show’s history. Often seen accompanying Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, or Will Ferrell in countless iconic sketches, Rudolph really came into her own and was given the chance to show her power as a solo performer once she left the show. Since then, the actress has managed to impress audiences and critics alike across both comedic and dramatic roles. Rudolph still teams up with those same actors that helped her make a name for herself from time to time — the 2015 film Sisters, in particular, saw her reuniting with Poehler and Fey memorably — but the actress doesn’t need to rely on them in order to make a lasting impact these days. Rudolph continues to be one of the funniest and most impressive actresses currently working.
The Good Place
NBC’s funniest comedy in years, The Good Place comes from The Office and Parks and Recreation writer Michael Schur and follows a group of people as they struggle to determine the differences between good and bad in the afterlife. While not a main cast member, Maya Rudolph frequently appears as a Judge. Sitcoms often benefit from ensemble casts, and Rudolph contributes to that often.
Another ensemble comedy, Big Mouth is an animated comedy about puberty that debuted on Netflix in 2017. Coming from the minds of comedian Nick Kroll and writer Andrew Goldberg, it’s no surprise that the show is both vulgar and heartfelt. Rudolph plays all kinds of different characters across the show’s multiple seasons, but the most memorable remain Diane Birch and a Hormone Monstress, the latter being one of the key components of the cartoon.
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Big Hero 6
Disney’s first animated Marvel movie, Big Hero 6 tracks the special bond between a huge inflatable robot and his owner Hiro Hamada as they team up with a group of friends to take on their city’s greatest threats. Maya Rudolph plays Cass alongside Alan Tudyk, Scott Adsit, Jamie Chung, and Damon Wayans Jr. While Disney is yet to venture back into the animated world of Marvel, Big Hero 6 should be enough to hold audiences over.
The Way Way Back
A dramatic comedy from the writers behind The Descendants and the NBC comedy Community, The Way Way Back stars Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, AnnaSophia Robb, Sam Rockwell, and, of course, Maya Rudolph. The cast is obviously strong, but the story is impactful and meaningful, too. Rudolph shows up frequently and provides plenty of laughs in a film that can often be pretty heavy.
After making a big splash with his Netflix comedy Master of None, writer Alan Yang went on to create the show Forever for Amazon Studios. Starring Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph with Catherine Keener in a supporting role, the show tracks a couple as they find themselves facing otherworldly events amongst their otherwise mundane married life. It’s exactly the kind of role Rudolph was born to play.
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Away We Go
Starring alongside John Krasinski, Away We Go is a one-of-a-kind romantic comedy from writer Dave Eggers and director Sam Mendes. Much different than the James Bond film he’d direct a few years later, the movie sees a pregnant couple traveling the country trying to find the perfect place to raise the baby. Rudolph and Krasinski might encounter plenty of great performers on their journey, but none of the performances compare to hers.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
The most recent film from SNL trio The Lonely Island, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a sharp and hilarious satire of the American music industry and the outrageous performers that come from it. Mainly ripping on the behavior of Justin Bieber, the film also touches on boy bands of the past like the Backstreet Boys and N*Sync. Rudolph plays Deborah, a close collaborator to Andy Samberg’s titular pop star Conner.
From Paul Thomas Anderson and based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice is perhaps the greatest example of the notion that no novel is unfilmable — some just need the right filmmaker. Pynchon’s style is tough for many, but Anderson treats it perfectly — the film is spot-on, to say the least. Maya Rudolph is just part of the movie’s awesome cast, with Joaquin Phoenix and Josh Brolin leading the project into greatness.
Costarring alongside Luke Wilson and Terry Crews, Idiocracy is one of the best comedies of the 2000s and one of many examples of Mike Judge’s incredible ability to predict the future. Leaping decades into the future, the movie presents a society where smart people stopped having kids and stupid people have taken over. Once an average man and woman, Wilson and Rudolph are awoken from a top-secret hibernation program to find themselves the smartest people in the world.
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The sequel to the first LEGO Movie but technically the fourth LEGO Movie since 2014, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part sees Rudolph playing a similar role to Will Ferrell’s in the first film. She gets plenty of screen time, giving the actress all kinds of chances to deliver really funny and memorable one-liners.
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