Maya Rudolph Says Why Having Famous Parents Wasn't A 'Direct Line' To Her Career

Maya Rudolph is making it clear that she had to forge her own career path, despite having famous parents.

During an appearance on podcast “Armchair Expert” co-hosted by Dax Shepard and Monica Padman, Rudolph discussed how her upbringing played — and didn’t play — a role in her successful comedy and acting career.

The “Saturday Night Live” alum said that she moved to New York City with hopes that she’d get cast on the sketch comedy series. She said she created her own path to pursue comedy, which she said was a “huge undertaking.”

“I wasn’t like, ‘Oh my dad writes songs, that’s going to make me a comedian,’” she said. “There was no direct line, I knew I had to get there myself.”

Rudolph is the daughter of the late singing icon Minnie Riperton and Richard Rudolph, a musician and songwriter. Riperton died from cancer in 1979 at the age of 31.

The “Bridesmaids” star acknowledged that while she pursued a different career path than her parents’, growing up with famous musicians did help shape the way she approaches things.

When Shepard said that he believes the comedian has a “take it or leave it” confidence when it comes to working in the acting industry, Maya Rudolph credited her parents for that trait.

“I’m sure it has something to do with my parents, growing up in a ... musical household,” she said, adding that her home environment felt “very relaxed.”

“There was something about that that was pretty fucking cool, but also really normal,” she added.

Maya Rudolph photographed at the 2024 Time100 Gala on April 25 in New York City.
Maya Rudolph photographed at the 2024 Time100 Gala on April 25 in New York City. Taylor Hill via Getty Images

Rudolph’s remarks about her upbringing come as conversations and debates surrounding the term “nepotism babies,” often shortened to “nepo babies,” has remained a popular topic online.

New York Magazine published a much talked-about cover story in 2022 that dug into the world of Hollywood nepotism. The term describes children of actors, singers and other celebrities who benefit from their parents’ fame or connections.

Elsewhere in the interview, Rudolph, 51, discussed how difficult it was losing her mother as a young child.

She said there was a period in her life when it felt “painful” when people would sing her late mother’s music around her.

“After I started having my kids, I think I looked back and went like, ‘Oh I don’t feel the pain in the same way,’” she said. “But it’s never gonna be gone.”

The “SNL” alum shares four children with longtime partner Paul Thomas Anderson.

In a 2018 profile for New York Times magazine, Rudolph discussed mourning her mother’s death.

“For many, many years, I couldn’t even touch this conversation,” she said, adding, “I don’t remember if I ever did proper grieving.”