When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were declared the winners in the 2020 presidential election, actress Maya Rudolph was in New York — not far from where she'd been playing the new Vice-President on Saturday Night Live for over a year. "I went out on my balcony and the whole neighborhood was outside on their balconies and stoops, cheering and banging pots and pans,” Rudolph remembers. “It was liberating and joyful. A joy I hadn’t felt in a long time.”
The happiness many of us felt after that win was, of course, especially sweet after such a long and stressful year. Rudolph had another reason to celebrate: She'd probably get to continue her turn as Harris on SNL for another four years. In fact, she says, as soon as Biden had picked Harris to be his running mate in the summer of 2020, the congratulatory texts already began to roll in. When I asked the comedian what it’s like to know that she's got long-term work lined up, she simply said: “That would be really nice.”
Rudolph hasn’t been a full-time SNL cast member since 2007, but for as long as she plays Harris, she’ll likely be making occasional appearances on the show, and she’ll be hosting the March 27 episode, the first after the show's month-long hiatus. “Getting to play Kamala, who I admire so much, in the place that I love so much has been nothing but a joy. It’s so exciting to be a part of it all,” Rudolph says.
Besides her SNL gig, Rudolph has been staying relatively busy during the pandemic: She made an appearance at the Golden Globes on February 28, and she partnered with Natural Vitality Calm, a magnesium supplement brand, to make a series of videos on how to beat stress during the pandemic. (Her ideas: Fold baby clothes; scream into a pillow; take a magnesium supplement.) She says she’s long been a fan of the brand, and that it felt good to represent a product that’s positively impacted her life — and to flex her creative muscles. “I was so happy to be able to create funny content during a stressful time in the comfort of my own home,” she says.
As for whether Rudolph does anything special to deal with the stress that comes with playing a high-profile role like Harris, she says that SNL makes it easy for her to get into character. “I just slip into my wig and my suit and I’m good to go,” she notes. Her post-performance routine is a little more involved. “I’ve been using the Tatcha skincare line to remove my makeup and refresh my skin,” she says. “I’ve also been using Gua Sha tools to do my Face Gym workouts with it.”
It's safe to say that the actual VP intends to give Rudolph plenty of time to work on her "funt" (fun aunt) impersonation. "I grew up watching Saturday Night Live, so the thought that anyone would be in any way depicting me on Saturday Night Live was just … I was a bit overwhelmed," then-Sen. Harris told talk-show host Seth Meyers in 2019, before adding: "But I will tell you that I fully intend to make sure she has a good eight years of work on SNL."