Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Returning SNL royalty Maya Rudolph tells Jimmy Fallon just where she wears Prince's belly chain

Maya Rudolph, Jimmy Fallon
Maya Rudolph, Jimmy Fallon
Screenshot: The Tonight Show

Maya Rudolph has already conquered all entertainment, everywhere, so it’s only fitting the multiple award-winning actor, comedian, singer, voice-over monstress, and all-around cool person is coming back to where it all started, hosting this weekend’s Saturday Night Live. And, since she was already in the building and everything, the Big Mouth star popped down a few 30 Rockefeller Plaza floors to chat with old pal and Saturday Night Live veteran (and occasional on-set baby-minder to Rudolph’s eldest, Pearl), Jimmy Fallon. Once there, the pair reminisced about the good old days, as former work associates do.

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You know, like that time the entire building was shut down for months due to a global pandemic, with both SNL and Fallon’s Tonight Show only gradually reopening to a reality of multiple daily COVID swabs and minimal live audiences. Oh, wait, that’s now. We’re currently in that. No, Rudolph and Fallon were talking about those good old days when they were working shoulder-to-shoulder in the SNL trenches—and the entire building was shut down because some nimrod terrorist mailed deadly anthrax spores to co-30 Rock tenants NBC News, and Fallon (who apparently never checks his messages) arrived at work sipping his morning to-go coffee only to find the SNL offices swarming with people in hazmat suits. “What sketch is this?,” Fallon recalled himself asking. Oh, and there was 9/11, too. Look, they can’t all be good memories.

As Rudolph, currently owning it as not only returning Saturday Night Live legend, but also star of (checks notes) Big Mouth, Bless The Harts, the upcoming animated films The Mitchells Vs. The Machines and Pixar’s Luca, explained, she does also have genuinely good, not-traumatic SNL memories. Like the time she cut short her maternity leave to attend the 2006 Steve Martin/Prince episode. “That’s like a baby Maya dream sandwich,” explained Rudolph of the big night when two of her lifelong idols were in her house. She also noted that an unidentified friend, through unexplained means, obtained for her a key piece of intimate Prince memorabilia—that she wears in an unexpected but understandable place.

You’ve all seen the “Mountains” video. The one with Prince in the bolero jacket, jaunty hat, and bare midriff festooned with a single, slim gold chain around his hips? (The area Rudolph describes as “the good meat.”) Yeah, Maya’s got that chain, because she’s Maya goddamned Rudolph. And if the form-fitting (for the legendarily diminutive Prince) ornament doesn’t quite fit around Maya’s human-sized waist, it’s just as worshipful (and easier to surreptitiously kiss) when she wears it as a necklace. For mother of four Maya, that keepsake is just one of the golden baubles her kids are learning to tolerate as just some junk from mom’s workplace, along with her most recent Big Mouth Emmy. Telling Fallon that she’d forgotten how the Emmy engravers put the name of the award-winning episode on the trophy along with her name, she noted that, sure, mom and the kids had a little talk after she unwrapped the remotely-awarded award, thanks to Big Mouth being Big Mouth. Eh, mom knew Prince, kids.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.