Saturday Night Live alum Maya Rudolph is a criminally undervalued comedian. Her run on the sketch series as a utility impersonator of everyone from Queen Beyoncé to Whitney Houston showed off her tremendous singing voice and ear for pop diva absurdity. Her star turn in Bridesmaids was her definitive role, but if her graduation address at Tulane University is any indication, Rudolph’s true joy is silly singing.
She joked about not being prepared for the task, which was really a wink and setup for her knock-down version of the national anthem:
“Look at all these beautiful faces … and iPhones,” she said before beginning her address. “Families and friends of graduates, mothers, fathers, brothers, brothers from other mothers, sisters, roommates, grandmas and grandpas, meemaws and papaws … and people who met on Tinder this morning, I thank you for having me here to join you on this special day in this incredible city. I stand here humbled, gracious and completely naked under this robe.”
And this great diversion:
“The first thing I did was go online and look up other commencement speeches, and then I got tired so I took a nap. I woke up, cried a little bit, ordered some room service, and then I cried a little bit more. And then I picked myself up by the boot straps … and decided to go back to sleep.”
Then, she broke out into one of her elaborate belting versions of a song to widespread cackles and guffaws. You see, Rudolph doesn’t just hit the notes — that’s a requirement — she contorts her face, bends every syllable for more effect, and sends up the overdone stylings of our most-cherished celebrity voices. And it all fits well into her story, since few people know the fascinating tidbit that Rudolph’s mom is the renowned soul singer Minnie Ripperton.
If that doesn’t inspire these newbie grads to carry on great legacies, they need to put down their iPads and think harder.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)