"These times are nuts," Maya Rudolph said

By Claudia Harmata
October 07, 2020 01:23 PM
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Credit: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

While Saturday Night Live may supply the laughs people need to get through this year, working on the comedy sketch show in 2020 has been no joke.

During a recent appearance on Watch What Happens Live, comedian Maya Rudolph opened up about what it has been like returning to SNL amid a chaotic news cycle — which not only saw a tumultuous first presidential debate, but also a COVID-19 diagnosis in President Donald Trump.

"Wow. That COVID diagnosis on good ole boy was … that was a real fascinating time and normally, in my post-castmember of SNL life, you always think ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to be on the show right now?’ So insane. Everything is on steroids," Rudolph told host Andy Cohen.

"Every single bit of information is coming in so fast ... that even a show like SNL, that gives you everything up until the last minute, didn’t even have the time to build half the sets they probably wanted to build to cover all of this insanity," she continued. "So, it was pretty wild and SNL is such an amazing place and the people that run it, the crew that makes that show tick, I can’t believe what they were able to accomplish on Saturday and it was incredibly difficult because of the COVID protocol."

The former SNL castmember had come back to reprise her role as Sen. Kamala Harris, Joe Biden's vice-presidential candidate, for the show's season 46 premiere over the weekend, which covered the first presidential debate between Biden (Jim Carrey) and President Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin).

Rudolph then explained that because of the ever-changing nature of the recent news cycle, she didn't get her lines until the day of the show.

"Believe it or not, everything was slower, it was harder to get things to cards. I didn’t really get my lines until air," she said. "We never ran that sketch until it was live." 

Jim Carrey and Maya Rudolph as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
| Credit: SNL

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The Bridesmaids star then gave her costars, Carrey and Baldwin, a special shout-out for getting through the show.

"Bless Jim Carrey’s heart because he just jumped right in and, even Alec is basically a cast member at this point, so it was really a lot. These times are nuts," she said.

After the skit aired, some criticized the show and Baldwin's performance as the president amid Trump's hospitalization with the coronavirus. While the skit primarily focused on poking fun at the debate, there were a few references to Trump's illness.

Baldwin went on to address the backlash on Instagram, defending the skit.

"We thought the debate was something topical, and we didn't have anything with him in a hospital bed, but we had the debate," Baldwin explained in a lengthy Instagram video on Monday. "You'd have to have a very good reason to avoid that, topicality-wise, and nobody thought that they were mocking somebody's illness by doing that."

Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT on NBC.