Maya Rudolph Explains Why Having Famous Parents Didn't Boost Her Comedy Career: 'I Had to Get There Myself'

'They were musicians,' Rudolph said of her dad, songwriter Richard Rudolph, and mom, 'Loving You' singer Minnie Riperton

<p>getty (2)</p> Maya Rudolph; Minnie Riperton

getty (2)

Maya Rudolph; Minnie Riperton

Maya Rudolph is reflecting on what it was like growing up in the entertainment industry once people found out who her mother was.

On Monday, April 22, the Bridesmaids actress, 51, appeared on the Armchair Expert podcast with Dax Shepard and discussed her father, American songwriter and musician Richard Rudolph, 77, and her mother, late singer-songwriter Minnie Riperton, best known for her 1974 single “Lovin’ You.”

In the interview with Shepard, 49, the actress admits that having famous parents was not as much of an advantage as some may think.

“They were musicians,” she said. “They weren't actors.”

“My trajectory was, I wanted to go to New York, and I wanted to be on Saturday Night Live,” Rudolph explained.

Related: All About Maya Rudolph's Parents, Minnie Riperton and Richard Rudolph

<p>Michael Putland/Getty</p> Minnie Riperton, 1977

Michael Putland/Getty

Minnie Riperton, 1977

She added, “I understand that drive to be somewhere else — forage in a new city and create my own path. But that’s a huge undertaking. I wasn’t like, ‘Oh my dad writes songs, that’s gonna make me a comedian.' There was no direct line. I knew I had to get there myself.”

Rudolph then reflected on her mother’s fame, although she wasn’t quite sure that many of her peers knew about her success.

“It's interesting because my mom was a singer that not all my friends were that aware of at the time,” she said.

Rudolph said many didn’t make the connection until years later.

“Everybody that knows who I am now knows that's my mom. But growing up, I didn't feel like she was a household name. I felt like she was special, yeah,” she added as Shepard agreed.

<p>Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty </p> Maya Rudolph, June 2022

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Maya Rudolph, June 2022

According to Rudolph, networks like MTV weren’t on air yet during the peak of her mother’s fame.

“She was also insanely young when she died,” Shepard said.

Riperton died of breast cancer in 1979 at the age of 31. Rudolph was only six years old at the time.

The actress added that not having the same last name as her mother didn’t make it any easier for people to make the connection that they were related.

Related: Maya Rudolph's 4 Children: All About Pearl, Lucille, Jack and Minnie

“So when I started doing SNL, people didn't really know she was my mom, and they figured it out later. So, look, when you're a kid and your mom dies, you don't want people to know that,” Rudolph said of never really bringing the topic up with others when she was younger. 

However, she noted that when people did learn who her mom was there would be an “added element” of them wanting to discuss her — which Rudolph would not want to do.

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“If she hadn't been a singer, you probably would've had to talk about it far less,” Shepard said.

Over time, Rudolph seemingly found it easier to talk about.

“My mom was music,” Rudolph told NPR in 2012. “Music poured out of my mother, and I’m sure I heard it before I even got here when I was in her belly. Music sounds and feels very normal to me. My dad wrote all the songs with my mom.”

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