election 2020

Maya Rudolph Is Ready to Report for Duty as Kamala Harris on SNL

Maya as Kamala on SNL. Photo: Saturday Night Live/YouTube

Did you know that Maya Rudolph received a whopping three Emmy nominations this year, including one for her performance as senator and former presidential candidate Kamala Harris on Saturday Night Live? If she doesn’t win that SNL nom during September’s virtual Emmys ceremony, not to worry, because it looks like she’ll have another big chance next year. And it sounds like she’s ready to take it.

In case you’ve been avoiding today’s big political news until you started reading this paragraph, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced his VP pick today, and it’s … Kamala! SNL will return — maybe in Studio 8H, though that’s still to be determined — to television sometime this fall, which will surely go all-in on covering the election. Rudolph has been SNL’s go-to Kamala since the start of last season and has made three appearances as the senator so far. Presumably, SNL has no plans to change that casting; more up in the air is Biden, who has so far been played by Jason Sudeikis, Woody Harrelson, and John Mulaney during the seemingly eternal 2020 election season.

Entertainment Weekly just so happened to be recording a panel discussion featuring Rudolph when the news broke. Her initial reaction? “That’s spicy.” When asked if she’d like to return to the show to portray Harris, Rudolph offered a hopeful response. “I love going to the show any excuse I can get … I just didn’t really anticipate traveling during this pandemic, but if there’s anyone who can work it out I’m sure Lorne [Michaels] has some kind of invisible helicopter that can get me there,” she said. “Ever since I was a kid truly I wanted be on any kind of SCTV, Saturday Night Live, and I can’t believe that I got to work there and I can’t believe that it’s my family still and I’m so thrilled that I got to go back. It’s my favorite place to play.”

Below are the appearances Rudolph has made as Harris on SNL so far:

“DNC Town Hall” (September 2019)

This was Rudolph’s big Kamala debut during the season 45 premiere, the same episode in which host Woody Harrelson played Biden. “I’m also America’s cool aunt. A fun aunt. I call that a funt. The kind of funt that will give you weed but then arrest you for having weed,” Rudolph’s Harris said. “Can I win the presidency? Probably not. Can I successfully seduce a much younger man? You better funtin’ believe it.”

“2020 Democratic Debate” (November 2019)

This debate sketch was packed with guest stars including Rachel Dratch as Amy Klobuchar, Fred Armisen as Mike Bloomberg, Will Ferrell as Tom Steyer, and Larry David as Bernie Sanders. “I’m also America’s cool aunt. The c— you know what? Let’s not do that,” she said. Rudolph’s Harris spent the entire segment trying to force her way into becoming a meme: “Mama needs a GIF.”

“PBS Democratic Debate Cold Open” (December 2019)

Rudolph’s most recent appearance as Harris on SNL happened during the cold open of Eddie Murphy’s Christmas episode, which also featured Armisen’s Bloomberg, Dratch’s Klobuchar, and David’s Sanders. At this point, Harris had dropped out from the presidential race, so Rudolph’s Harris showed up unannounced waving around a martini glass. “Ohh, this is a debate? Honestly, I had no idea. I was just in the neighborhood,” she said. “But while I’m here, I just want to show you how good you could’ve had it, America. You withheld your donations, and I got tired of waiting, so I walked my fine ass out the door. You could’ve had a bad bitch!”

Maya Rudolph Is Ready to Report for Duty as Kamala on SNL