Maya Rudolph branded 'sensitive' for griping about David Letterman flubbing her name in 2009 interview

Rudolph described the incident as a learning experience and appeared visibly upset over the supposed slight, more than 12 years after it happened

Maya Rudolph branded 'sensitive' for griping about David Letterman flubbing her name in 2009 interview
Maya Rudolph said she felt 'humiliated' during her 2009 interview with David Letterman (Jon Kopaloff & Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
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Comedienne Maya Rudolph has been called "sensitive" after she said late-night icon David Letterman made her feel "embarrassed and humiliated" by mispronouncing her name in a 2009 interview.

Rudolph described the incident as a learning experience and appeared visibly upset over the supposed slight, more than 12 years after it happened. The interview in question saw the talk show host seemingly flub the SNL alum's name during her first-ever appearance on the program. Letterman introduced her as "the lovely Amaya Rudolph" -- but profusely apologized moments later.

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"Ladies and gentlemen," Letterman told the audience in the unearthed clip, before turning to the 'Bridesmaids' actress at his side. The host noticed his guest's discomfort and went on to give a heartfelt apology upon returning from a commercial break. "I'm sorry that I mispronounced your name," the since-retired late-night host said. "There's no excuse for it." He then put his hand on Rudolph's chair, adding, "From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely apologize." Rudolph seemed more than satisfied with Letterman's apology and responded with a sincere "Thank you" while clutching the host's hand.

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Presenter David Letterman speaks onstage at the 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center on April 7, 2017 in New York City. Debuting on HBO Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 8:00 pm ET/PT
David Letterman speaks onstage at the 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center on April 7, 2017, in New York City (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

The interview segment resurfaced more than a decade later after Rudolph complained about the seemingly harmless exchange in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "I did not have a good time," Rudolph, now 50, said of her sitdown with Letterman. "He said my name wrong, and I just sat there, like, 'I grew up my whole life in love with you.' And now my heart is broken. And I'm sitting here embarrassed and humiliated." She continued, "I didn't know how to handle it. I didn't know how to come up with something funny to say. My public persona muscle wasn't strong yet." The comedienne said she has since grown a thicker skin. "I've definitely gotten much better," she told the publication. "When I'm uncomfortable, I try to be funny." 

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Maya Rudolph attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California.
Maya Rudolph attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022, in Hollywood, California (David Livingston/Getty Images)

Many on social media branded Rudolph "sensitive" over her griping.

"Maya Rudolph just gave the oddest interview where 13 years ago David Letterman said her name wrong and she said it wrecked, embarrassed, and humiliated her, and broke her heart. A bit much?" one tweeted. "Omg how will she ever survive," another quipped. "Omg... guys we need to redirect the aid from Ukraine immediately.. this is way worse," someone else joked.

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"Well stick a fork in me, I’m done. If mispronouncing someone’s name is a capital offense now, I’m toast," radio host Tom Steele wrote. "How sensitive do you have to be to be miserable because someone didn’t get your name right? Smells like narcissism to me."

"Why does all of Hollywood feel the need to air all their past grievances years later? The only people that care, especially in this economy, are them," another Twitter user offered. 

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Rudolph, who left 'SNL' two years before the Letterman spot, is yet to respond to the backlash. She starred in the late-night comedy showcase for seven seasons and won her second Emmy last year for a guest appearance that saw her portray Vice President Kamala Harris. The comic also starred in 2011's 'Bridesmaids', followed by a host of smaller parts mostly on TV. She currently provides her voice for Nick Kroll’s animated Netflix series 'Big Mouth'. Rudolph has been in a relationship with filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson since 2001 and the couple lives in the San Fernando Valley with their four children, the Daily Mail reported.

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