SNL Offers Backstage Look at Maya Rudolph’s ‘Mother’ Monologue

It was one of the best monologues in recent SNL history—and now fans can get an insider’s view of it. 

Maya Rudolph’s “Mother” monologue on the May 11 episode—in which she launched into a musical number about how she’s a “mother” (as in the slang) in honor of Mother’s Day (as in the parent)—featured an original song and a choreographed routine that wound its way through Studio 8H and back to homebase. 

The number went off without a hitch, but as is often the case on Saturday Night Live, pulling off such a tight live performance was a painstaking process. In a new installment of the show’s “Beyond Studio 8H” YouTube series, SNL musical director Eli Brueggemann offers a look at what it took to create Rudolph’s hit monologue. 

“Maya’s a natural musician,” he explains early on in the video. “And when she turns it on, she turns it on. So I’m excited to see what happens tonight.”

As musical director, Brueggemann is tasked with creating all of the original music heard on the show, from full songs to musical cues. 

The video follows Brueggemann as he’s tasked with creating “something Beyoncé-ish” for Rudolph’s monologue. Since SNL sketches are almost always written and mounted week-of, the show is an inherently high-stakes environment—and adding music only compounds that pressure. “It’s always a little bit shaky…” Brueggemann says of live musical numbers, which are typically backed live by the show’s house band. “There’s an element of danger, and it could give it sort of that extra lift. Everyone’s kind of in the moment.”

The behind-the-scenes mini doc even maps out the choreographed route Rudolph took through 8H as she performed the song. All in all, it’s a great reminder of what makes SNL so impressive. What Kenan Thompson says to kick off Rudolph’s performance is also true of the staff and crew backstage at the show: They “came to slay.”

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