Ava, your character on Up All Night, is a woman who is kind of mystified by kids. Do you know people like that?
I've met people who are baffled by children, as though they were never children themselves. I think that people who don't like kids are awful people. Ava's just clueless about them, which I find funnier.
What do you think is the biggest divide between women who have children and women who don't?
Before I had my daughter, my job at Saturday Night Live was my everything. It was my husband, it was my children, it was my love. I used to take so many things seriously, like "What do you mean he didn't do the fart joke? Why not?" Children sort of allow you to only have room for important things in your brain.
You're the daughter of singer Minnie Riperton and music producer Dick Rudolph. Was there a certain inevitability to your career choice?
I remember seeing my mom onstage. When that's what you see, that's what seems normal. I always wanted to be a funny person, but I thought it would be an amalgam of funny mixed with music.
You wanted to be "Weird Al" Yankovic?
That or like a backup singer for Steely Dan or something. I like harmonizing. I don't like singing alone. I don't sing like my mom. I have more of a natural ear, and I pick stuff up, which is probably why I ended up doing impressions.
Do you listen to your mom's old recordings?
It was hard for me to listen to her for a long time, but there was some sort of magical healing process that went with having children that sort of cured me of that, which I'm very grateful for. "Lovin' You" is a very sweet song, but it's not like "Oh, we're all dancing!" It's more touching.
Your grandfather owned all the Wendy's in Dade County, Florida. Are you an original-Frosty or a parfait-Frosty consumer?
Original Frosty. I grew up in Los Angeles, and there were no Wendy's, so going to Miami to visit my grandparents was really exciting because Wendy looked like Pippi Longstocking and you could get a chocolate Frosty.
Is the discussion over about whether women can be funny?
I always thought it was a pretty lame discussion. With Bridesmaids, people kept saying, "Oh, it's going to change things for women." No one set out to change any sort of game. It was just funny people at their best.
Is being funny easier now that there are more powerful women to make fun of?
I met Oprah. She was very nice about my impression of her. Donatella Versace gave me pointers a lot of them. She said she would never wear fake diamonds. I let the costume department know.
Your partner Paul Thomas Anderson is a director who has made movies [There Will Be Blood, Magnolia] for which actors have been nominated for Oscars. When is the Maya Rudolph vehicle coming?
We're doing a movie together about the history of salt. Like There Will Be Blood was about oil, it's going to be about salt.
There Will Be Seasoning ...
There Will Be Kosher Salt, because I am half Jewish.
As a child, you worshipped at the altar of Flashdance-era Jennifer Beals. How much would I have to pay you to get into a slashed sweatshirt and leg warmers?
That would be free of charge. I would be more than happy to wear a cutoff sweatshirt any given time of day. I think they look terrific. And I do like leg warmers, and I have worn them. I'm not going to lie to you about that. Sometimes I wear them at home. They warm your legs.
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