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She starred as Ava Alexander in the NBC sitcom Up All Night from 2011 to 2013. She is the daughter of soul singer-songwriter Minnie Riperton and composer, songwriter, and producer Richard Rudolph.Her father is an Ashkenazi Jew, and her mother was African-American.Her great-grandfather, who was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, changed his surname from "Rudashevsky" to "Rudolph," and was one of the founding members of Congregation Beth Shalom, a Conservative Jewish synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.Near the end of the "Lovin' You" track, Riperton can be heard singing "Maya, Maya, Maya, Maya, Maya, Maya, Maya, Maya".As "Nooni Schoener," Rudolph, along with Fred Armisen, created a couple from an unspecified Scandinavian country, who have unplaceable accents and bewilderingly foreign manners.Friend Will Forte substituted for her during that episode.
She rose to prominence on the NBC television show Saturday Night Live, where she was a cast member from 2000 to 2007.
She has also starred in films such as Idiocracy (2006), Away We Go (2009), Grown Ups (2010), Bridesmaids (2011), Friends with Kids (2011), Grown Ups 2 (2013), and Sisters (2015).
Rudolph's musical talents were frequently employed on Saturday Night Live.
She sang as Beyoncé Knowles in the Prince Show sketches, as the "Space Creature" in the Gays in Space sketches, except for the one on the season 31 episode hosted by Peter Sarsgaard, because it aired around the time Rudolph was on maternity leave.
Riperton incorporated this into her performance of the song on The Midnight Special.
In May 2000, Rudolph joined the cast of Saturday Night Live as a featured player for the final three episodes of the 1999–2000 season, after a stint as a member of The Groundlings improv troupe, where she met future Saturday Night Live cast member Will Forte.