We admit to being little bit skeptical when we first heard that Maya Rudolph and Martin Short were doing a variety show for NBC. In the past few years, there have been many failed attempts to revive the variety show genre, most recently the energetic (but now-cancelled) Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris. For many different reasons, these other shows just didn’t quite stick, and so we just kind of assumed that Maya and Marty would follow that same, unfortunate path. Happily, we were completely wrong! It’s only been four episodes, but we already find ourselves looking forward to Tuesday nights.
We think that a big part of the reason for the success is because, although they’re certainly paying homage to the variety show genre, they’re also drawing a lot from their shared Saturday Night Live backgrounds. This combination plays to their strengths, and the result is a kind of primetime, non-live version of SNL that’s perfect for summertime viewing. The non-live factor means that the sketches are a little bit more polished than the ones on Saturday Night Live, although they do keep it rough enough around the edges (like when people break) to keep it feeling spontaneous. It also helps that Kenan Thompson is a regular on the show, and a lot of other current and former SNL cast members drop by, including Jimmy Fallon, Larry David, Kate McKinnon, Tina Fey, Ben Stiller, Ana Gasteyer, and Cecily Strong.
They even have regular characters, of which our favorite is of course, Martin Short as Jiminy Glick. It started off on a high note when he interviewed Larry David, but yesterday’s chat with Ricky Gervais was also pretty great. Jiminy’s strange cadence and passive aggressive way of insulting his guests will just never get old.
We’re already looking forward to seeing who Jiminy interviews next week, and if you’re not watching Maya and Marty, you should really check it out.