For seven years, Maya Rudolph cracked viewers up on “Saturday Night Live.” On Monday night, she got back to what she loved with her own show. But “The Maya Rudolph Show” was more than a sketch comedy show. Fashioned as a variety show, Rudolph and her guests got to sing and dance, along with those goofy comedy sketches.
Fans of “SNL” were in for a few more treats, as Rudolph was joined in the special by “SNL” alums Andy Samberg, Fred Armisen and Chris Parnell. Sean Hayes also showed up throughout the hour, while Kristen Bell was featured prominently as well. Rudolph was a lot of fun in the special, but she was definitely aided by having such a stellar ensemble of performers around her.
Some of the sketches could have been lifted right out of “SNL,” like a bit where Bell brought home boyfriend Samberg to meet her parents, portrayed by Parnell and Rudolph. The silliness came when the parents were revealed to be the voices for GPS systems, and they talked like GPS systems at home, too.
Another one had the group play “$25,000 Pyramid,” with Rudolph a foreign woman who would only say the word “Juice.” Game show sketches and boyfriends/girlfriends meeting weird parents are “SNL” staples. She even had a musical guest in Janelle Monae.
But then there were the shorter, sillier bits that separated the show from Rudolph’s former stomping grounds, like Samberg seeing annoying doctors who either repeated everything he said, or said “Wow” over and over again. Another featured Rudolph and Armisen as snobby, rich people watching the show. Imagine The Muppets’ Statler and Waldorf if they were narcissistic and clueless about what was going on around them.
Craig Robinson dropped by for beach movie parody that was simply an excuse for wordplay about nuts and clams. But it was the musical pieces that really helped the show stand out from other comedy shows. Parnell performed a ballad for his new baby that was actually quite touching, while being pretty funny at the same time, while almost everyone got the chance to sing at one point or another.
The highlight of the show, though, had to be when Kristen Bell joined forces with Maya Rudolph to create a “Frozen” sequel. Based on the theme song Bell performed, the movie would probably be called “Frozen Again,” and would feature Maya Rudolph as the heretofore unseen third sister who has the exact opposite abilities of Elsa. She’s too hot.
“The Maya Rudolph Show” was a pilot special, which means that it could come back if there is a strong enough response to this premiere.