Our TV critic David Bianculli reviews “The Maya Rudolph Show,” the latest rare attempt by network TV to revive the long-dormant variety show genre —
"On Monday night, NBC presented The Maya Rudolph Show, a one-hour prime-time variety special executive produced by Lorne Michaels and featuring many of their mutual Saturday Night Live cohorts: Fred Armisen, Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell. It also co-starred Kristen Bell, Sean Hayes and singer Janelle Monae. The Maya Rudolph Show was an intentional effort to bring back the old-school TV variety show, but with a new-school slant that bathed most of the show in a distancing self-awareness. Even the introductory number by Rudolph made fun of the genre rather than committing to it.
Despite all the guest stars and talent, most of The Maya Rudolph Show fell strangely flat. There was no continuity between segments, and, as on SNL, many comedy sketches just seemed to stop rather than conclude. And while the hostess sang comedy songs with many of her comedy guests, she didn’t share the stage with the hour’s featured musical guest — another missed opportunity.”
Photo of Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph in The Maya Rudolph Show (Paul Drinkwater/NBC)