NBC debuted ‘Maya & Martin,’ its ‘exciting’ ‘new’ ‘variety’ show Tuesday night to generally decent numbers thanks to the lead-in from America’s Greatest Something Or Other. The show began by making fun of it’s own premise and bringing on a bunch of people to poo poo the concept of a variety show in the first place.
I’ll say this: it’ll be a cold day in hell before I say a bad word about either Maya Rudolph or Martin Short. The show was a tad undercooked, but it rolled out some impressive star power, featuring names like Tom Hanks and Miley Cyrus. There were guest spots from Jimmy Fallon and Keenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon and a cameo from Steve Martin just to say he’ll be back next week (with Tina Fey).
Produced by Lorne Michaels and featuring talent and writers from SNL, Maya & Marty played as sort of a weaksauce mid-week primetime PG-13 SNL cousin, which is more or less all the Pajiba audience will need to know. So for those of us hoping that we’d get a Van Halen performance out of Rudolph and Short, we were mildly disappointed that the content hovered around the Whitesnake level.
Maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind or maybe I hoped for slightly punchier offerings from the format, but I barely cracked a smile during the premiere. Plus, the get-off-my-lawn in me really bristled at Miley Cyrus singing Leonard Cohen’s ‘I’m Your Man.’ That’s the first time I ever imagined lighting my own television on fire. Leonard Cohen’s lyrics coming out of Miley Cyrus? Jesus Christ nothing is sacred. I can’t wait to hear Meghan Trainor’s rendition of Hallelujah! Kill me now.
Anyway, there was one good sketch. If you like Larry David or Martin Short’s obnoxious character Jiminy Glick, you’ll like this. It’s honestly the happiest I’ve ever seen Larry David. He could barely stop laughing.
It was a little nice little button on the end of this interaction from Curb Your Enthusiasm.
I’m not sure the variety format works anymore, as the pre-taped segments were far stronger than the live-studio-audience ones, but NBC - in their infinite wisdom - is planning to push this Sisyphean rock up the hill until it crushes them.
Hopefully we’ll get a few laughs along the way.