Comedians Maya Rudolph and Martin Short have had a variety show in development for many years, and NBC has finally given Maya and Marty in Manhattan the greenlight, with SNL creator Lorne Michaels serving as executive producer. The weekly series will air live from NBC’s 30 Rock studio in New York, and will be a blend of music numbers, sketches and celebrity guests, according to Variety.
News of the duo’s new series comes after the network cancelled Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris – only two months after airing. Maya and Martin will also serve as executive producers on their new show, along with Matt Roberts and Erin David. The actors – both SNL alums – hosted the 40th anniversary special for Saturday Night Live last year, and they paid tribute to Michaels last Thursday, where Maya gushed about being a fan of the long-running sketch comedy series since she was a kid.
“I got introduced to New York through Saturday Night Live, and this incredible nightlife that I knew existed but I never experienced. I just wanted to go there,” she mused. “You know, because you could tell when they were saying good night to each other, they were going to go to the party, and hang out.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 13, 2016
Rudolph was a SNL cast member from 2000 to 2007, while Short joined for the 1984–85 season. Maya’s big screen credits include Grown Ups and its sequel, Bridesmaids, and Sisters. She co-starred with Christina Applegate and Will Arnett in the NBC comedy sitcom Up All Night from 2011 to 2013. She also guest-starred as Rapunzel in the DreamWorks animated film Shrek the Third. Maya tested the variety show format in 2014 with her Maya Rudolph Show, which The Daily Beast described as “a bit of a mess — albeit a wildly entertaining one.” Maya and Marty is the latest incarnation of Rudolph’s variety show.
While Maya is a standout comedian who has proven that she can hold it down all on her own, industry insiders are skeptical about Maya and Marty because “every variety show from the past decade or so has crashed and burned.”
Award-winning Rudolph is the daughter of black R&B singer/songwriter Minnie Riperton, who died of cancer two weeks before Maya’s seventh birthday. She and her older brother were raised by their Jewish father, and Maya has previously spoken about how being of mixed race has been “an interesting experience.”
“When I was cast on Saturday Night Live [in 2000], people gave me black characters to play. And they gave me white characters, too. Because I never thought about myself one way or another, I think it helped my performances. I never think of the characters I play based on race. Ever. It doesn’t come into my head.”
Maya is married to director Paul Thomas Anderson and they have four children. Last year she confessed to The Guardian that “Saturday Night Live was the most important thing” before she became a mother.
“It’s great being a woman. I love having privileges in comedy that 40 years ago I wouldn’t have had. But there’s a good, healthy, feminist part of me that’s, like: shut the fuck up. We’re just talented.”
Rudolph’s latest effort had its world premiere in January at the Sundance Film Festival. Co-starring Danny Glover, Mr. Pig is the dramatic story “about finding a new home for a hog and healing old wounds,” according to Deadline.
Maya Rudolph’s upcoming variety show with Martin Short has yet to announce a premier date, and the number of episodes are unknown.
[Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images]