You may or may not have seen NBC's ads for Monday's premiere of The Maya Rudolph Show. If you have, you may or may not have thought to yourself, "I love Maya Rudolph, but since when does she have her own show?" Since now, that's when. And we couldn't be more excited about it.
But what exactly is The Maya Rudolph Show, you ask? Excellent question. Allow me to introduce you to the concept of the variety show. Basically a televised version of vaudeville, variety shows are televised compilations of acts, usually music and comedy, and sometimes magic, acrobatics, and animals, that are all introduced by an emcee or host. These were once a supremely popular form of entertainment, though they haven't really been seen since bell bottoms went out of style. The Ed Sullivan Show was one of CBS' most popular programs from 1948-1971, and other famous variety shows include Your Show of Shows and The Carol Burnett Show. The format lives on today mostly through competition series like America's Got Talent, although pretty much the only true variety show still in existence is NBC's Saturday Night Live.
Maya Rudolph is trying to change that. The former SNL comedian and Bridesmaids star is reviving the format with her own self-titled show. The Maya Rudolph Show was executive produced by SNL's own Lorne Michaels (who also produced her tragically short-lived NBC sitcom Up All Night). The one-hour long special contains plenty of what you would expect: singing, dancing, and comedy... although it also features plenty of surprises, like live animals, plate-spinning, rip-away dresses, and explosions.
Rudolph has called upon pretty much every funny person in Hollywood to help her out. Among the large list of guest stars you'll find Fred Armisen (pictured above with Rudolph), Kristen Bell, Sean Hayes, Chris Parnell, Craig Robinson, and Andy Samberg. Janelle Monáe will be appearing as the musical guest.
While NBC is airing The Maya Rudolph Show as a one-off special event, it was originally conceived as a pilot for an ongoing series. The network is being understandably cautious, given the general lack of enthusiasm for the format in this day and age. But if it does well enough tonight, NBC might consider picking it up to series, or at least ordering more standalone episodes of it. So if you want to see more of Rudolph acting like a physical incarnation of Siri — eerily inhuman intonation and all — tune in tonight to help make her show a success.
Images: NBC (2)