This is a show that should be funnier than it is. “Maya & Marty” with Maya Rudolph and Martin Short is still stalling out in the third episode. The humor has improved somewhat, but is is still not quite there. Guests this week were Ben Stiller, Nick Jonas, Eva Longoria and John Cena and out of the lot, Stiller’s skit with Short and Maya was the funniest.
(Although Cena’s Hulk Hogan was damned funny and the lawyer advertisement was the only other bit to raise more than a chuckle. “Oh my God, dad!”)
Sadly, like most of the sketches, the A.I. bit went on too long and lost its momentum. Which pretty much describes all the skits of the episode.
The first sketch was the fireman’s calendar and it featured John Cena being “cute” (“I love you Pongo.”) and Martin Short being…Martin Short. Keenan Thompson was the glue that made this gag work.
The happy birthday skit despite being centered around Eva Longoria went on far too long, although Maya’s singing was, as usual, priceless. The urge by the Maya & Marty writers to put Nick Jonas, Keenan (who was funny as the rapping pastry chef) and Martin out there as Adele wannabes was too much.
The next one up was the A.I. sketch. Stiller as the scientist who creates a robot capable of true love, based on a one time encounter with a rich man. The joke, where the robot is connected to the Internet, was funny. The ads, which interrupted at crucial points, was spot on as was the gag about the client refusing to pay 99 cents to have the ads removed.
After the bluetooth joke, Short screaming into Maya’s mouth because the microphone was in the back of her throat, the comedy on offer faltered as the dance bit, once again, made the gag run too long.
An interesting addition was made to this week’s episode. Three young boys performing the sisters number from “Hamilton.” These three “Broadway Kids” did a number that. as boys, they would never be able to perform. The three lads, all on Broadway in different shows, did a brilliant job, as did Rudolph with her bit.
It would be too easy to dismiss this add-on segment as so much extra publicity for the award winning “Hamilton” (already the talk of the nation) or a cheap attempt to boost ratings with some charming child performances but it was impressive and a bit of fun. Even if it did feel a tad like an escapee from the Tony Awards.
Next up was an “8 Mile” skit where Nick Jonas takes on Keenan Thompson (who looks to have broken a foot – clock the size of that left shoe) in a rap war. Whitebread dentist dad to Jonas takes on “Little Taco” and wins. The sketch was amusing but not so overpowering that that cast, disguised as a trainer (sneaker) escaped attention.
Short as Jiminy Glick interviewed Kevin Hart, which had Hart equally corpsing and playing it for reals, (yeah) and it worked to a degree. However, nothing has ever really matched the “pretend” celebrity host gag as done by “Dame Edna Everage ” aka Barry Humphries. Short is funny but not Dame Edna funny.
The John Cena highlight came up next with his spot on Hulk Hogan impression in the reality TV movie sketch. Cena competed with “David Schwimmer” for the part of Hogan in the network’s follow up to the O.J. Simpson trial miniseries. Keenan came on to be O.J. and Short actually does a halfway decent Schwimmer.
The end of the show found Jimmy Fallon gate crashing the final musical number by Thompson, Rudolph and Short. Cue rapturous applause and cheering.
This is a show I dearly wanted to like. Comedy is a personal favorite, as it would for anyone growing up watching Carol Burnett and Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. Unfortunately, “Maya & Marty” just is not there yet in terms of delivering the laughs.
Lorne Michaels needs to stop trying to imitate a show that has been faltering of late (SNL) and shake things up a bit. Short and Rudolph are funny just not that funny…yet. On the bright side, at least Keenan Thompson did not look embarrassed to be on the show this week.
“Maya & Marty” airs Tuesdays on NBC.