Maya & Marty: Season Finale – Emma Stone Rocks It (Review)

 Maya & Marty - Season 1

The season finale of Maya & Marty featured more of the same in terms of overly long comedic sketches.  Although it was nice to hear the  Kenan Thompson lyric in the closing song. He sings about the show being “Maya, Marty & Kenan” something we suggested last week. The series did  end on a bit of a high note with guests Emma Stone and Sean Hayes.

Stone first appeared in the faux commercial for cleaner. The skit featured Maya and Kenan and  not Martin Short.  Another one of those overly long gags that did so for a reason.  Almost as annoying as the real adverts that repeatedly give the number to call,  it finished with a fade to sepia and an allusion to The Twilight Zone.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Emma Stone

The next gag featured Sean Hayes as noir gay detective Burt Cassidy.  As Maya channelled her inner Kathleen Turner Hayes spouting rapid fire narration. The gag was amusing but not overtly funny. On the bright side, it worked well as a parody and was reminiscent of those old fast paced (machine gun dialogue delivery) Howard Hawks films like “His Girl Friday” with a Sam Spade touch.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Sean Hayes

Carmen Miranda and The Ghost Interns:

*A note from the reviewer. The word of this episode of Maya & Marty is “Bug.” *

In both the Carmen Miranda sketch and the Interns, bug was used as part of the routine.  The Carmen Miranda routine has Maya  swallowing one, after Kenan’s sailor mentions having bugs.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Kenan Thompson, Maya Rudolph and Mikey Day

The next sketch was the Ghostly Interns. Kenan’s office worker can see the spirits. Martin Short’s manager cannot.  Throughout the routine both Stone and Day, as the dead spirits use the word bug repeatedly, “Sorry to bug.”   There were some issues with the lighting cues but overall the skit amused.

Standout moments were Short maintaining character as both Stone and Day spew red goo on his face and “blub” in his ears.  The final twist was cute.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Emma Stone, Martin Short, Mikey Day

Up next was the highlight of the episode (if not the entire season) where Stone and Rudolph sing “Call your Boyfriend” while playing butter tubs. The routine was inspired, apparently,  by a YouTube video of three Swedish girls playing butter tubs.

Maya goes on to explain that she has practiced this since seeing the video and that Emma will help her to perform the song.  What follows is brilliant, fun and clever.  To enjoy what may be the best moment on Maya & Marty, head to the end of this review and watch the video of “Call Your Boyfriend.”

(On a sidenote: While watching this little musical number the first thought that springs to mind is this:  How many takes were required to get this one right?  Judging from the look on Maya’s face, either a lot, or they managed to nail it in one.)

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Steve Martin

The cowboy skit proved that Steve Martin can still strut his musical stuff, a’la King Tut, with no problem.  The main problem with the sketch was  TTMS – too much Martin Short.  We adore Martin but he was too…too.

Short then appears as Jiminy Glick to “interview” Kelly Ripa and once again this is the least amusing portion of the series. If Maya and Marty come back for a second season, please lay this character to rest.

The last skit had Thompson and Day as hikers being lectured by Rudolph’s Earth Mother and Short’s Old Man of the Sea. There is a bit of wire work and,  true to form, the sketch went on far too long.

Maya & Marty - Season 1

The final number had a Mardi Gras feel to it; all graffiti and multiple dancers, and it was something of a relief to see the series finally limp to a finish. The comedy never quite worked in many of the skits and the ones that did amuse went on far too long.

On a positive note, Emma Stone rocked it in her appearances.  This oscar nominated actress is a performer who can seemingly do anything. If you have any doubt as to the veracity of her endless talent, watch the “tub” song below.

Maya & Marty: Episode 5 – Still Missing the Punchline (Review)

Maya & Marty - Season 1

At this point Maya & Marty could be called the “Maya, Marty & Kenan Show” since the SNL regular appears in every episode.  Regardless of Thompson’s increased presence on the show, it still misses the punchline. Granted, the gags and sketches do have punchlines but rather then putting them at the end of the skit, they are shoved in the middle and then forgotten as the sketch limps on to its finish.

There was, however, at least one highpoint in the show, the marvelous parody of America’s favorite sitcom comic Jerry Seinfeld.   Presented as an advert  for the Internet series “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee”  this sketch was actually funnier than the real show.

In the skit, Rudolph’s Chloe Kardashian being bashed in the face with a tree branch was brilliant. Amy Poehler with her segment was cute but somewhat uninspired.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Maya Rudolph as Khloe Kardashian

The next skit;  “Everyone Poops,” was, for lack of a better word, poop.

The followup Team USA Gymnastics (the Olympics drug sketch) was funny but again went on far too long and somewhat unnecessarily featured Kenan Thompson in a wig at the end. Once again the punchline was lost by dragging the gag  out past its “due by” date.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Amy Poehler as Brianna, Maya Rudolph as Courtney

The time travel sketch with Will Forte was funny only if one took the narcissistic punchline as an astute look at society’s current obsession with self.  Taken from that point of view the whole old guy falling in love with his younger self is funny.

The American Open skit was amusing but could have taken out a few of those ball boy being bashed by the tennis ball moments and cut to the chase.  At least the punchline was at the end. Maya’s car bashing the hapless lad as she was leaving was a fitting finish.

The marionette segment was funny. Will Forte as the puppeteer with seven broken fingers insisting that the show must go on. The sketch featured Amy Poehler who appears as  a pregnant teen puppet. This could have tied with the other highlight of the show, especially  with Kenan Thompson’s entrance as the policeman puppet who has jumped its cue.

Maya & Marty - Season 1

Martin Short (Marty) appears again as Jiminy Glick which is easily the weakest part of the show.  Despite having some funny guests on, who do make the segment funnier if they react well, it is hard to see the allure of Short’s host in a fat suit.

Maya & Marty - Season 1

The Amsterdam skit was just annoying. For a start, in the real red light district  the women in the windows wear much less than the two in front of Cath and her friend. This alone could have made the skit funnier. The women did not have to be semi nude but even a bikini or tho would have made it work so much better. The strident chorus of two middle age American women “working” in the red light district could have been that bit more amusing with a proper discord of “hookers” on offer. (Just saying.)

Maya & Marty - Season 1

The show did end on a high note however.  The return of the father/son law firm advertisement.  This time it featured a riff on the cell phone and a brilliant throwaway punchline at the end of the skit. Rather annoyingly, there are no images or even a video showing this skit.

The law firm sketch is nigh on perfect but not a proper highpoint as it is faux commercial and not a proper skit. It was however, short, punchy and funny. (More like this please.)

Maya & Marty is a show that begs to be liked. However, rather than giving the studio audience laughing gas (It is the only rational explanation as to why they find the show that funny…) they should shorten the sketches or at the very least tighten them up.

The show appears to be taking a leaf from SNL as it is,  for all intents and purposes,  a summertime replacement for Lorne Michaels‘ other show. ( Does Lorne have a sticker on his car that reads: “My other show is Saturday Night Live?”)  It uses a similar format but it is not working just yet.

There should be a comedy rule (perhaps there is but not being a professional comedian or a stand-up comic there is  no way of knowing of sure) that states: “Once the punchline is delivered, stop.”  It should be right on top of the rule that mandates keeping the gag short.

We will continue to watch Maya & Marty, in spite of its shortcomings. Maya Rudolph and Martin Short are talented performers, as is Keenan Thompson,  but the show is trying to fill the shoes of  a longer show (SNL)  that buries its mistakes and flat routines in a flurry of skits.

Maya & Marty airs Tuesdays on NBC. Tune in and see what you think. Is it as funny as the studio audience (clearly on drugs) believes or is it struggling? Answers in the comment section below or on a postcard…

Maya & Marty: Episode 4 – Faltering (Review)

Maya & Marty - Season 1

The guest list was shortened, Ricky Gervais and Cecily Strong , but Maya & Marty still faltered in the comedy department.  This is a show I desperately want to like but thus far the show’s output is outdated, forced, too long and only occasionally funny. Do not let the audience reaction fool you. The  poor folks trapped in the studio setting are prompted and cajoled into laughing hysterically.

Granted there were a few standout moments. The Gervais and Jiminy Glick segment was amusing only in that “The Office” writer and star was good value for money.  Cecily Strong always manages to get a laugh  or two in and she featured in the only other passable skit in the episode.

Maya’s Sophia Loren commercial started out well but soon fell into that show biz trap where the writers assume the audience know far too much.  The introduction of Short as Leonardo who sounds like Cary Grant would be lost on anyone under the age of 40.  It would even be questionable whether those over the cut-off age would know of Grant’s obsession with Loren,or even care who Loren was.

The two stars made a couple of films together and on “Houseboat,” Cary became besotted with the Italian star. The Oscar winning  Italian sex symbol told of  the “affair” in her autobiography. A book that was most likely read by your grandmother, and not your mum.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Sophia Loren and Leonardo (Martin Short doing Cary Grant)

The opening monologue was a let down. Shrieking like  a pair of Mancunian fishwives Short and Rudolph did their best Dick Van Dyke cockney impressions.  Apart from being annoying the slang thrown into the sketch was inaccurate.  (Note: Knackered is slang for being tired not being pissed (drunk) and the quote “Lovely Jubblees” – which was used constantly in  Only Fools and Horses  – is “lovely jubbly” a cockney saying it is the singular and not the plural.)

Cecily Strong appeared in three sketches, the Mexican morning television parody, Mario Bros and the air traffic controller segment.  To be honest the latter skit felt like it was influenced by the old Carol Burnett long running sketch “Momma.” Regardless the three skits  were amusing if not actually overly funny.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Don’t you hate Stacy?

Out of all the sketches the air traffic one was the best and Gervais meeting with Click (Short) came a close second. The latter skit worked because Ricky seemed to be having so much fun. The Mexican morning show came in third, mainly because of the Trump and Hilary gags and the Mario Bros sketch was nostalgic but not laugh out loud funny.

So far the variety show is limping into its first season and missing the comedic mark. Four episodes in and the series is still faltering in terms of pacing and comedy that tends to go on too long. (Or completely misses the mark.)

The  episode highlight was the Broadway for Orlando number midway through the show. Just released via iTunes the song, performed by a number of well known actors who tread the boards, was a heart warming segment.  The proceeds of this song go toward the families of those killed in Orlando.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
What The World Needs Now

The feel good moment made up for the usual ho-hum comedic offerings and it would be nice to  see Maya & Martin actually performing a higher type of comedy. Leave aside the pale imitations and reliance upon outdated gags.

Both Short and Rudolph are talented and funny people and regular Kenan Thompson does not look embarrassed to be on the show.  This SNL summer replacement may still find its feet and start delivering.

Maya & Marty airs Tuesdays on NBC.  Hopefully it will get funnier, until then it is #faltering.

 

Maya & Marty: Episode 3 – Not Quite There (Review)

 Maya & Marty - Season 1

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!”)

Maya & Marty - Season 1

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 show opened with Martin Short and Maya Rudolph  doing a song together which was a variation on the “showbiz” tune performed by Steve Martin and Short last week.

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.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
A.I. Sketch

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.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Hamilton performance by the Broadway Boys.

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.

Maya & Marty - Season 1
Hart cracking up.

 

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.

Maya Rudolph Variety Show Marie Without Donny?

Maya Rudolph Variety Show Marie Without Donny?

After this weekend’s Saturday Night Live, where Maya Rudolph dropped in again to take part in the Jay Z and Solange Elevator fight, the next place to see the lady will be her variety show on Monday, which could be like Marie without Donny. Or you could say Cher without Sonny; Tenille without the Captain, or even the Brady without the bunch. As most of variety shows, “back in the day” usually consisted of a double act, it could feel like Vaya has left something out of the mix.