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 This is a show I desperately want to like but thus far the show’s output is outdated, forced, too long and only occasionally funny.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.
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.
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.
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.