From the creator of Saturday Night Live, Tony winner Martin Short and Emmy nominee Maya Rudolph join comedic forces for an all new NBC variety show. Maya & Marty features music, belly laughs and an ever-changing roster of guest stars; among those who have already performed with the dynamic duo include Miley Cyrus, Larry David, Drake, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Tom Hanks and Steve Martin. We catch up with the charismatic pair on the eve of their third episode, which airs at 10 PM on June 14 on NBC.
How did the two of you get together and how did Maya & Marty come about?
Maya Rudolph: [It started when we] were connected through our Saturday Night Live channels. Lorne Micheals [SNL creator and executive producer] thought that we had a lot in common as performers and put us together for the 40th anniversary of SNL just over a year ago.
Martin Short: [Maya and I] were in charge of the section that combined music and comedy together because we’d done so many musical things throughout the years. He also brought in Marc Shaiman and Fred Armisen and the four of us would meet at Marc’s studio and rehearse and go out for dinners.
Suddenly, you’re working on something creatively but you’re also laughing, improvising and fooling around. It became apparent that we both had an innate chemistry with each other. You sometimes meet people and you feel like you’ve known that person for 20 years – there was a little bit of that going on.
Maya, what kind of SNL flavor are you bringing to Maya & Marty?
MR: I really cut my teeth at SNL and learned all of the things that I know about variety there. I guess it’s hard for me to distinguish between SNL and me at this point.
I’m a team player. Marty and I both come from improv backgrounds – him Second City and me, The Groundlings – and that’s what I brought to Saturday Night Live and that’s what I bring to this. I don’t enjoy performing solo; I like to perform with others and I like the performance aspect to be joyful.
Martin, will you bring an element of Broadway to the show?
MS: I think I bring me to the show, just like I bring me to Broadway…. Performing in front of an audience is that extra thing that empowers you.
MR: It’s exhilarating and infectious. It’s really important to see where jokes land and what’s working… It’s also been informative for us to see what elements of our chemistry they pick up on.
Can you reveal any surprises coming up on Maya & Marty?
MS: We don’t have Obama sneaking up, dressed as a turkey.
MR: I wish we did though.
Is there anything you wouldn’t do on the show?
MS: No frontal nudity for this boy.
MR: And that’s where we differ.
MS: I don’t think that we’re terribly political. I think so many people are doing that.
MR: That’s true, I think it’s an expectation of comedy right now. I think it’s important to differentiate that this is more of a performance-based show.
MS: We also don’t want to lose half our audience by being on the other side. Let’s face it, if we did a political show, it wouldn’t be a love letter to the Führer Trump.
Who would be your dream guests to have on the Maya & Marty?
MR: Bette Midler; Carol Burnett; Tim Conway; Harvey Korman – I wish he were here. And we’ve had Steve Martin; that was one of my dream guests so that was really exciting for me
MS: Fred Armisen and Bill Hader.
If you could make a guest appearance for one night on any Broadway show, what would it be?
MS: Hamilton! Just to get tickets. I’d play the King.
MR: That song is so perfect and you would nail it.
MS: It’s a pretty good song. And only 13 minutes on stage – my kind of show.
MR: I couldn’t be in Shuffle Along because I don’t know how to shuffle but boy would I love to. They were unbelievable. Oh Audra, I love her.
What can we expect from tonight’s show?
MR: Tonight’s show is choc-full of goodness. It’s full in the best way possible.
MS: We have a lot of great guests: Ben Stiller, Kevin Hart, John Cena, Nick Jonas and Eva Longoria.
Watch a clip from the show, featuring guest star Larry David, below:
Maya & Marty airs Tuesdays at 10pm on NBC. For more information visit NBC.com/maya-and-marty