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.
Of course not all popular 1960’s and 70’s variety shows consisted of a pleasant duo. Carol Burnett, the grande dame of variety television, worked “on her own” with an intimate regular cast that included Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, Ernie Anderson (as the announcer) and a glittering array of guest stars that included some of the most talented and famous entertainers of the time.
Burnett’s show became an institution and has even been used as a pop culture reference on SyFy channel’s Warehouse 13 where Saul Rubinek and Eddie McClintock, in the episode Savage Seduction, have to enter a Telenovela where they will “become” characters in the show. Rubinek’s character hands a pair of cufflinks to McClintock’s character which “belonged to Harvey Korman” who, according to the two men in the show, continually “broke character” on The Carol Burnett Show.
This very abbreviated look at variety shows on television has a common thread. This type of TV pretty much died out after the 1970’s and was on its way out when the much maligned The Brady Bunch Variety Hour limped off into oblivion. Maya Rudolph and her variety show may not be so much Marie without Donny as Carol Burnett without Tim Conway or good old Harvey Korman.
The show will premiere on Monday May 19, on NBC at 10 p.m., and the news is that Maya will have a lot of her Saturday Night Live pals and colleagues show up to help get started on her solo variety journey. Rudolph has been the “go to” gal on SNL for impressions, her list of “accomplishments” include Beyonce, Lucy Liu, Paris Hilton, Tina Turner and many more, so in essence she shares the comic chameleon skills that Burnett has been famous for.
The Maya Rudolph Show promises to hark back more to the days of Carol Burnett and her gang. The comedy skits, a little singing, special guest stars and a lot of comedic talent from Rudolph. The 41 year-old performer has said that she grew up watching Burnett, Donny and Marie, and other variety shows. The entertainer comes from a musical background, her mother was singer Minnie Riperton who died when Maya was six.
Now the SNL veteran will have her own variety show. Maya Rudolph may have a Marie without Donny feel initially, but she will not be on her own. Besides her old chums from the Saturday Night Live cast, other pals like Kristen Bell, Sean Hayes and Craig Robinson will be helping out in the show’s premiere. The variety show will air on NBC at 10 p.m. on Monday, May 19.
By Michael Smith
Go San Angelo