Maya Rudolph and Martin Short are both gifted comics, both at their best when skewering self-absorbed celebrities. They do that a lot here. If this piece, “My New York — Anna Wintour,” doesn’t make you laugh, then I’m afraid nothing will. Rudolph doesn’t go real easy on Oprah, either.
Maybe the reviewers just don’t get the format: musical numbers, live sketches, video shorts and some slightly-corny dialog at the open. It is reminiscent of all those lame shows in the ’60s and ’70s: Donny and Marie, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gourme, Andy Williams. But the writing is better than any of those, and so are the personalities. For my money, it’s right up there with “The Carol Burnett Show.”
Thus far, it’s certainly more consistently funny than “Saturday Night Live” on any given week. Lorne Michaels produces both shows, which might explain why so many “SNL” veterans have shown up for the first two episodes. Tina Fey was charming in her retro medley with Rudolph in last night’s show. Keenan Thompson has appeared twice now and they’re making good use of him.
I guess I like it for the same reason the critics don’t: It reminds me of a time before tiny screens and video streaming, when you actually sat down with people you liked to watch a show at the time it was scheduled. I hardly ever do that these days. Also — and I’m trying to decide how to put this — the show has a certain kindness about it. It’s not what we like to call “edgy.” Far from it. Maya and Marty want to make you laugh, not necessarily make you cringe in mixed company.
Come to think of it, I’m probably just the sort of viewer this show has in mind: getting older, getting more nostalgic, getting kind of jaded about “shocking moments” and scripted reality. Probably not the demographic of the future. The show probably won’t be around long. But I’m enjoying it while I can.