On Saturday Night Live, Maya Rudolph has introduced us to her hilarious impersonations of Maya Angelou, Beyonce and Liza Minnelli, while her starring role in the hit Bridesmaids showed fans that she was capable of carrying her weight on the big screen as well. Now, the actress is back and ready for audiences to see her take her skills in yet another direction, with a one-hour variety show airing May 19 at 10 p.m. on NBC called The Maya Rudolph Show. Rudolph will be joined by her friends Kristen Bell, Andy Samberg, Fred Armisen, Craig Robinson, Sean Hayes, and Chris Parnell. Janelle Monáe will star as the show’s musical guest, while Raphael Saaddiq will serve as bandleader.
“Once I left SNL, I had the bug and couldn't really cure it. It's hard when you perform live on a regular basis and then you stop performing live because it feels like there's a part of you missing,” Rudolph said in a recent press conference. Working on the show Up All Night reignited her desire to get back into television. "This is really something that feels like me and something that I don't – not only do I want to do, but I want to do with as many of my friends, and people that I admire, as possible."
Though the variety show is a thing of the past, Randolph is excited to bring back its format to TV screens across the country. “9 times out 10 some of my ideas tend to be, you know, deep-rooted in the 70s or somewhere that has nothing to do with what's going on now,” said Rudolph.
For those unfamiliar with variety shows, Rudolph hopes that the comedy and musical elements of the show will keep them entertained. Music, after all, has always been deep-rooted in the 41-year-old's life, starting with her mother, soul singer Minnie Ripperton.
“I love doing sketch comedy and I'm a sucker for anything musical because music is such a huge part of my life and such a big love, but I'm really excited by those fun things you get to see in variety shows like when a special guest turns up in a piece and just starts singing a song and it just kind of blows you away,” Rudolph said.
While excited to be on the screen again, Rudolph also hopes that the show will answer to a type of entertainment that is missing from current TV culture. “I certainly just feel like I got lucky in that I've been wanting to do this for so long that it's just good timing. But I do feel like people want this and need this. And I wouldn't say that they're lacking it, but in the sense that there's a whole generation that doesn't even really know TV in this way.”