I wrote a review of The Maya Rudolph Show for The Los Angeles Review of Books that covers topics as wide-ranging as Rudolph’s Prince cover band, the ubiquity of Fred Armisen, and nostalgia for Saturday Night Live:
“Jimmy plays more characters than Jay, Seth is maybe a little more buttoned-down than Conan, and Colbert will likely create a more welcoming space for guests than Dave, but these are all tonal shifts, not structural ones. Pope Francis seems like a way chiller bro than Pope Benedict, but he’s still exorcising people, he’s still cracking down on feminist nuns, the Catholic Church is still the Catholic Church, and The Tonight Show is still The Tonight Show. The new guard may feel new, but the thing they’re guarding is basically unchanged.
So, perhaps as a safety valve for any revolutionary energy NBC might have sitting around unused, perhaps to atone for a total makeover between 11:30 and 1:30 that included not a single woman or person of color outside of the house band, or perhaps simply because Lorne Michaels gets what Lorne Michaels wants these days, we have The Maya Rudolph Show.”