Not that anybody needs to be sold on the greatness of Maya Rudolph at this point, but the former Saturday Night Live and current everything else star unsurprisingly made a fine host on last night’s show. Apart from bringing back her inevitable Kamala Harris, Rudolph was treated to her own, deeply affectionate, definitely spooky SNL tribute movie, in the form of the Stanley Kubrick-inspired “The Maya-ing.” (Like The Shining. You get it.)
Walking the hallowed halls of Studio 8H like the nothing-to-prove SNL icon she is, Rudolph was yet taken aback somewhat by the spectral appearance of an out-of-place in-studio barkeep (Alex Moffat), assuring the returning VIP that her money was no good at Saturday Night Live. And while the spooky mixologist (he made Rudolph her favorite beer-garita) didn’t urge Maya to chop up a disobedient Lorne Michaels or anything, Rudolph was still in for an Overlook’s-ful of spooky visitations.
There was pal Tina Fey, decked out in full Season One garb, perm, and cocaine around her nose as the fictitious SNL writing legend, Gloria Zellwig, who asked if people were still having sex during HR meetings any more. The 30 Rock elevators spilled a tidal wave of red (wine—without COVID-cancelled afterparties, the show just floods the studio with vino and calls it a night). The creepy hallway twins bore a chilling resemblance to one of Kristin Wiig’s most-repeated characters. Kenan Thompson in a bald cap introduced himself as the very Scatman Crothers-looking show cook, whose job is to tell all returning cast members about their phantasm-detecting “shine” (and to open a bag of Baked Lays at craft services and call it cooking). And, finally, there was Rachel Dratch as herself, naked in a bathtub. (Dratch was still alive—she just takes baths at her old job sometimes.)
It’s a meticulously crafted tribute to one of the best who’s ever strapped on a Saturday Night Live wig, and the short film adhered to its source material right to the bitter, creepy ending, as Maya zoomed in on a long-ago cast photo from that 1975 first season—and saw herself standing right next to a young and mustachioed Dan Aykroyd. Some SNL cast members just feel like they’ve always been there.