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‘SNL’ 40th Anniversary Special Served as Unofficial Audition for ‘Maya and Marty’

Not much is known about NBC’s upcoming Maya Rudolph and Martin Short variety show, “Maya and Marty,” other than its two title stars. But after a short panel on Friday that served as the show’s first introduction to the press, one thing’s for sure: it will be very, very funny.

Speaking to critics and reporters at NBC’s annual Summer Press Day in Thousand Oaks, Calif., the pair showed off their well-known comedic chops, cracking up the room through impromptu monologues and witty banter, proving that they certainly do have comedic chemistry together.

Prior to the variety show being greenlit, which was first reported by Variety, the dynamic duo clicked when they were paired up for “Saturday Night Live’s” 40th anniversary special last year in a bit that had Rudolph reprise her Beyonce impersonation. That skit was a hit, and both Rudolph and Short agree that the show served as their unofficial audition.

“He actually paired us up on the ‘SNL’ 40th anniversary, I think, to see how it fit,” Rudolph said, speaking of “SNL” guru Lorne Michaels, who is exec producing “Maya and Marty.”

When asked how the variety show came about, Short replied, “There was no pilot to our show — except I would say the 40th anniversary.”

While writing rooms have commenced in L.A. and New York, the duo insists they don’t know the exact format of their show, which will air from Studio 6A in Rockefeller Center — though Rudolph did promise “a lot of nudity, non-stop. Full frontal. Full back-al” — but they are hoping to mirror one piece of “SNL’s” 40th anniversary: the multitude of notable guest stars.

The anniversary show had “endless surprises because it had such a large amount of people guesting on it — that’s kind of what we’re striving for,” Short said. “We’re contacting everyone. Between Lorne, Maya and I, we’ve met a lot of people that seem to be interested in appearing on the show.”

While the “Saturday Night Live” skit may have served as the first piece of the puzzle that is now “Maya and Marty,” Rudolph did make mention of her 2014 NBC special. “The show I did before is kind of a precursor to this,” she said, sharing that ever since she left “SNL,” she had wanted to continue performing with fellow performers. “We’re so performance-driven in terms of performing in front of an audience.”

As for landing a sparring partner in Short, that’s something Rudolph never could have anticipated.

“Lorne and I were talking about the special I had done a while ago and I said, ‘God, I would really love to have Marty on the show,'” she recalled, remembering when Michaels brought up Short’s name and the prospect of a full-blown show. “I thought, ‘He can’t mean a show with Martin Short because that guy is never going to do that.'”

Though she raved about her co-star and expressed she is constantly in awe of him, in true Rudolph form, the comedienne couldn’t help but to crack a joke about finding her perfect partner.

“I was really just waiting until it was right, and it wasn’t right until I made a glass loafer and I went around the kingdom until I found someone it fit,” she deadpanned. Appropriately, Short cut her off: “I just thought it was Lorne.”

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