Maya & Marty (and Tina & Steve): What Were the Best and Worst Sketches?

Tina Fey returned to her old 30 Rock stomping grounds on Tuesday alongside Maya & Marty‘s first second-time guest.

Steve Martin, who briefly appeared during Episode 1, brought his banjo along for Week 2 of NBC’s summer variety venture.

SNL‘s primetime equivalent followed up on its May 31 debut with sketches involving improper forms of etiquette, gropey ventriloquist dummies and Oprah Winfrey’s favorite things. The hour also featured special guests Nathan Lane, Sean Hayes and Drake, the latter of whom was sorely missing from all but one segment in which he was interviewed by Short’s intolerable Jiminy Glick.

Overall, the hour firmed up initial suspicions that Maya & Marty isn’t about to reinvent the wheel, and is perfectly comfortable being a substitute for the Peacock’s flagship sketch program during its summer hiatus. With that in mind, let’s stick to our usual method of selecting the best and worst sketches of the evening:

Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph lived out their dream of being on an old-fashioned variety show by sitting on some incredibly classy and unsafe bar stools while committing to some delicate ’70s microphone work. Together, they sang a medley of songs, including Dionne Warwick’s “Never Fall in Love Again” and a cover of Captain and Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together” while impersonating Charo. Later, Fey taught Rudolph how to (successfully?) make up a Joni Mitchell song on the spot.

Middle-aged hipsters Itchard and Atricia took their son Daniel out for the world’s worst birthday dinner. While we knew things were going south once Atricia asked for juice originating from a nonexistent fruit and Itchard claimed to be shopping for a boat in his head, the night only got worse when friends Pristella and an unnamed man arrived after attending a cat’s bar mitzvah. Later, Atricia’s “night husband” Blucas (Sean Hayes) showed up with his harmonica to (poorly) cover a Kelly Clarkson classic.

Short’s accent in this bizarre instructional home-video sketch was like a cross between Mick Jagger and Frasier Crane. Though wildly OTT, it perfectly suited the eponymous instructor who inadvertently gave a group of seemingly well-behaved children a lesson in improper social cues.

Steve Martin and Martin Short portrayed ventriloquist Bob and his dummy Jasper, who somehow came alive on his own when jazz singer Miranda Mallomar caught his eye. What followed was two minutes of uncomfortable groping as bandleader Manny looked on in horror.

To paraphrase Connor Grayfield, this felt like the worst one. Nathan Lane portrayed the aforementioned actor who was kidnapped and held for ransom. When his abductor attempted to have him read a ransom note on tape, the thespian was more concerned with getting the lighting right than making it out alive. He was eventually released by his kidnapper due to “creative differences,” which was about the only funny thing about this sketch.

What did you think of Maya & Marty‘s second episode? Was it an improvement on Week 1? Grade the hour below, then drop a comment with your full review.

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