‘SNL’ thinks Maya Rudolph is Mother. But can her Beyoncé survive ‘Hot Ones’?

After a dozen cameo appearances, Rudolph hosted ‘SNL’ for the third time.

‘SNL’ thinks Maya Rudolph is Mother. But can her Beyoncé  survive ‘Hot Ones’?
Maya Rudolph and Kenan Thompson during SNL. / NBC

My hopes were not high for this episode. I know that Maya Rudolph is a beloved former cast member for many SNL fans, but I’ve found it hard to appreciate her work on the show when she’s never actually left.

Seriously, take a look at her page on the SNL wiki. While this episode was only Rudolph’s third time hosting, she’s made a dozen cameo appearances since leaving the show in 2007. (Part of that was during Lorne Michaels’ obsession with celebrity cameos that saw Rudolph playing Kamala Harris alongside Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump and Jim Carrey’s Joe Biden. Dark times.)

This wasn’t even Rudolph’s first time on SNL this season. She and Kristen Wiig bizarrely took over Kate McKinnon’s episode a few months ago despite not actually being part of McKinnon’s SNL cast cluster. (If anyone should’ve cameoed during that episode, it would’ve been Aidy Bryant.)

After a rocky monologue, though, Rudolph wound up delivering an entertaining and by-the-numbers episode of SNL. There wasn’t a single cameo. No Kristen Wiig. No Fred Armisen. We only got one recurring character from Rudolph’s tenure on SNL. (No, it wasn’t Donatella Versace.)

SNL has been chasing the high of the Ryan Gosling episode for a few week’s now. The now infamous “Beavis and Butt-Head” sketch even got a mention during this weekend’s cold open. While Dua Lipa last week and Rudolph this week did their best as hosts, it’s been impossible to match the chaotic energy of Gosling’s hosting gig. Does Jake Gyllenhaal have the weirdo vibes to break that streak next weekend?

Happy Mother’s Day, Popculturology readers.

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Mother’s Day Cold Open

SNL loves Mother’s Day. If it’s Mother’s Day, expect to see the mothers of the SNL cast at some point during an episode. As Kenan Thompson pointed out at the top of this week’s episode, the show took “a break from a regular cold open” to shine the spotlight on its mothers.

  • “You grew up so fast. But not so high.” Man, even Marcello Hernandez’s mom is in on SNL’s love of making short jokes about him.
  • “It’s just crack”: Was Steve Higgins not available to show up as John Higgins’ actual dad? I assume he’s already in the building for Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show.


I don’t know. Maybe I’m not the target audience for what SNL was doing with Rudolph’s monologue, but it fell flat for me. It felt very “look at me” while not actually landing a laugh. What was the purpose of Rudolph listing a bunch of SNL moments like Schweddy Balls and Lisa from Temecula? (SNL has also clearly established that Sarah Paulson is Mother.)