Skip to content

Janelle Monae Will Electrify ‘The Maya Rudolph Show’ on NBC

Janelle Monae, 'The Maya Rudolph Show,' Raphael Saadiq, NBC

Maya Rudolph has a variety-show special coming to NBC next month, and it will feature Janelle Monáe as a musical guest and Raphael Saadiq as bandleader. Vulture posted the first photo from the set of The Maya Rudolph Show earlier today, and it looks like the program will put the former Saturday Night Live cast member’s musical chops to good use. Or at the very least, her dancing chops.

The recently taped one-hour special is set for May 19 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. It could reportedly become a weekly series, which — yes, please, NBC. Guest stars for the debut include Fred Armisen, Kristen Bell, Sean Hayes, Chris Parnell, Craig Robinson, and Andy Samberg.

Monáe, who joined OutKast onstage at Coachella and recently dueted with M.I.A. via “hologram,” is coming off the excellent 2013 album The Electric Lady. Throwback soul and R&B lion Saadiq — of the late, great Tony! Toni! Toné! — has been quieter since 2011’s rewarding solo effort Stone Rollin’, though he did play bass on Elton John’s 2013 LP The Diving Board and sings on lascivious track “Balmain Jeans” from Kid Cudi’s 2014 Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon. It would be thrilling to see Saadiq fill a Questlove-like role on a network TV show.

Rudolph’s music credentials check out, too: Her mother was Minnie “Loving You” Ripperton, and she’s been known to perform full-length Prince cover sets. Perfect preparation for joining Monáe on a rendition of The Electric Lady‘s “Q.U.E.E.N.,” maybe? Or is it too much to hope they’ll make like Arcade Fire and Beck at Coachella and do a full-on cover from, say, the soon-to-be-reissued Purple Rain

Hear an extended version of Tony! Toni! Toné!’s 1993 “If I Had No Loot” below, because it’s on YouTube and you have ears.


Check out Monae and M.I.A. in holographic form: