Maya Rudolph is certainly no stranger to Saturday Night Live these days, as her pinch hitting as Kamala Harris has gotten her a lot of time on air in recent months. The former SNL cast member hosted on an episode that showed the wide range of talents that made her a standout as a cast member.
Rudolph did, however, bring her Harris impression back to Studio 8H during the episode, serving as the show’s political sketch after the cold open detailed spring break chaos in Miami. But the “Kamala Harris Unity Seder” featured a wide range of political impressions, including a cameo from another former SNL great that got people talking on social media. Harris took the opportunity to debut her husband, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, who was played by a timid and surprisingly frisky Martin Short.
The joke of the sketch was that Emhoff, Harris’s “Semitic smoke show” isn’t fond of the cameras and attention, but at home he’s as loving as a partner can be.
“I’m just a shy entertainment lawyer,” Short said before Rudolph calmed him down about impending company by telling him to “act like it’s just us.” Then things got, well, a bit intimate for a bit. Short got close to Rudolph, hugging her from behind as the two exchanged a sensual back and forth about how much Emhoff loves Harris even if he isn’t always around to show it.
Martin Short playing @DouglasEmhoff on SNL
And of course Maya Rudolph as VP pic.twitter.com/5DsZO7V6ud
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) March 28, 2021
Ted Cruz then showed up, with jokes about his haircut and penchant for trying to undermine democracy mentioned once again.
“My only crime is loving too much,” Aidy Bryant’s Cruz said. “And sedition.”
Ella Emhoff, played by Chloe Fineman, swooped in to drop some looks. And Kenan Thompson playing newly elected Georgia senator Raphael Warnock, who came by to talk about voting rights restrictions in Georgia. There was even a Joe Biden appearance, which poked fun at his using cheat sheets at his first press conference as president. He also brought back Major, which allowed Short to do a bit of physical comedy and wrestle with a dog puppet.
Marjorie Taylor Greene also came in through the window, issuing a screed against doors. But as the sketch continued, and Rudolph and Short embraced once again, the major reaction online was how about how uncomfortable Rudolph appeared to be with Short grabbing her waist during the sketch. It appeared that she may have even tried to guide his hands further down her body during the segment. Some were also bothered by the sketch’s finish, with Short’s Emhoff saying he “wants” Rudolph, moving his mouth closer to her for what looked like a forced kiss as the show went to commercial.
Several people commented online about the apparent awkwardness of the sketch, and debated whether it was played for laughs or if Rudolph was actually made uncomfortable by Short.
— Shadé (@shadeyxo) March 28, 2021
(If you haven’t watched it, pay attention. If you have, watch again and focus on each of their hands … and Maya seemingly keeping his from moving any further up her body.)
— Tim Ball (@tball) March 28, 2021
— Marie C (@9woodMac) March 28, 2021
Did Martin Short just sexually assault Maya Rudolph twice?
— Ryan T. Fosmark (@OctaFoz) March 28, 2021
*Martin Short shows up on SNL*
Me: "Oh, cool, nostalgia!"
*Martin Short sexually assaults Maya Rudolph*
— vulgarcfh77 (@vulgarcfh77) March 28, 2021
— Jennifer Jones (@jones_jenrae28) March 28, 2021
In the closing credits, Rudolph made a point to say “I love Martin Short a lot” and they shared a masked kiss while credits rolled.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) March 28, 2021
But it was something that many people noted in the moment when the sketch aired, something that continued to gain attention on Sunday as well.