While the The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was earning the top comedy series award at the Producers Guild, its star, Rachel Brosnahan, was parodying the show in her SNL skit. It was the first SNL show in the new year, and Brosnahan’s first year as host.
In the skit, a custodian named Rita May Johnson, played by Leslie Jones, praises Mrs. Maisel (Brosnahan) for her performance, to which she suggests Rita get up on stage and try it herself. Brosnahan remains in character during the entire spoof, complete with her black dress set in her favorite dive, the Gaslight Cafe. Once Rita takes the stage, however, modern-day blatant profanities pour from her mouth. Surprisingly, the crowd takes to it, much as they took to Maisel’s then considered obscene humor. A voiceover introduces the spinoff, with text similar in style to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel announcing The Raunchiest Miss Rita. The voiceover adds that this version is less about style and more in your face.
The skit cuts to Maisel, who asks a man next to her how long Rita has been on stage, to which he replies “an hour and a half.” Even Susie Myerson, Maisel’s manager in the show, makes an appearance. Played by Aidy Bryant, Susie assures her client that Rita is on a whole other level from Maisel and needn’t worry about competition. Maisel pointedly quips something fans have always been wondering: “What’s with the hat? Are you a newsie?” Maisel’s father, originally played by Tony Shalhoub, also appears in the skit, played by Kyle Mooney. The voiceover continues that the Rita series will include “an even more exasperated Tony Shalhoub,” cutting to Mooney making Shalhoub’s signature vexing hand gestures in a very adamant tone. Ironically, Maisel’s father prefers Rita’s set to his own daughters, of which in the second season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel he had found particularly distasteful.
The last plug of the skit was when announcing the next set after Rita: “This next comic is a lot more wholesome, please welcome William Cosby,” to which Cosby, played by Kenan Thompson, steps out.
Unfortunately, ratings dropped after Saturday Night Live’s five week hiatus compared to its last episode of 2018, with host Matt Damon. Even still, it was rated number one in the Big 4 network for the night, and had the second highest ratings in metered-market households.
Watch the skit below.