Maya Rudolph and Andy Samberg were born to host ‘Baking It’

Welcome to Thanks, I Love It, our series highlighting something onscreen we’re obsessed with this week. 


If you have a sweet tooth, a passion for celebrating seasons, or an immeasurable love of food, you’ve likely watched a holiday baking competition before. But you’ve never seen anything like Baking It.

Peacock’s new six-episode series, which streams Dec. 2, has all the delicious challenges and culinary creativity you crave from a baking competition, with a few special ingredients. Rather than presenting baked goods to another tired table of professional chefs, eight teams of two contestants are at the mercy of four grandmothers who know good food and aren’t afraid to dish out honest criticism. The unique panel of judges helps keep the competition fresh, but the show’s perfectly-paired hosts, Maya Rudolph and Andy Samberg, are the real icing on the cake.

The two IRL friends crack jokes, sing duets, and exude chemistry whenever they share the screen. Their effortless rapport considerably elevates the show, and executive producers Nicolle Yaron and Pip Wells say the decision to cast the comedians was very intentional.

For those who don’t know, Baking It is a spinoff of Making It, the 2018 crafting competition series hosted by another iconic comedy duo, Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. When it came time to brainstorm holiday shows, the executive producers (including Poehler) set out to embody the spirit of the season. They wanted to create a show that celebrated tradition, personality, and human connection. Rudolph was their dream host.

Gelogis

“We were thinking about all the people that Maya has great relationships with, and that we like to hang out with, and that Amy loves, and Andy came to mind. So he came in, and I mean, they’ve known each other since SNL,” Yaron said. “[Amy and Maya] did a very famous “Sweater Weather” skit. They’ve been together forever. The three of them have a long history and a real chemistry, and it was so much like what we wanted the show to be, which is about togetherness.”

Through a series of puns, high fives, heartwarming quips, and bits about topics as random as pineapple pizza, Baking It gives viewers an intimate look at Rudolph and Samberg’s wonderfully zany bond.

“I think all of our favorite bits are just when they make each other laugh,” Wells said. “It felt like the composition every day was just who could make the other person laugh the most.”

“Our biggest struggle on this show was time,” Yaron laughed. “We just kept running out of time. [Andy and Maya] would just talk, and talk. Even the little scenes — the stuff when they’re just off to the side of the cabin chatting with each other — that’s just them all day long. And sometimes Amy comes over and they all start chatting. There’s such fun reminiscing, and stories, and bits.”

I’ve seen three of Baking It‘s six episodes, and so far the culinary competition clearly features an unexpected amount of singing. From the ridiculously catchy theme song to original holiday bangers and an impromptu parody of Rose Royce’s “Car Wash” (inspired by a contestant’s egg wash), Samberg and Rudolph are constantly belting comical lyrics.

“There’s one thing that Nicolle has taught me over the past few years that we’ve worked together: If you can’t make them stop, you lean in,” Wells laughed. “We couldn’t get them to stop singing, so we were like, ‘We are running with this!’ And it was the best decision I think we could have ever made.”

Both hosts love to sing, and they’re great at it, so as soon as they signed on production hired comedy singer-songwriters to help create accompaniments and lyrics. One of Wells’s favorite moments from the show is a song born from sheer spontaneity.

“What was amazing about Maya and Andy is they really did have a revelation on the show. The difference [between] working from scripted for them and working in reality and seeing how it all comes together — it’s fascinating,” Wells said. “But Maya had a real moment of realizing how much she loves pie. Like genuinely, she didn’t realize how much she loved pie until she did the show, to the point that we wrote a song for her called ‘Pie is My Guy.’ I could literally watch it every day.”

“We have such an amazing team that when Maya was like, ‘I want to write an ’80s song about pie, they did,” Yaron added. “They sat in the dressing room, they did it, and then we shot it, and now it exists. That is the beauty of this kind of show. When you have such amazingly talented people and you have the staff and crew around you to support that talent you can kind of do anything — as long as you don’t run out of time, which we did.”

The "Baking It" promo poster shows a woman (Maya Rudolph) and a man (Andy Samberg) popping out of a cake.

Maya and Andy are ready for a big ol’ bake.
Credit: PEACOCK

Whenever the crew needed to tie scenes together they’d utilize a fun musical moment, but in the end, there were too many good songs to include.

“There was so much singing that hit the cutting room floor — some stuff that we couldn’t clear that was amazing, that would have cost a fortune,” Wells said. “But they were just having so much fun with it. And we did, [too]. I remember Nicolle turning around to me one day in the control room and being like, ‘Remember when this was a baking show?'”

When reflecting on their new hosting gigs in Episode 1, Samberg tells Rudolph, “I’m not gonna go so far as to say we were born for this.”

I wholeheartedly disagree. 

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Certainly he and Rudolph were destined for other remarkable things in life, but this show wouldn’t be anywhere near as charming and exuberant with different hosts. Their personalities are magnetic, their banter is enviable, and they successfully deliver a hefty helping of holiday cheer.

They were born to host Baking It, and if you can’t see that then kindly get out of the kitchen.

Baking It is now streaming on Peacock.

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