With Rachel Brosnahan, who plays the titular Mrs. Maisel in Amy Sherman-Palladino's Amazon show, hosting the first episode of 2019, it's only natural that Saturday Night Live would take the opportunity to spotlight one of its stars who is an actual stand-up comic: Leslie Jones. And just like Jones herself, her '50s alter ego, Miss Rita, is blunt, crass, and having the absolute most fun onstage. In "The Raunchiest Miss Rita," Midge Maisel encourages Gaslight Café cleaning lady Rita to sign up for open mic night and say "whatever is on her mind," like Midge does. More than an hour later, Miss Rita is still at the mic, calling out audience members for their, um, shortcomings and using fouler language than Midge has ever heard. Not that Midge isn't adept at finding the humor in the every day, and obviously women, then and now, have plenty to get off their chest, but a character like Rita—older, working-class, African-American—actually has life experience that would make for killer stand-up.
The sketch also parodies Midge and her manager Susie's (Aidy Bryant) back-and-forth patter and Susie's style choices: "What's with the hat? Are you a newsie?" And it promises An Even More Exasperated Tony Shalhoub (Kyle Mooney) (Would not mind a spin-off about The Many Aggravations of Tony Shalhoub). After Rita exits the stage, the host for the evening (Mikey Day) quickly introduces clean-cut comic William Cosby (Kenan Thompson), reminding us that the world of Mrs. Maisel is not exactly the real 1950s, despite Lenny Bruce popping up every few episodes, and that a comedian's onstage persona often has nothing to do with their actual character. Take the shy and mild-mannered Miss Rita Mae Johnson, for example: