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Maya Rudolph, Andy Samberg stuffed selves hosting 'Baking It'

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Maya Rudolph, Andy Samberg stuffed selves hosting 'Baking It'
Maya Rudolph and Andy Samberg host "Baking It." Photo courtesy of Peacock

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Maya Rudolph and Andy Samberg said hosting Baking It proved a test of their appetites as well as the contestants' abilities.

Eight pairs of bakers compete in Christmas challenges, and tasting each entry was more work than the hosts anticipated.

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"Some days I questioned my choice," Rudolph told UPI in a Zoom interview. "It was too much food and the sugar made me feel crazy."

Samberg said some days they ate so many sweet desserts it made it challenging to continue filming.

"We would crash and we'd still have more to shoot," Samberg said.

Baking It, premiering Thursday on Peacock, is a cooking variation of the craft competition show, Making It. Amy Poehler executive produces both shows and appears in Baking It to hand off hosting duties to Rudolph and Samberg.

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As Rudolph and Samberg sent one team home at the end of each episode, there were fewer and fewer food samples by the end. Samberg said this also helped hasten production as they had fewer tastings to film.

When each team begins the competition, Samberg and Rudolph wander from team to team to introduce them to the viewers. Both hosts regretted that these formalities sometimes interrupted the contestants.

"We always interrupted their work," Rudolph said. "We tended to chat quite a bit and we kept having to remind them to keep baking, keep working."

Samberg said many teams were star-struck. It was his and Rudolph's job to make them feel comfortable, and continue competing.

"They were like, 'Oh, these are the hosts and we should talk to them and we're on camera' but also they have to bake," Samberg said. "We started feeling guilty that we were messing people up."

Depending on the team, Rudolph or Samberg may have been the bigger distraction.

"It was exactly what I expected, which was people going, 'Oh my God, Maya. I mean, obviously, we like you too,'" Samberg said. "When I'm with Maya in general that's the interaction we get."

Rudolph said that wasn't true and Samberg had just as many fans.

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The part you may not see on Baking It is the actual time the teams spend waiting for each entry to bake. Rudolph said the hosts got a break once the food was in the oven, but the contestants kept working.

"We could take breaks because that's a lot," Rudolph said. "That's like watching paint dry. You don't want to watch something bake, but we got to be there when they were actually cooking and stirring and braising and roasting."

Baking It also called upon Rudolph and Samberg's musical skills. Samberg sings with the band The Lonely Island, and Rudolph was a backup singer before Saturday Night Live. She also sang on SNL as Beyonce and other characters.

Zach Reino and Jessica McKenna wrote the songs for Baking It. Rudolph said McKenna and Reino wrote to the hosts' voices.

"They just seemed to know our stuff and knew how to write for us," Rudolph said. "They whipped those songs out pretty magically."

In between songs and meet-and-greets with the contestants, Rudolph and Samberg narrate the proceedings with a bevy of baking-related puns. Rudolph said she was happy Samberg said "master baker" in the show.

"I think that's my Christmas present," Rudolph said. "I enjoyed trying to make it as awful as possible. I do lean into that quite a bit."

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Samberg said there were likely lots of outtakes of baking puns that didn't wind up in Baking It.

"There's probably seven hours of me and Maya telling dumb puns that they didn't have space for," Samberg said. "I feel like the holidays are mostly about puns."

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