In the history of "Saturday Night Live," there's been maybe only one athlete who managed to put in a good performance hosting "Saturday Night Live": Peyton Manning. This Saturday, Peyton's little brother (and reigning Super Bowl MVP) Eli took his shot at the gig. Did he live up to his brother, or embarrass himself? Let's take a look:
Eli's monologue hit everything that's likable about the quarterback: His self-deprecating "aw shucks" charm, his support for his offensive lineman, his total inability to even try to be a "real" New Yorker. SNL's writers steered clear of gimmicks, and just let Eli do his thing.
Even though he's a man grown, there's a part of Eli Manning that will always be a child. That's why we enjoyed "Motion Capture" so much. It just got out of the way and let Eli get goofy. (Also, wow, if you didn't know SNL did not employ a particularly diverse cast, you certainly did after this sketch.)
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"Text Message Evidence" was Eli's best sketch that didn't involve him playing himself. He mostly had to let Jason Sudeikis do the work here, and he did it with aplomb. His frat-boy looks, too, helped sell the character.
"Little Brothers" was a touch too imitative of Peyton's famous "United Way" short, but was nearly as hilarious. No matter how many Super Bowls he win, Eli will always be a little brother, and props to the SNL writers for noticing how much more comfortable he was at playing himself:
Can anyone explain what was supposed to be funny about the "Ms. Drag World" sketch. Credit to Eli for going all out with the dress and the makeup, but there was no throughline to the sketch, and barely any jokes at all.
"Herb Welch Occupy" had Eli in a supporting role as an Occupy Wall Street leader. He didn't look too unconvincing, but didn't really nail his lines, or the timing of the final punchline.
"Helga Lately" was hilariously surreal in its first half, and they probably should have cut it there. The second half, with Eli, dragged, and the younger Manning wasn't as fluent in fake Swedish as the pros were.
"What Is This?" had a hilarious premise, but cast Eli in role that was a little too much for him. In what was essentially a two-person sketch with Abby Elliott, he couldn't hold up his end.
"Cheech and Chong" also had a great premise, using Eli's '50s style squeaky-cleanness to its advantage, but a hammy Manning couldn't sell the punchlines.