Eli Manning on 'Saturday Night Live'
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Eli Manning was the first overall pick in his draft class, has been named to two Pro Bowl teams and been the MVP of two Super Bowls. But for almost all of his NFL career, he’s been compared to only one player: All-time great Peyton Manning.
So naturally, when Eli Manning took the hosting reigns of “Saturday Night Live” this week, everyone wanted to compare him to only one previous host: All-time great Peyton Manning.
That may have been the impetus behind one of the most memorable sketches in Eli’s show. While Peyton lampooned a “United Way” commercial in 2006, picking on and cursing at kids while playing football, Eli took a different angle. He was a spokesman for a program called “Little Brothers” in which he helps younger siblings overcome the bullying from older family members.
“We know that big brothers can be real -- -- heads,” he said during the filmed segment in which he dunked various older brothers in a toilet, chased them down, and even locked them in the trunk of a car.
“Maybe now you’ll treat your little brother with some respect, Peyton!” Eli yelled while staring menacingly at Andy Samberg who is in that trunk. When Samberg explained that his name isn’t Peyton, Eli said “Whatever” and slammed the trunk closed on him.
Watch the "Little Brothers" clip:
Just as he promised earlier in the week, Manning had no problem poking fun at himself or his famous family. Wearing a black leotard, he mocked his lack of personality on the field by struggling to come up with a touchdown celebration for the new Madden video game (he attempted Tebowing before settling on awkwardly eating a sandwich off the floor).
Manning also took some perceived jabs at the Jets. Besides the Tebowing, Manning appeared in a sketch in which he played a defendant who has to read aloud some lewd and bawdy texts. At one point he has to describe a photo of himself holding a banana in a suggestive manner. Brett Favre, anyone?
Those were the highlights and the scenes in which Manning looked the most comfortable, even mugging for the camera with his tongue out to imitate an emoticon. His first few minutes on the show were a little more bumpy. The opening monologue included a shoutout to four of his offensive linemen in the audience (Chris Snee, David Diehl, David Baas and Shaun O’Hara) but some stiff reading off the cue cards as he answered questions from the “audience” about what to do while in New York (“Go to Olive Garden, see “Cats”) that lampooned his aw-shucks persona.
Watch Eli Manning's monologue:
Just as he showed in his championship season, though, Manning was able to come back strong and finish.
Manning also appeared in some other less-memorable sketches, including one in which he appeared on a newscast as an Occupy Wall Street organizer and another in which he was a contestant on a gameshow hosted awkwardly by a would-be girlfriend. He also appeared as Eliasson Mannerheim, a Swedish football player being interviewed on a Swedish version of “Chelsea Lately” in which he recited gibberish interspersed with football clichés (“There’s no I in flurfenfleegen”).
In between were performances by musical guest Rihanna, the “Weekend Update” staple of the program, and a brief salute to Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys who died on Friday. The show ended with Manning in a dress playing a runner-up in the “Miss Drag World” pageant (who would have thought Manning in drag would NOT be the most disturbing image of the show thanks to that banana?) and a wet-blanket third-wheel in Cheech and Chong movies.
Naturally, “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels was asked earlier in the week who the funnier Manning was: Eli or Peyton. He didn’t answer, saying instead that we’d find out when the show aired.
Who’s funnier now that we’ve seen the program and compared it to Peyton’s hosting stint? I’d tell you, but I don’t want to get locked in the trunk of a car.