Rapid reaction: Eli's night on 'SNL'
May, 6, 2012
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com
Eli Manning hosted his first “Saturday Night Live” and as is often the case with sports figures who host the show, there are some funny moments and not-so-funny moments.
But considering how the clean-cut Manning is so politically-correct and safe during media interviews with reporters, it was interesting to see the quarterback in a different light on “SNL.”
One of his characters was a man on trial for murder whose lawyer argues for his innocence by showing all the desperate booty call-type text messages he sends to female friends during the alleged time of the crime, including a funny suggestive text photo involving a banana.
It actually was kind of funny to see “SNL” writers have Manning talk several times using adult language dialogue. We may never hear Eli utter some of the words he did on "SNL" ever again.
He also dressed up in various costumes from acting as a hippy protestor to a blonde Swedish athlete to a drag queen named “Miss Chicken Fried Steak” (eat your heart out Derek Jeter).
And yes, he “Tebowed.”
We do rapid reactions following Giants games so why not one after Eli’s performance on "SNL"?
THE OPENING MONOLOGUE: Naturally, Manning looked a bit stiff and nervous in the opening monologue. But what non-actor or comedian or politician wouldn’t?
Manning came out in a sharp suit and opened the show by talking about how he loves New York and how the city has embraced him and the Giants.
He talked about the Giants’ Super Bowl parade down the Canyon of Heroes and joked how the team doesn’t know where the Vince Lombardi trophy is anymore after taking it into the city. He pointed into the crowd toward friends who were there to support him and naturally it was some of his most trusted offensive linemen as Chris Snee, David Diehl, David Baas and former Giants center Shaun O’Hara were in the audience.
“I’m a little out of my element but I have some guys here who always have my back –- my offensive line," Manning said. "They go with me everywhere… parties, restaurants, they were even in the room with me and my wife when our daughter was born.”
Manning then said he feels like a true New Yorker and did a Q&A with tourists in the audience –- all "SNL" actors –- asking various questions about New York such as where to find good Italian food. Manning said to go to New Jersey to Olive Garden.
During the monologue, Manning rushed a bit and talked through some laughter without pause. But again, it’s perfectly understandable. Manning said earlier in the week he was going to be nervous and would probably settle down as the show went on.
“Hopefully the crowd will laugh,” Manning said in a video on Giants.com earlier this week. “That’ll be good to kind of get my first laugh. Obviously in a football game it’s kind of nice to get that first completion. I think come Saturday, just getting that first laugh will help relax me.”
FUNNIEST MOMENT: Peyton Manning’s United Way skit when he yelled at kids and fired footballs at them when he hosted the show in 2007 became one of the best pieces done by an athlete host on “SNL.”
So naturally, “SNL” had Eli do a bit of a spinoff by doing a “Little Brothers Program” bit on boys overcoming adversity.
“Hi, I’m Eli Manning and I am a proud ambassador to the ‘Little Brothers’ program,” Manning says with cheesy music playing. “Our organization helps kids build confidence, reach their goals and overcome adversity, especially when that adversity is an older sibling.”
Manning is seen comforting a kid who has been bullied by an older brother. In the next scene, Manning is waiting in the kids' bedroom as the older brother walks in. The older brother says, “Are you Eli Manning?”
A scowling Manning replies angrily, “Nope, I’m your worst [bleeping] nightmare.”
Manning then holds the older brother upside down over a toilet and is seen throwing another older brother of another kid in the trunk of a car.
“Maybe now you will learn to treat your younger brother with some respect Peyton!” Manning screams.
“My name is not Peyton!” the actor replies.
“Whatever!” Manning replies.
This short video recorded around the city was easily Manning’s best moment on “SNL.”
TEBOW AND ELI: Of course, there had to be a Tim Tebow skit with Manning. “SNL” did an EA Sports bit in which several football players struck celebratory poses for a video game.
A comedian portraying Tebow struck the Jets’ quarterback’s famous pose. An actor playing Victor Cruz also did Cruz’s salsa dance. But Manning, who only raises his arms in the air after touchdown passes, attempted several touchdown celebrations including Tebowing, pretending to throw a grenade after scoring but letting out a loud shriek in fear and pretending to make a sandwich, dropping it on the floor and then picking it up and eating it off the ground while hoping no one notices. And he did all of this while wearing a tight motion capture suit.
LEAST FUNNIEST MOMENT: There were a few of these but some of the skits probably would not have been funny even if Eddie Murphy was the host.
In one skit, Manning played an occupy Wall Street protestor being interviewed by an older reporter who offends everyone. In another skit, Manning plays a Swedish athlete being interviewed on the Swedish equivalent of E!’s “Chelsea Lately” called “Helga Lately.” The only thing funny about either skit was that Manning wore wigs for each of them. But Manning had
Otherwise, I have to say, Manning did about as good as expected for his first time on “SNL” and with what was written for him. I was disappointed that Manning, who loves to karaoke, did not sing. I guess we’ll have to wait for him to win another Super Bowl to be back on “SNL.”
What did you guys think of Eli’s performance? Tell us below.