The two-time-at-the-expense-of-the-Patriots-Super-Bowl-champion QB hosted NBC's "Saturday Night Live" this week and scored a late-night touchdown, as painful as it might have been for Patriots fans to watch. He was as funny as anyone could be who has caused so many New Englanders so much misery.
The show's highlight came when he went right after his big brother Peyton - now QB for Denver Broncos - in an epic Digital Short spoofing the "Little Brothers" (seen above). Eli helped some boys "straighten out" their older siblings by nailing them with dodge balls and a crossbow before slamming an unsuspecting Andy Samberg in a car trunk while referring to him as "Peyton."
Eli called the gig "the third-most exciting night of my life" after the two Super Bowl victories and brought the Giants offensive line with him into Studio 8H. Manning was mercifully humble when referring to his NFL titles during the show. Patriots fans (and Jets fans for that matter) certainly didn't needed to be reminded even once.
"I finally feel like a real New Yorker," he said during a stilted but laugh-out-loud monologue, before answering some tourist questions where he sent a one New York visitor to the Olive Garden in New Jersey for "real Italian food" and another to see "Cats," which left Broadway in 2000:
Eli even "Tebowed" during an "EA Sports Motion Action Shoot" which featured cast members as various NFL players including Tebow, Ray Lewis and Troy Polamalu:Eli was featured as a promiscuous, obsessively-texting defendant who wanted to "admit to the murder" before having to read his internet-search list; portrayed a wise-cracking "Occupy Wall Street" protester; played a contestant on "What is This?" unwilling to commit to his girlfriend (Nasim Pedrad) - who happened to be the game-show's host and got hit on by in during pseudo-Norwegian-language skit "Helga Lately" - where he may or may not have inadvertently dropped an "f-bomb."
Manning even showed his feminine side finishing in third place as "Miss Chicken Fried Steak" during a "Miss Drag World" competition skit:
He/she was not the first New York sports figure to appear in drag on SNL. Derek Jeter played Candy Soriano during his appearance as host in 2001. Manning closed the show as "Richard" - the "All-American wet-blanket friend" and third-wheel who supposedly appeared in several "Cheech & Chong" movies before changing his real-life name to "Mitt Romney."
Manning was not a part of the hilarious instant-classic "50 Shades of Grey"/amazon.com ad, which brought a whole new twist to Mother's Day gift giving and should have your wife and/or girlfriend talking today if not at the office cooler tomorrow:
Manning's stint as host came three months to the day after he and Giants defeated the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI and about four years and three months after he led the Giants over New England in Super Bowl XLII.
Rihanna was the musical guest.
Sacha Baron Cohen did his best to intercept the show with a cameo as Wadiyan Supreme Leader Aladeen - the protagonist in his upcoming flick "The Dictator". The Supreme Leader tortured the real Martin Scorsese during "Weekend Update" to get a positive review for the movie.
Manning appeared comfortable on camera and handled his lines without a turnover and displayed a sense of humor not seen publicly, but he lacked the smooth delivery of his brother or the camera presence of Brady. The show started much stronger than it finished as some of the closing skits appeared labored.
Will Ferrell will return to the SNL stage next week and Mick Jagger hosts on May 19 in the season-finale.
Patriots fans have had at least 19 nervous breakdowns and no satisfaction since Brady hosted on April 16, 2005, two months after the Patriots' third Super Bowl victory. Peyton's turn came on March 24, 2007. Eli was the first sports figure to host the show since Michael Phelps did so in 2008 and the 35th overall.
Here's a clip from Brady's turn at host when he failed to connect at a carnival, sort of fitting:
And here's Peyton's best skit from back in 2007 - his infamous United Way spot, the quasi-inspiration for "Little Brothers."
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