Eli Manning's Strong First Half Can't Make Up for Terrible Second on 'SNL'

By 05.06.12

Were Jon Gruden to have recapped last night’s episode, he would have said:

Are you kiddin’ me? This guy, after a STRONG first-half, where he showed he’s as good an “SNL” host as he is quarterback in the National Football League, Eli Manning had a rough second half, not worthy of his LEGENDARY pedigree. You’ve got to STEP up your game when the pressure’s on, let me tell you, and Eli fumbled the snap. FUMBLED. THE. SNAP.

Translation: the first six sketches of last night’s “SNL” — from the cold open to “Little Brothers” — were much better than anyone could have expected. Eli Manning isn’t exactly the most charismatic guy, after all (and wasn’t even the host “SNL” wanted). But beginning with the return of Herb Welch and continuing right until the miserably unfunny “Cheech & Chong & Richard” sketch, “SNL” blew the lead and lost by 23. (Sports metaphor!) It wasn’t as good as Peyton Manning’s episode, but also not as bad as Tom Brady’s, either. Clips after the jump.

Cold Open

Two highlights:

1. Bobby Moynihan saying “pandas.”

2. The corrections:

The bullet going through Tupac joke was pretty great, too.


Maybe it’s because I have a fondness for Olive Garden jokes, but I really liked Eli’s Monologue. If he wasn’t a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, he would be the kind of guy who hangs out behind Al Roker and sees Cats on Broadway, and “SNL” positioning him as a lovable doofus throughout the evening was a wise choice. I hate the Giants, and therefore Eli, but I gotta give the guy props. Even with all the monitor reading.

Mother's Day

The Fifty Shades of Grey “SNL” sketch was inevitable, and this was about as good as it could be. The set-up was surprising (it was positioned as an Amazon commercial, not a direct Grey, mommy porn parody) and the picture of Joel McHale on the dryer was perfect.

Motion Capture

This shouldn’t have been good, but because the writers saved Eli’s more bizarre touchdown dances for the end (the grenade throw was hilarious), the sketch only got funnier. Here’s hoping Eli uses the “drop a sandwich, eat the sandwich” move during the regular season.


Text Message Evidence

Usually sketches that require a minute of set-up don’t have worthwhile pay-offs — surprisingly, this one did, effectively painting Eli not as the murderer, but as a sad, lonely, horny man. That’s a good subversion, and the gags within, like Eli’s banana penis and “kewl,” made it one of the highlights of the evening.

Little Brothers

A retread of Peyton’s “United Way” promo, but with an acknowledgment: “My name isn’t Peyton!” “Whatever!”


The Dictator

This didn’t make me want to see The Dictator anymore than I already did, which is to say: not at all.

Helga Lately

Even when he was speaking gibberish, Eli had to look at the monitors.

Miss Drag World

Just terrible. One of the worst of the season.

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