|Comedian Rates Eli Manning on Saturday Night Live
Categories: Comedy Shows
Posted: May 7, 2012
by Ted Greenberg
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May 5th was a robust day in New York City. Many New Yorkers found ways to celebrate The Kentucky Derby, Cinco de Mayo and New York Giants’ two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning hosting Saturday Night Live. Known for his quiet, reserved Southern charm, Manning, at first blush, doesn’t seem like the idea captain for the long-running late night comedy show. While he didn’t crack my top five all-time SNL hosts, he did receive some favorable feedback.
The reviews are in, and most critics give Eli a very good passing grade. The New York Times football blog, The Fifth Down, gave him props for giving it his all. Dan Good of the New York Post praised him for “a clean showing, solid highlights, no major fumbles.” Entertainment Weekly PopWatch Mark Snetiker raved that “the man [Eli] showed he had courage.”
Eli is known for his late game heroics — fourth down touchdowns and improbably leading the Giants to victory. It’s happened in both Super Bowls and throughout the 2011 – 2012 season. His SNL appearance was exactly the opposite. He started out stronger — with the monologue ranking the hosting gig as the third best night of his life and a commercial about little brothers.
Once he veered into the Scandinavian spoof of Chelsea Lately – ‘Helga Lately’ – the show had turned into a one-note joke. Eli gave it a game try, but asking a man known for his physical, not verbal, prowess to play along and speak ‘gibberish-sounding’ Swedish in his Southern drawl is perhaps asking too much. And for what effect? The skit just didn’t have anything funny to say. Yes, Chelsea Handler, star of Chelsea Lately, loves vodka and is very open about her sex life, particularly in her books. But, there’s not more much to work with other than Fred Armisen playing the Swedish version of Chuy, Chelsea’s small assistant.
And, there’s one thing I can live without seeing again: Eli in drag (see why below). Not a pretty sight, and the skit fell flat. While his cue card reading skills are not top notch and occasionally he seemed nervous, Eli, like any self respecting Giants fan would expect, gave it the old college try, and poured his heart into the episode. Unfortunately, it seems like the writers of Saturday Night Live didn’t know quite what to do with him.
Tags: comedy shows, Eli Manning, Saturday Night Live