In the end, I'm sure Peyton Manning approached his staring roll as host of Saturday Night Live the same way he prepared for the Superbowl. I bet he watched tape of Tom Brady's turn as host a few years ago, and I just bet he pulled the cast together and pumped them up to have a great show.
After watching the whole show a few times, and a select number of the skits a few more times, I can say it's one of the funniest episodes of SNL I've seen in a long time. This cast is really starting to pull together, and there are a lot of really funny members, with Darrell Hammond as their elder statesman. The likes of Fred Armisen, Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, and Andy Samberg are turning out top notch skits, and actual funny characters.
Manning was also very good, despite the obvious limitations that come with being a fish out of water. He wasn't too stiff and could only be seen to read from the Cue cards a few times. He had a few good lines in the "Penelope" sketch with Wiig where he was confronted with a woman who had to say she had done more than all in attendance at a party. "Well, I've lost 20 pounds...sooooo"
He played himself in a mock United Way spot, but he should have had a goatee, because he was "the Evil Peyton Manning." Inky and I both almost fell off the sofa when he gathered the kids around and told them "I'll kill a snitch. I'm not saying I have. I'm not saying I haven't." We also hit the back button on the Tivo every time he hit a kid with the football. I'm sorry to all the parents out there but it's just funny when kids get hurt.
Most athletes come on SNL and play themselves a few times, and I was happy to see that Peyton only really did that once. He did have a few other sports related characters including the guy who has a near perfect bracket, but is losing to a woman who knows nothing about sports. He also did a crazy dance as the captain of a basketball team that was getting their asses handed to them.
In the end I have to say 'that's good work out of you' Peyton, The Cast and the Writers of SNL. It was a quality hour and a half of TV. And Will Forte was fantastic on the news. "Jack Abramov. But I barely know Abram." Classic. If you don't get it, say it out loud.