SNL: S37E20... HOST: ELI MANNING... DATE: MAY 5, 2012



The Night I Expected A Sports Star

And Got Instead A Boring Businessman


Though I don’t like sports at all, as far as SNL goes, I’d say that up to this point they have a ninety-five-percent success rate when it comes to their sports star hosts. I don’t know what it is, because their acting is usually terrible with their eyes locked on the cue cards while delivering each line. At the same time, since they’re often not trying to transition into an acting career, it can seem like they’re there for some genuine fun making them, more often than not, up for some more experiment routines because they just play along with the experts.

I pretty much know Eli only by name since, by the time he hit the scene, I wasn’t even loosely paying attention to sports while hanging out with roommates because I was living alone and had no active fans still in my life. Because of this, I don’t even know the common knowledge complains or positive attributes like I have with sports host from the past, so I’m not all that sure what to expect from this viewing.

Aside from all that, it’s also Christmas Eve as I write this so sorry if this review and sharing of the real-time viewing experience ends up seeming more sloppy and rushed than usual since I am rushing to get things done to head up to my sister’s to celebrate Christmas with the family. With that, it’s time for me to hit play and share what I think of tonight’s show as it goes.

Though I’m growing to not mind the openings once again, now that they’ve broken from the weekly routine of having a talking head talking politics behind a podium, I still get a bit bored by the sketches about Fox News. Not because I think it’s being unfair or anything, but because there only seems to be one note to these jokes that I’ve heard enough and don’t need it continually bashed over my head how Fox News is bad. That said, at least the energy from the sketches about the morning show idiots make it a better start than a political address.

I feel like back in the day I took more pride in my knowledge of NYC from the several trips that I made back when I used to live in Delaware, and one epic journey with some friends. Now, however, I’m no longer as interested in city living in general, so I don’t feel the same sense of wanting to connect and find myself bored with the NYC specific content. Yeah, it can still be fun, but it also can feel like a cheap way to get noise from the hometown crowd. This could be why I wasn’t all that into Eli’s awkwardly read jokes about the city and his interpretation of what fun from his meager New Orleans’ raised perspective.

As side from the jokes in the opening monolog, Eli has the energy of a businessman who thinks he’s funny and not like a sports figure who’s genuinely fun. The Mother’s Day masturbation sketch was kind of fascinating because I think for the first time since I’ve started this challenge that there’s been a sketch that treated female masturbation this way. More casual and for themselves, not a reassurance that woman do it. It was treated more like a given and not just to “keep up,” more like how they joke about masturbation with men.

As I often point out, I used to work in film, and have worked and several movies that have used a green screen. Granted, most of these project weren’t shot in a screen capture room like in the sketch, but I have seen some silly things go down that look hilarious before the final graphics were added, so I got a kick out of the making of Madden ’13 routine. The court case sketch that followed started out slow to the point where it almost felt like a real court case, and since I’m not humored by text messaging perverts, I opted to stay zoned out. Plus, Eli Manning still has the energy of a boring business guy who thinks that he’s good at telling jokes since his staff always laughs at team meetings.

I loved the Little Brothers ad because I like the idea of this organization that not only offers mentoring through its service, but the Big Brother volunteers also take on their little one’s bullies and tormentors. It would be nice to live in a world where the little ones do feel protected with their bullies having an acceptable level of fear of adults. Though none of them have really reached a bully age yet, I’m seeing in my nephew's friends that these new school kids have no fear to say what they want.

Once again, with Eli Manning seeming like a businessman, I didn’t like him in the Occupy Wall Street sketch. Plus, Eli’s slow cue card reading delivery once again made the sketch feel like a real news segment that left me too zoned out to really enjoy the segment. This carried over through Rihanna’s first performance, who I don’t mind, but since I didn’t know either of the two songs that she merged together, it didn’t catch my attention.

I was excited for the news for the first time in a while because Kristen Wiig impersonated Tan Mom who’s been on Howard Stern a lot over the past couple of weeks since she just debuted a new song. I know Tan Mom from these later appearances on Stern and not from her tanning controversy, so I’m looking forward to these early impersonations now that I’m more familiar with the real Patricia’s quirks. As crazy as Kristen Wiig got, she didn’t come anywhere close to catching the craziness of the real woman. She was way too calm while sharing the right line of crazy ideas. That could just be the way the real Tan Mom presented herself while defending tanning before she became more of a tabloid celebrity.

It was also fun to see Sacha Baron Cohen return to the show, because I’m a big fan of all of that guy’s work, even though I’m not always a fan of him when he’s out to promote since his characters can sometimes feel a bit abridged. Also, The Dictator is my least favorite Cohen character, but I still liked his performance on the news. I wanted to like the next sketch this much because I’m a fan of the game show parody genre but Eli’s just too big of a bore so hearing him work through a relationship-based comedic routine was hard to get excited about.

I wouldn’t say that I dislike Chelsea Handler but her TV show started to get big right around the time I quit cable and started to get most of my entertainment from the internet, so I’m not familiar with her work. This means that I didn’t get any of the show specific references making the humor from the sketch that showed a Swedish parody of the show seem more like it was just making fun of the Swedish language with nothing funny outside of the character’s silly voices.

Most of this episode has failed to keep my attention, so I continue to remain zoned out during the second performance from Rihanna because, once again, I wasn’t familiar with the selected song. That said, I did like it better than the first song because there were points that sounded like the Johnny Cash song I’ve Been Every Where.

I’ve become a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race since this episode originally aired so I was intrigued to see how this sketch parody of a drag pageant would handle the culture as a joke now that I know me, reality show expressed details. Though I don’t think the sketch got to the point where it was offensive in what they got wrong, it definitely felt like an outsider take on the drag world that can be more fun than anything that came from this sketch.

I also had high hope for the final sketch that was a parody of Cheech And Chong where Eli played a square who was part of the original trio. I think this was the first sketch of the night that was legitimately fun because Fred Armisen and Bill Hader were great as Cheech And Chong, and the finally found a fit for Eli by having him play his lame self.

I was so happy for Eli to return to the stage to say his good nights. On top of it not being a good show, and me being in a rush to get ready for Christmas Eve my internet services were terrible to the point where it took damn near an hour just to rebuffer through the last three segments, and that almost drove me out of my mind and then drove me more crazy when it started to run smoothly as soon as the Hulu stream was done.

With that, I’m just going to jump right into the details of each sketch and consider this one to be done, as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a parody of another Fox And Friends where Taran Killam, Vanessa Bayer, and Bobby Moynihan played the Fox News morning crew to criticize Obama while annoying Fred Armisen as Rupert Murdoch with all of their on-air errors. Of course, with this being the opening sketch, it eventually led to the announcement of, “Live from New York...”

  2. Eli Manning then officially opened the show with a monolog about what it’s like to live in New York after being picked up by the Giants. He then went on to give some misguided cultural and dining rookie NYC resident suggestions to the audience.

  3. We then got a fake ad for Amazon Kindle that pitched the book reading gadget combined with a digital copy of Fifty Shades Of Grey as a Mother’s Day gift that keeps on giving by providing the perfect erotic literature to meet all of her masturbatory needs.

  4. We then went Behind The Scenes At A Motion Capture Session For Madden ’13 where Eli Manning looked like an idiot with ping-pongs all over his body while he awkwardly attempted to capture his custom victory dance.

  5. Text Message Evidence took us to a trial where Eli Manning played a guy who attempted to prove his innocence in a murder case. To do so, he allowed his attorney, Jason Sudeikis, to read his flirtatious text messages that he was attempting to use as an alibi.

  6. Little Brothers showed us what it would look like if Eli Manning joined a Big Brothers-style program, only instead of being a mentor, he was a big brother type who loved to continually pick on the bullies and real older brothers to his little kid friends.

  7. WXPD News New York brought back Bill Hader’s grumpy old reporter character who was on the scene of Occupy Wall Street on Ash Wednesday where he struggled to care what protestor, Eli Manning was saying while having a gigantic ash mark still smudged on his head.

  8. Rihanna then took to the stage to perform the songs Birthday Cake and Talk That Talk back to back.

  9. Once again, Seth Meyers gave us the news. This week, Kristen Wiig debuted her impersonation of Tan Mom Patricia Krentcil who had to continually moisten her dry throat while trying to defend her recent/controversial tanning behaviors. Sacha Baron Cohen also got a quick segment to plug The Dictator as his character from the film, and he revealed that he had taken Martin Scorcese hostage, who we then got to see as a captured special guest. (Clip 2) (Clip 3)

  10. What Is This? was a game show hosted by Abby Elliot where she takes advantage of her show’s format to question her boyfriend, Eli Manning, about the status of their fledgling relationship and not use the questions that were actually written for the game.

  11. Helga Lately was a Swedish parody of Chelsea Handler’s similarly named show, where Kristen Wiig played the Swedish version of the talk show host to flirt with her guest while using a Swedish accent.

  12. Rihanna then returned to the stage to perform Where Have You Been?

  13. Miss Drag World 2012 showed us the results of a Drag runway contest where Eli Manning as a drag performer named Chicken Fried Steak was so upset by his as her third-place showing that he disrupted the rest of the pageant and even attempted to steal the trophy.

  14. Turner Classic Movies: The Essentials then gave us a parody of a Cheech And Chong film that was supposed to be from when Eli Manning was part of the team as a square third wheel who kept ruining the two stoner’s fun.

  15. Finally, Eli Manning closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Though I hated tonight’s episode as a whole for multiple reasons, at least these three sketches that contained my three favorite moments of the night were at least a little fun. First, I loved Turner Classic Movies: Cheech, Chong, and Richard because the Cheech and Chong impersonations were one of the few things from this evening to get me to laugh. Next, I really liked the Little Brothers because I like that it promoted the protection of little kids from bigger bullies. Finally, I was a fan of the fake Amazon Kindle ad because I thought it was a refreshing take that flipped the script by featuring women as random masturbators just like men and not that their fantasy time was more sensual and/or male exclusive.


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Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.