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Eli Manning Brings 50 Shades of Banana-Dick Greatness to "Saturday Night Live"

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 6, 2012 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 6, 2012 |

Four years after his brother arguably became the best athlete-host in the history of “SNL,” Eli Manning, at the very least, matched him through the first half of the show before trailing off in the latter half. The episode was a strong one up until Sacha Baron Cohen showed up during the news; everything after that was your typical, uninspired filler skits. But Manning, in either case, acquitted himself well throughout, although athletes hosting “SNL” are a lot like fathers taking care of the kids for an afternoon. Expectations are never really that high. “All the kids survived. Blood loss was minimal. What a great Dad!” Likewise, Manning managed to read most of his lines well, with a minimum level of charm, but where he mostly excelled was in playing against type. Sports heroes saying “dickhead” on television will never get old.

Believe it or not, last night’s Cold Open — another “Fox and Friends” skit — was actually topical AND funny. It’s one of the few times I can abide by Bobby Moynihan.

Eli’s Monologue left a lot to be desired, but I appreciated his hutzpah.

The highlight of the night goes to this Mother’s Day Commercial. I won’t ruin the surprise.

Eli poked some fun at his lack of enthusiasm during games with this Madden celebration dance skit.

Likewise, Manning was game for a lot of silliness in this Text Message Courtroom skit.

I didn’t know how Eli would be able to top Peyton’s United Way commercial from a few years ago, but this Little Brothers spot is nearly its equal, but there’s a little good-natured dig at Peyton in it.

It was a good set of “Weekend Update” headlines, but the show went off the rails and never quite recovered after Sasha Cohen Baron appeared with Martin Scorcese.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.