Eli Manning on 'Saturday Night Live': Keep cool and you'll be fine
Eli Manning can win a Super Bowl, but can he tell a joke?
The Giants star and two-time Super Bowl champ will make his comedy debut this weekend when he hosts "Saturday Night Live," following in the footsteps of big bro Peyton, who hosted the NBC show in 2007 to rave reviews.
Eli is a veteran live-TV performer as the Giants' cool-as-ice quarterback. But, while he has done several commercials - including promos for this weekend's show - he has never acted on live TV. Still, some New York funnymen think he'll do just fine.
"If he can suck for the first three quarters of the show, then in the last quarter, he's going to bring his best. That's when he plays like a real quarterback, is in the last quarter," said stand-up comic Reese Waters.
Adam Stone, of the comedy duo Stone and Stone, advised Eli to just relax and stick to the script.
"You have nothing to be nervous about. Just pretend that the audience members are the Patriots in a Super Bowl," said Adam Stone of the comedy due Stone and Stone.
Comedian Greg Johnson added that Eli should try to learn from his "SNL" athlete-host predecessors.
"I think athletes in the past have done a pretty good job," said comedian Greg Johnson. "I think that he could probably watch past 'SNL' hosts like Joe Montana or Michael Jordan to get an idea of how to be funny... but not Charles Barkley. He was not funny."
Eli, 31, turned down a chance to host in 2008, the year after Peyton accepted the gig, Eli said this week. He feared his brother had set the bar too high both on the field and on the "SNL" stage.
But with a second championship under his belt, he said he's ready to take the stage, and the show's executive producer Lorne Michaels said he should have nothing to worry about.
"The good part about athletes is that they are used to being in front of large groups of people and not knowing how it is going to turn out," Michaels said.
"There is still some risk involved, but it is that flexibility that we know how Eli reacts both under pressure and also with changing things quickly," he said.
Whatever happens on the show, Eli just needs to take a page from Peyton's "SNL" playbook and he'll be just fine, Johnson said.
"What he should do is watch tape of his brother," he said. "He did a good job. And he's also a stiff awkward guy."