“SNL” started with a high point, and never really reached that peak of hilarity again the rest of the night. That’s because the cold open went meta by having Miles Teller and Andrew Dismukes as Peyton and Eli Manning (respectively) hosting an unorthodox version of their “Monday Night Football” commentary series “ManningCast.” Instead of focusing on football for ESPN, they provided live commentary on the opening sketch from “SNL.”
We’ll forgive the logistical leap of this sketch happening live while allowing the Manning brothers to pause and provide their own commentary as the sketch unfolds. If they’re watching the show live, this shouldn’t be possible. If they’re watching the sketch after the fact, then how could it possibly be the first sketch of the live episode that we’re currently watching? Is this silly to ponder? Absolutely. Do I care at all? No, not in the least. I’m a broken man, and my brain is weird mush. Anyway…
I can’t believe I never realized how much Miles Teller looked like Peyton Manning until now, and he does a solid impression of him as well. It’s always funny when comedy writers turn the pen on themselves and write jokes at their own expense. Not only do they lament the use of another Donald Trump sketch in the cold open, but they also mock a variety of tropes that “SNL” has become known for over the years, including some of the flubs that happen during the live show. The commentary on the new cast members was great, as was the surprise appearance by guest star Jon Hamm, who jokes about how the show couldn’t get the “real” stars of “Top Gun: Maverick.” This prompts the even more meta commentary of Miles Teller as Peyton Manning, who accurately observes that it’s not common for the host to appear in the cold open, making this bit pretty special. And he’s not wrong!
All of the self-aware commentary and gags made this a lot of fun, and it was a clever way to open the show instead of doing a weaker version of what is far too frequently forced topical commentary on headline-making politics and news.