A Saturday Night Live ManningCast parody.

There have been quite a few notable sports bits on NBC’s Saturday Night Live over the years, including with cold opens. And they’ve even ventured into takes on sports broadcasting , and that was the particular subject of the cold open of Saturday’s season-opening show. It saw a take on ESPN’s ManningCast, with “Peyton” (host Miles Teller) and “Eli” (Andrew Dismukes) breaking down a SNL sketch in real time instead of their usual fare of Monday Night Football.

That’s a pretty good concept, especially with them trashing the purposefully-not-great fake sketch (on former U.S. president Donald Trump and his documents)  taking place the way the actual Mannings make fun of bad football, and with the actors in that “sketch” reacting to their criticisms. It leads to some good lines too, such as Dismukes saying  “They’re all professionals, but so are the New York Jets,” Teller saying “The show’s in a rebuilding year for sure. Let’s take a look at the stats so far. 14 attempted jokes this episode, only one mild laugh and three chuckles” (and pulling out a graphic to show that), Dismukes saying “How did they stay up until 5 a.m. writing this show?”, and Teller saying “When did they start writing the show, 4:30?”

The sketch then gets to a new level when they go to the Mannings’ well of  using guests, bringing in Jon Hamm (who recently worked with Teller in Top Gun: Maverick) to help break down the action. Hamm offers one particularly good line with “They haven’t even used Kenan [Thompson] yet! That’s like putting a whole team of Elis on the field when you have Peyton on the sidelines. No offense, Eli,” which leads to Dismukes responding “Oh, no, I agree!”

There’s also a good meta joke in there when snowboarder/skateboarder Shaun White enters the fake sketch behind them as the special master overseeing the documents. Teller says “Shaun White? That is just gratuitous stunt casting,” and Hamm responds “Yeah, well, sometimes they need to bring in a real celebrity when the host isn’t that famous.” Teller responds with a “Right,” and Hamm says “I mean, they couldn’t get the star of the big summer movie, Tom Cruise, or Jon Hamm, they had to get the co-star.”

Overall, that’s a pretty solid start for this season of SNL. And it’s funny to see the show winking at some of the criticisms tossed at it, and doing so through a fake ManningCast. It’s just too bad they weren’t able to work in Eli’s own acting work as “Chad Powers.”

[Saturday Night Live on YouTube]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.