In between Rob Bromley’s sultry tones on the BBN and my power so rudely going out on Sunday, I was able to catch Michael Phelps’ attempt at SNL on Saturday night. Picking Phelps was an obvious choice, but it was equally as obvious that he was going to blow it. Athletes as hosts of SNL are all over the map. Sometimes they are good because they are inner entertainers (Charles Barkley), sometimes they are good because the material is great and it overcomes their personality (Michael Jordan) and sometimes they are downright awful (Nancy Kerrigan). Phelps wasnt awful….but he wasnt good either. The skits written for him were only fair (although the site of him in the face contraption was funny) and his delivery was so deadpan and uncomedic that Ben Stein asked him to crank up the emotion. Phelps’ finished towards the bottom end of the SNL food chain….however he wasnt the worst of all time. What follows is a list of the Top 5, and the unbelievably bad bottom 2, sports hosts of SNL.
5. Joe Montana: Perfect example of a guy who got great material….his skit where his internal thoughts tell you what he is about to go upstairs and do is an all time classic. Not a good actor, but a good host (a la Garth Brooks).
4. Michael Jordan: Whether it is was his Stuart Smalley skit, the commercials he would not take or his role as the first black member of the Harlem Globetrotters, Jordan’s SNL episode took his persona and mocked it. Perfect for SNL.
3. Derek Jeter: I am predisposed to dislike Jeter (New Yorker and plays baseball), but his SNL performance was top-notch. He dressed as a woman, made fun of Yankee fans and playing Mariano Rivera’s wife, said that Derek Jeter “looked like a cross between the Rock and a muppet”. Good stuff.
2. Peyton Manning: I still insist that the Manning “United Way” skit may be the best SNL athlete skit ever. “I would kill a snitch….I am not saying I have and I am not saying I havent” is still used at KSR functions all the time.
1. The Rock: People forget that the Rock was once a Miami football player before being the WWE champion. But SNL helped pave his movie star transition. Two hosting roles and GREAT skits on each one. He did the monkey character better than Chris Kattan, sang on stage with Mick Foley and The Big Show and gave his own version of Nicorette. Best sports host ever.
And of course, the two worst:
TIE: Nancy Kerrigan and Jeff Gordon: Seriously, watch these two episodes some time to see just how bad an actor a person can be. Actually you wont be able to watch them as they are hidden for all times from public view. If you didnt like either of these people before, this is good ammo for any argument on their behalf. If you did, then watch these and be shamed to be a fan. The worst….by far.
So there you go….who are sports hosts you liked or disliked? And who are the “Steve Forbes” type hosts…..people you knew would be bad, but ended up having a good show?
I am voting for Lamar Alexander II by the way in this election….