'SNL' Recap: Eli Manning Occupies Wall Street; Rihanna Goes Egyptian (Video)

Eli Manning SNL 2012

Eli Manning might sound like he's from the South, but the Giants quarterback says he is all about New York. So much so that during his Saturday Night Live opening monologue, he invited tourists to ask him for suggestions of what to do in the city.

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Where is the best Italian food?

“There’s a great place called the Olive Garden,” Manning said. “You’ve got to go to New Jersey, but it’s worth it.”

What’s a good Broadway show to catch?

“Cats,” Manning said. He saw a commercial for it as a child and it looked great.

Manning appeared in a surprisingly large portion of the night’s sketches, where he mostly stuck to playing mild-mannered guys in awkward situations. As a defendant in a murder trial, Manning’s character is proven innocent after his lawyer reads the court dozens of text messages the defendant sent from home the night of the murder.

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The vapid communiqués involved Manning’s character desperately searching for a booty call, and included a text to a woman in a coma. When the defense lawyer enters the defendant’s Internet searches into evidence, Manning says he’d rather confess to the crime than have them read allowed. His searches for “elderly butts” and “really elderly butts” are entered into evidence over his protestations.

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Manning appeared as himself in a public service announcement for Little Brothers—a Big Brothers Big Sisters type of organization in which Manning teaches young boys how to take revenge upon their spotlight stealing older brothers. The ad devolves into Manning tormenting children, referring to one of his victims as “Peyton.”

The NFL star’s turn as a grungy Occupy Wall Street protester was one of the few times his clean cut NFL persona didn’t seep through in his performance. Looking like a younger Eddie Vedder, Manning goes mono e mono with Bill Hader’s curmudgeonly old newsman. Manning loses, getting hit in the head with a microphone.

Musical guest Rihanna’s performances had some of the highest production values seen on SNL this season, performing first in front of an elaborate spider-web back drop and later in an ancient Egypt-like set. She surprisingly did not appear in any of the night’s sketches, not even to reunite her and Andy Samberg’s musical act Shy Ronnie.

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The episode also featured a tribute to Adam Yauch, the Beastie Boys member who died Friday after a three-year battle with cancer. A clip from a classic Beastie Boys SNL performance was shown before a commercial break.

SNL is new next week with host Will Ferrell and musical guest Usher.