Peyton Manning & More Crash Steve Martin’s SNL 40 Monologue

He was likely last night’s most featured athlete in a four-decade nostalgia fest.
Erstwhile Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning appeared on Saturday Night Live‘s 40th-anniversary special Sunday evening, a fairly early addition to a star-studded crash of Steve Martin’s monologue on stage. “You know, I have to say I was so flattered backstage when you said I had a natural gift for athletics,” Martin says to Manning. “Did I say that?” Peyton says in reply, scrunching up his face. “Steve, I get hit in the head a lot. I get hit in the head a lot.”

Manning followed Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin, Melissa McCarthy, and Chris Rock onto the scene. Good thing he’s quick on the draw, too, as he barely got his lines in before Miley Cyrus and Billy Crystal appeared and the collective was then upstaged entirely by a pair of Pauls—McCartney and Simon—sauntering into the shot for a little songman action.

Beyond that, Manning’s United Way do-gooder sketch, in which he pummels hapless kids with footballs and berates them, was another now-vintage highlight on the self-congratulating but largely clear-eyed special, shown during a sports-centric montage.

Peyton also appeared alongside Yankee great Derek Jeter to introduce another retrospective, which could only remind us of that time he appeared alongside Jeter at Indy’s venerable St. Elmo. Oh, and Peyton and brother Eli Manning were perched next to Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas in the studio audience. So there’s that.

Meanwhile, Pike High School graduate Sasheer Zamata, a current SNL cast member, appeared to sing backup to Keenan Thompson on “What’s Up With That?” She also got momentary kudos in a montage that featured one of her quips from last year’s instant-classic “Black Jeopardy” sketch:

You can view more clips from SNL‘s 40th-anniversary special here.