Saturday Night Live held its season finale earlier this month, but NBC’s long-running, late-night behemoth still has quite the schedule lined up for next week. Hosting responsibilities on SNL are mostly reserved for comedians and actors, though a small sampling of athletes have braved the sketch comedy waters including LeBron James, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Sports nostalgia is at an all-time high amid COVID-19 and apparently that sentiment is shared by the folks calling the shots at 30 Rock.
NBC is rolling out the red carpet for its comically-inclined athletes with replays of 19 vintage episodes next week including appearances by Michael Jordan (his 1991 hosting stint will air twice), Charles Barkley, LeBron, Brady, Derek Jeter, Peyton and Eli Manning, J.J. Watt, Olympian Michael Phelps, tennis star Andy Roddick, Ronda Rousey and WWE alums John Cena and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Grouping Johnson, a five-time host, in with the others doesn’t seem entirely fair—he’s one of the highest-earning actors of all-time. Cena has also graduated to full-time Hollywood status after beginning his career in pro wrestling. Of the non-actors featured, Barkley boasts the most hosting experience with three tours of duty on SNL. It’s been a while since LeBron’s last hosting gig (2007), but the Lakers star has shown plenty of comedic promise over the years. James played a hilarious caricature of himself in the Judd Apatow-directed Trainwreck and is slated to star in Warner Brothers’ upcoming Space Jam sequel. A veteran of countless commercials, Peyton has only been in the hosting chair once, but that’s all it took to produce this instant classic:
Not every athlete is cut out for the bright lights of Saturday Night Live, but the few we’ve seen on SNL have largely risen to the occasion with memorable turns from Johnson (aka The Rock Obama), MJ (who famously chopped it up with Bill Swerski’s Superfans) and Watt, who appeared on the show just three months ago. The Big Lead’s Kyle Koster has the entire SNL schedule mapped out for your convenience. No word yet on whether Big Papi will make an appearance.