On the heels of a close victory at Super Bowl LVII, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is once again taking over global television screens as this week’s host of “Saturday Night Live.”
The episode opened with a mock “Fox & Friends” segment, featuring Mikey Day as Steve Doocy, Heidi Gardner as Ainsley Earhardt and Bowen Yang as Brian Kilmeade. The sketch comes amid a cascade of embarrassing revelations around Fox News and its major stars in recent days as the litigation grinds on in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed against Fox News by Dominion Voting Systems after the 2020 election.
As Earhardt, Gardner says of the network’s founder Rupert Murdoch: “Rupert Murdoch would never murder anyone. They sent him away for life. Look how sad he looks.” An image of convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh then appears on the screen as Earhardt realizes her mistake.
The comedians proceed to poke fun at the correspondents, arguing their text messages were taken out of context after being publicly released as part of the lawsuit.
When Kelce came out for his monologue, he got vulnerable with viewers about what it meant to make his “SNL” debut based on his humble beginnings. The two-time Super Bowl winner recalled how he was even kicked off of his college football team.
“Just goes to show if you smoke weed and you’re bad at school, you can win the Super Bowl twice,” Kelce said with enthusiasm.
During his opening remarks, Kelce made certain to shout out his brother Jason, who serves as the center for the Philadelphia Eagles. The two were pitted against each other at the Super Bowl last month, which Kelce described as “pretty awkward.” Kelce went on to say his brother is genuinely happy for his win, before the camera pans over to reveal Jason looking especially sullen. Kelce’s mother and father were also in attendance for the live episode.
The NFL player’s first time hosting the show marks his entrance into an elite community of fellow athletes who have previously hosted the late-night institution, including Lebron James, Tom Brady, Michael Phelps and Derek Jeter.
Ahead of Kelce’s “SNL” appearance, a video was uploaded to the official NFL Twitter account featuring words of encouragement from the athlete’s family, friends and co-workers: “Bring the energy Travis, but I don’t think I really have to tell him that,” Kelce’s mother, Donna, says in the video. “He always brings it. You’ve always loved to be the center of attention, and I think that this is going to be your shining moment.”
Musical guest Kelsea Ballerini is also an “SNL” newcomer. The country singer is making her debut on the “Saturday Night Live” stage to perform selections from her latest EP, “Rolling Up the Welcome Mat.”
“Saturday Night Live” stars Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong, Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim, Bowen Yang, Chloe Fineman, Punkie Johnson and Andrew Dismukes as well as Michael Che and Colin Jost, co-anchors of Weekend Update. James Austin Johnson, Sarah Sherman, Marcello Hernández, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow and Devon Walker are featured players among the ensemble.
Series creator Lorne Michaels and director Liz Patrick remain attached to the long-running series, which is currently on its 48th season. The show is produced by Broadway Video and SNL Studios.
Watch “Saturday Night Live” at 8:30 p.m. PT/11:30 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock.