Peyton Manning joined country superstar Luke Bryan on Wednesday as the pair co-hosted the Country Music Association Awards together from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
And you know what? Manning delivered.
The NFL Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN 2 ManningCast personality joked about a variety of topics including country music, Carrie Underwood, the NFL and more. And of course he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to rip his younger brother, Eli Manning.
During the show’s monologue, Bryan said, “I don’t prepare [when hosting an award show]. I’m just a wing it kind of host.”
Manning jumped in, “So what you’re saying is this is my worst nightmare. But it’s actually OK because I do a show with my brother Eli. I am used to this lack of professionalism.”
Later on, Peyton asked T.J. and John Osborne if their mother made them work together growing up. “If so, I know how you feel,” Peyton joked.
Eli, who co-hosts the ManningCast with older brother Peyton, was taking in the jokes on social media from his home.
CMA AWARDS WERE TOPICAL AND RELEVANT
I’ve also got to give props to the CMA’s for jumping onto a viral craze to keep the show relevant. During the show’s monologue, Bryan and Manning introduced clogger Zeb Ross, who has been all over social media for his moves to the University of Tennessee’s fight song, “Good Ol’ Rocky Top.”
The crowd erupted when Ross did his thing and the clip was shared across social media.
AWARD SHOWS AREN’T EASY TO HOST
It’s always difficult trying to host award shows. First off, nobody cares about them as much as they did in the past. Ratings continue to slide across the board – Emmys, Oscars, Grammys, MTV Video-whatever-they’re-called these days, are all down in viewership.
Second, many times you’re working with a ton of writers that think they know the best jokes that will work for YOU. The problem is, many times they fall flat. But that’s what made Manning so great last night. He delivered in an “Average Joe,” type of way that the casual viewer was able to relate to while watching.
Also, award shows have been known to invoke politics in recent years. Last night steered clear of them, except for a bit where Manning endorsed Bryan for President. He joked his slogan would be, “Hunting, Fishing and Loving Every Day.”
PEYTON AND LUKE ABSOLUTELY CRUSHED IT
Honestly, Peyton was pretty damn good. His demeanor and the way he came across seems to really resonate with people. Whether it’s those “Chicken Parm You Taste So Good” Nationwide commercials, to just being able to make fun of himself, Manning usually appears genuine and likable.
I’d much rather have Peyton doing future award shows like the Oscars rather than someone like Jimmy Kimmel.
Or how about Ricky Gervais teaming up with Peyton? Now THAT would be pretty damn funny. The two have such distinctively different personalities that it would be awkwardly hilarious.
Until then, hopefully the CMA Awards bring back Manning and Bryan, because they absolutely delivered.