Chiefs’ Travis Kelce got good reviews from TV critics for work on ‘Saturday Night Live’

·4 min read
Screengrab of SNL Twitter video

Chiefs fans loved seeing tight end Travis Kelce on “Saturday Night Live” and, judging by social media reaction, most thought he did a great job.

The episode pulled a huge rating in Kansas City, according to NBC, with a 15.8 rating, That’s the percentage of households in in the Kansas City market that tuned into the broadcast. The number is five times the rating Kansas City posted for the previous four weeks of Saturday Night Live.

The good news for Kelce is television critics also had good things to say about his foray into live television.

Here is what was being said about Kelce hosting “Saturday Night Live.”

Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Patrick Weathers praised Kelce in a recap on “Entertainment Weekly.”

“This guy’s like Peyton Manning — he’s obviously talented,” Weathers said of Kelce.

Kelce’s performance was praised by AV Club’s Trae DeLellis, who wrote a review of the episode.

“From 1977 with football player Fran Tarkenton to tonight with two-time Super Bowl champ Travis Kelce, there is a substantial, if uneven, history of professional athletes hosting ‘Saturday Night Live,’” DeLellis wrote. “It feels like an odd combination considering that athletic completion and sketch comedy hardly utilize the same muscles. While Kelce may have entered Studio 8H as an underdog, he proved himself as one of the season’s most agile hosts. With a game plan to lean into more provocative humor, from cuckholding to a game of Russian roulette, and giving the ball to a deep bench of performers with peculiar character-driven sketches, SNL scored one of its best episodes of the season.”

Chiefs fan and iconic actor Henry Winkler offered a one-word description of Kelce’s appearance.

Kelce received a good review from Vulture’s Joe Berkowitz, who gave the episode four stars out of five.

“’SNL’ has been inviting star athletes to host the show for decades but less so in recent years. Before the decidedly unspectacular JJ Watt episode in February 2020, the last athlete to host who hadn’t also starred in several major action movies was Charles Barkley in 2012,” Berkowitz wrote. “The reason for this lapse is probably because, even more so than musicians, athletes have proved to be a big gamble on ‘SNL.’ Could the untested Travis Kelce possibly be the one to get this season back on track, restoring the show to the glory days of the Pedro Pascal episode from February?

“It turns out he can. This week’s ‘SNL’ wasn’t just funny; its funniness in the face of unlikely odds and high stakes for the team elevated it into a triumphant underdog story that could share shelf space with ‘Rocky’ and ‘Rudy.’ You love to see it.”

Kelce received the best review from the Guardian’s Zach Vasquez.

“It’s too bad the episode petered out in the second half and ended on such a sour note, because the first half was as good as any episode of the last couple of seasons,” Vasquez wrote. “Blame the drop-off on the show pushing Kelce to background when they should have kept him front and center for the duration. His work for that first half more than exceeded expectations, establishing him as not simply a good comic actor not only by athlete standards, but a good comic performer outright. Crossover-wise, forget becoming the next Payton Manning — this guy might be the next Dave Bautista. At the very least, he needs to become an SNL staple. Dude deserves to take another victory lap.”

Saturday’s episode was well-received by Paste Magazine’s Dennis Perkins.

“An episode anchored by someone who hasn’t spent their career learning how to carry, say, a live, 90-minute program sometimes takes the pressure off everyone involved, I imagine,” Perkins wrote. “After all, how good could an NFL player-hosted ‘SNL’ actually be? In this case, it went marginally better than I expected. Kelce has a reputation for being sort of a goofball, and that served him well enough, even as the much tinier cast members spent the night blocking for him, to greater and lesser effectiveness.”

THE “SNL in Review” Experience asked Twitter users to assign a letter grade to Kelce’s performance. He received better grades than in some of his high-school classes (as Kelce joked about in his monologue).

The Star’s Blair Kerkhoff contributed to this story