By Zach Seemayer, ETOnline.com.

“Saturday Night Live” has undergone a lot of retooling over the summer — with a lot of castmembers exiting the show and four new actors signing on. So they made sure to address the slew of differences with a self-referential cold-open featuring the night’s host, Miles Teller.

Teller played Peyton Manning, joined by his brother Eli Manning (Andrew Dismukes), as they live-commented on the “Saturday Night Live” cold-open sketch, and brutally criticized the sketch.

The bit got even more meta when Jon Hamm joined Peyton and Eli as a special guest commentator and all three of them got in on the fun of making fun of the cast’s gaffes in the sketch-within-a-sketch.

At one point, Shawn White showed up for a one-line cameo and Hamm joked, “Well, you know, sometimes they need to bring in a real celebrity when the host isn’t that famous… I mean, they couldn’t get the star of the big summer movie, like, Tom Cruise or John Hamm, they had to get the costar.”

Peyton (again, played by Teller, the night’s host) indignantly replied, “Well, I heard they rarely put the hosts in cold open, so when they do, it is special.”

“Special? Or is it desperate?” Hamm shot back.

By using the sketch-within-a-sketch conceit, the show managed to not only poke fun at themselves, they got a chance to introduce all the new castmembers while also ingratiating themselves to new audiences with a bit of self-deprecation.

Now only time will tell how the new, remarkably smaller cast will gel over the course of the season.

“Saturday Night Live” airs live, coast-to-coast, at 11:30 p.m. ET, 8:30 p.m. PT on Global.


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Ellen Bullock