Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his older brother — Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce — host a weekly podcast called “New Heights.” The title is an homage to the Cleveland Heights, Ohio neighborhood in which they grew up.
This week, the Kelce brothers dropped Episode 29 — in which they re-lived the wild week Travis had before hosting NBC’s legendary “Saturday Night Live” over this past weekend.
“New Heights” with Jason & Travis Kelce | Jukes Original Presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment | You can also listen to the show on Spotify.
1. The whole week was a blur
On Saturday, Travis Kelce became the first Kansas City sports figure to host “Saturday Night Live.” Over the show’s 48 seasons, the closest Chiefs fans had ever come to seeing one of their own on stage at 30 Rockefeller Plaza was when Joe Montana hosted the show back in 1987 — but that was well before he came to Kansas City.
“It went by so fast,” Travis said of his experience, “and I was so overwhelmed with what was going on.”
But Travis said the show’s writers did their best to make him feel at home — starting with the Monday monologue meeting.
“Probably the biggest part was making sure the monologue was true to you — but still at the same time entertaining,” he explained.
“Oh my gosh! They made that monologue so ‘me,’ I could just run with it — and I could have fun with it. I was comfortable with everything. It didn’t make me nervous about anything I was saying. I could just sit up there and make fun of myself in front of anyone. It was the best.”
Travis Kelce's monologue! pic.twitter.com/ETJfAaELNj— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) March 5, 2023
The next day, the routine continued.
“Tuesday comes around, and you start to meet with every writer there,” said Kelce. “You just go office to office… You just hear pitches and you hear what sticks — what’s fun.”
Then on Wednesday, everyone gathered for the weekly table read.
“So now I’m at a table with all of the cast members, all of the writers, the producers,” Travis recalled. “We went over 40 scripts.”
The next day, the team shoots video shorts that will appear in the show — like this one with Chiefs teammate Creed Humphrey, which didn’t make it to air.
NFL Gives Back: Lifting women whose boyfriends can't lift them up pic.twitter.com/sqMbfpFUJW— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) March 5, 2023
And this video about the pleasant simplicity of having a bro as a buddy.
Introducing Straight Male Friend— Saturday Night Live - SNL (@nbcsnl) March 5, 2023
(available everywhere except therapy) pic.twitter.com/F0VeJWzVtZ
Travis said that by Friday, the SNL machine was moving at full speed.
“They start finding the sets for everything, they start finding the costumes, wardrobe... [Decide] what you’re gonna look like,” he related. “It’s a crazy experience — and to finally see it all come all together? Like that Friday, I was through the roof. It felt so cool just being in the madness.”
And then Saturday was the big day. Travis said everyone was so locked-in that it reminded him of an NFL game day.
Luckily for viewers, Travis did not disappoint. My wife and I watch SNL pretty regularly — and I have to say that Saturday’s episode is one of the best we’ve seen in quite a while. That may sound like I’m trying to be a homer — but if you don’t believe me, check it out for yourself.
Getting to work with Kenan Thompson and the cast of @nbcsnl is a truly legendary experience @jasonkelce and @tkelce give the inside scoop on what it’s like to be a part of SNL in a brand new episode of New Heights.— New Heights (@newheightshow) March 8, 2023
Premiering LIVE now: https://t.co/pwFZWlt3KA pic.twitter.com/iKMKDhZMUP
2. Peyton Manning gave him a word of advice
Travis said that the Hall of Fame quarterback — who had his own turn at hosting the show in 2007 — reached out to him with some words of advice.
“[It] was the best advice I could get,” said Kelce “He was like, ‘Dude, just go all-in. Just be open-minded… [and] be on time.’”
Travis was amazed at that.
“He knew,” he said. “He must have known that I am just terrible with time.”
Perhaps Manning listens to “New Heights,” in which Travis’ ability to be on time is a recurring topic. For example: during the Patrick Mahomes episode, Travis and the Chiefs’ quarterback revealed that the origin of their bromance was a night out on the town — followed by both of them being late to practice the next morning.
Unbeknownst to Mahomes at the time, Travis also was late and had arrived at the stadium just five minutes before him.
“Dude, I’m coming into the building like, ‘F—k man,’” chimes in Travis. “I can’t even look this guy (Andy Reid) in the eye. I feel like the worst teammate ever. And they are like, ‘Were you with Pat last night? Where’s Pat?’
“And I’m just like, ‘That’s my dog man, that’s my dog, I’m not alone!’”
3. And so did Charles Barkley
The NBA legend has hosted SNL several times — and offered very practical advice: to make sure to wear underwear. Travis explained that it was good advice — because there is so little time between the live sketches.
“They’ll just throw you in a corner and just muddle huddle,” said Kelce, “and just start ripping clothes off you.”