Elon Musk hosted Saturday Night Live last night. The opening monologue lasted more than five minutes and even his most vocal critics will have to admit that Musk did a pretty good job. He was funny – poking fun at himself and, in a nod to Mother’s Day, he included his own mom by bringing her on stage with him. The best line from Elon Musk’s opening monologue was, “I reinvented electric cars and I’m sending people to Mars in a rocket ship. Did you think I was also going to be a chill, normal dude?”
No, no one expects Elon Musk to be a “chill, normal dude.” He boldly pursues some big goals and often creates some interesting headlines along the way. Musk marches to the beat of his own drum and has been rewarded handsomely. And, yeah, he’s a little weird, though when a person is so wealthy, the description is usually ‘eccentric’. Take a look at the monologue if you haven’t seen it yet and then we’ll continue.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) May 9, 2021
It’s good, right? The statement that he’s the first host with Asperger’s Syndrome is not quite accurate, as it turns out. Dan Akroyd has hosted the show and many fans on social media were quick to point out that Akroyd was diagnosed with Asperger’s in the 1980s. Musk did hedge his claim by quickly saying, “Or at least the first to admit it.”
Actor, comedian and writer Dan Aykroyd who also suffers from Asperger Syndrome hosted the show back on May 17, 2003, which was the 28th Season Finale. Dan once revealed, “My very mild Asperger’s has helped me creatively. I sometimes hear a voice and think: ‘That could be a character I could do.’” Dan was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in the 1980s after his wife Donna encouraged him to see a doctor. He views some of his strengths as stemming from the condition. “One of my symptoms included my obsession with ghosts and law enforcement — I carry around a police badge with me, for example. I became obsessed by Hans Holzer, the greatest ghost hunter ever. That’s when the idea of my film Ghostbusters was born.”
When the choice of Musk to host the show was made public, there was some blowback, which frankly, never made sense to me. The media blew up the story that some of the SNL cast were upset and that they were refusing to work with him. Why? What has Elon Musk done that would warrant that kind of nonsense? As it turns out, it was a lot of media hype and little else. A few Bernie bros voiced their disapproval of Musk, apparently based on his financial success and past tweets.
Bowen Yang responded to one of Musk’s tweets about his upcoming appearance. On Saturday, Musk had tweeted, saying “Let’s find out just how live Saturday Night Live really is.”
Yang reacted at first with a frowning face. Then, he posted Musk’s tweet with a message above: “What the f— does that even mean?”
Andrew Dismukes, another cast member, also gave his take in an Instagram story. Over a photo of SNL alumna Cheri Oteri, which looked like a magazine cover, Dismukes wrote “ONLY CEO I WANT TO DO A SKETCH WITH IS Cher-E Oteri.”
A third cast member, Aidy Bryant, subtly criticized Musk, too. In an Instagram story, Bryant shared a tweet from former presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders. In it, Sanders criticized the sharp wealth inequality in the country, noting that “the 50 wealthiest people in this country own more wealth than some 165 million Americans” and he called that “a moral obscenity.”
Sudi Green, a writer for SNL, shared the same Sanders’ post, too.
Most members of the cast were pleased to be working with Musk. There was a cast dinner after a rehearsal and Pete Davidson told a radio show host that he didn’t understand the controversy. Most of the critical tweets from other cast members have been deleted.
“We didn’t discuss it at all because we’re all just like… I just don’t understand why this is the dude everyone’s so freaked out about,” Davidson said. “I was like, ‘What did he do? He’s just like a really wealthy businessman that makes, like, nerd s—.’ I don’t know. He’s really nice. I’m excited.”
When asked if there was any truth that the cast was upset over Musk as host, Davidson said he hadn’t noticed that to be the case.
“Nobody that I f— with,” he replied. “Everybody’s kind of been like, ‘Yo, who’s the guy that’s so pissed off?’ Cause we’re on a group text, so we’re all just like, ‘I don’t know.’ So, yeah, we’re all excited and really don’t understand the controversy.”
Musk isn’t the first billionaire to host the show. Donald Trump did so the first time in 2004, but he was already well known in the entertainment industry. There wasn’t criticism over Trump’s wealth at the time. One article in the Hollywood Reporter notes it is unusual for non-entertainers or musicians to host the show. It may not be common but it happens. Musk was a brilliant choice, especially since the show so often gets low ratings these days. He generated a lot of hype for the show.
Prior to the episode airing, comedian Sarah Cooper tweeted, “I hate the fact that elon musk is hosting SNL and I hate even more the fact that there’s literally no way I won’t watch it.” Meanwhile, Conan O’Brien tweeted, “Billionaires actually make great SNL hosts. Go back and watch the John D. Rockefeller episode.”
Thanks to Elon Musk and his flair for innovation, SNL was live-streamed internationally on YouTube in over 100 countries for the first time. The best revenge is success and Musk found that in his SNL gig. Let the haters hate. Musk won this round.
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