This week, Saturday Night Live announced that it would be featuring an unusual host: Billionaire entrepreneur and self-proclaimed "technoking" Elon Musk.
Musk, who is one of the richest people in the world, has long been a polarizing figure. He appears to be quite happy about hosting SNL, and tweeted, "Let's find out just how live Saturday Night Live really is" shortly after the news dropped.
Several SNL cast members didn't take too kindly to the announcement, with Bowen Yang re-posting Musk's tweet about SNL on Instagram with the caption," What the f**k does this even mean?" His SNL costar Andrew Dismukes, formerly a writer on the show, posted an Instagram story with a caption that read, "Only CEO I wanna do sketch with is Cher-E Oteri," a reference to the former SNL luminary.
Aidy Bryant may also have shared a critique of Musk when she reposted a Bernie Sanders tweet about the "moral obscenity" of the wealth inequality in America shortly after the announcement was made.
Aidy Bryant and Bowen Yang's posts on their instagram stories after Elon Musk was announced as the next SNL host!!!… https://t.co/teSEkN4iic— Georgia👑 (@Georgia👑)1619315077.0
Dean Obeidallah, a former member of the SNL production crew, penned an op-ed in CNN that delved deeper into the backlash. "The show, where I worked on the production staff for eight seasons, should do better than bestowing that honor on Musk, given his irresponsible statements about COVID-19 and his insensitive comments surrounding the transgender community," Obeidallah wrote.
"Part of the motivation for 'SNL' booking Musk, though, is beyond ratings — it's to get people talking about the show as they did almost every time Alec Baldwin portrayed Trump," Obeidallah continued. "With Musk hosting, there will certainly be a tsunami of news stories surrounding the May 8 show. Again, these are legitimate goals in the entertainment industry, but the question is, at what price?"
When considering what it means for Musk to host SNL, it's hard not to recall someone who SNL invited on just a few years ago — someone named Donald Trump, who would eventually become President of the United States. The show was accused of normalizing Trump following his appearance on it, and it certainly contributed to the narrative that he was a joke and not a real threat, a perception that may have helped him win. Eerily, Musk will be the first non-musician or actor to host the show since Trump.
Elon Musk isn't a politician, but he certainly has as much power as one. Actually, as someone with a truly incomprehensible amount of wealth and clout amongst swaths of the population, Elon Musk arguably has more power than even Trump right now.
He also has a fair number of mishaps under his belt, from online bullying of critics to criticizing government lockdowns and disavowing the vaccine; and just recently, he shared that "a bunch of people will probably die" as part of his vision of colonizing Mars. Musk was an outspoken advocate against taking precautions against COVID, and in early 2020 he said, "The coronavirus panic is dumb" and predicted that there would be "close to zero new cases" by the end of April — of last year.
SNL's decision to lend their platform to Musk is a clear effort to maintain relevance and court controversy, but one has to wonder why they chose to uplift Musk's voice specifically and not any of the other countless options who might perhaps provide a more meaningful viewing experience.
Most likely this will only help spread Elon's gospel to the masses, persuading more people to invest in DogeCoin and to buy into the delusional gospel of a man who constantly warns against the threat posed by AI and yet is actively creating advanced AI technologies of his own.
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