Elon Musk made his mark tonight on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” — not only as the richest host in the late-night comedy show’s 46-year run, but also as the first host to acknowledge on the program that he has Asperger Syndrome.
That’s not exactly a surprise: For years, folks have noticed that the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla has the laser focus and social awkwardness that’s associated with Asperger’s. But Musk fully embraced his Aspieness during tonight’s monologue.
“I’m actually making history tonight as the first person with Asperger’s to host ‘SNL,’ or at least the first to admit it,” he said. “So I won’t make a lot of eye contact with the cast tonight. But already I’m pretty good at running human in emulation mode.”
It’s true that Musk probably won’t make “SNL’s” greatest-hits clip show for the roles he played in the comedy skits — including an Icelandic TV producer, a Generation Z doctor, an electric-horse-riding cowboy and Wario (the “misunderstood” Mario Bros. video-game character). But he won the day with his self-deprecating humor.
The spaciest (and spiciest) moment came when Musk played himself, dealing with a Mars crisis involving Chad, the clueless slacker who’s a recurring character played by Pete Davidson. (Watch the clip all the way to the end — if you dare.)
Despite the qualms that were expressed in advance of the show, cast members put in a few good-natured digs as well.
During “Weekend Update,” for example, SNL regular Colin Jost noted that a Chinese Long March rocket crashed into the Indian Ocean, apparently harmlessly, after days of hand-wringing over the risk from orbital debris. “For once, we know it’s not Elon’s fault,” Jost joked. “A lot of people have been wondering, ‘Why is he hosting our show?’ And now we know: It’s because he needed an alibi.”
“Weekend Update” co-host Michael Che also got in a jab at Musk and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Che started out by noting that Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture had just set up an auction for a ride to space aboard its New Shepard suborbital spaceship.
“Why are all these rich white people trying to go to space?” he asked. “Look, if there’s any Martians watching this, when you see a bunch of foreign ships pull up on your land, take it from a Black dude, don’t get on them … unless you want to be a Martian with the last name ‘Washington.'”
Musk and the “SNL” writers managed to work in a couple of references to Dogecoin, the meme-inspired cryptocurrency that became a focus of pre-show speculation.
During “Weekend Update,” Musk portrayed a nerdy, bow-tied financial expert who struggled to explain to Che and Jost exactly what Dogecoin was — until he said that it could be traded for conventional money.
“Oh,” Che said. “So it’s a hustle.”
“Yeah, it’s a hustle,” Musk’s character replied.
As the show proceeded, Dogecoin plummeted in value, and the Robinhood trading app experienced a temporary outage due to high trading volume. But if Musk’s monologue is to be believed, there’s a new addition to the family Doge holdings.
Because this is Mother’s Day weekend, the cast members’ moms were featured in some of the jokes — as was Musk’s mother, Maye Musk.
“I’m excited for my Mother’s Day gift,” she told her son at the end of the monologue. “I just hope it’s not Dogecoin.”
“It is,” Elon Musk admitted.
Update for 11:05 p.m. PT May 8: Maye Musk wasn’t the only mother from Elon’s family to make an appearance. Grimes, the mother of his youngest son, played Princess Peach in the Wario skit and showed up onstage at the end of the show. Musk also referred to their son’s name, X Æ A-Xii, during the monologue. “It’s pronounced, ‘Cat running across the keyboard,'” Musk joked.
Update for 12:30 a.m. PT May 9: For what it’s worth, Deadline notes that “SNL” original cast member Dan Aykroyd, who returned to host the show in 2003, has acknowledged in interviews that he’s been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.
Update for 11 a.m. PT May 9: And speaking of Dogecoin, Alberta-based Geometric Energy Corp. announced that it’ll send a sensor-laden satellite called DOGE-1 to lunar orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket early next year — and will pay the fare with Dogecoin. Based on the timing, the 88-pound satellite might be scheduled to fly as a secondary payload along with Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lunar lander.