On Saturday, Elon Musk hosted Saturday Night Live, and it honestly could have gone a lot worse.
He was a controversial choice for host, but unlike a lot of guests who should have more important things to be doing, Musk was actually in most of the sketches and played a variety of characters, from a murderous Pennsylvanian priest to a horny Icelandic producer.
He did do the obligatory sketch about a slight variation on himself — “Leeron,” a cowboy character who invented electric horses and a machine for digging tunnels. But he still showed more range than we expected. And the sketches were no worse than an average episode of SNL in recent years — i.e. rarely funny, but not so bad that you have to look away.
Still, it was bizarre watching one of the wealthiest men to ever exist doing live sketch comedy. And there were a few highlights that were particularly weird…
When Elon Revealed that He Has Asperger’s
During his monologue, Elon Musk casually referred to how he was “making history” as “the first person with Asperger’s to host SNL. Or at least the first to admit it.”
He said it as if everyone already knew he had Asperger’s, but everyone didn’t know that. It’s not the most shocking revelation, but it is the first time he’s publicly acknowledged his diagnosis.
Asperger’s is an Autism Spectrum Disorder that is thought to affect around 1 in 200 people — though it is often undiagnosed. Considering its prevalence, the lack of ASD representation in the entertainment industry is a real issue that leads to neurotypical actors playing fetishized and stereotyped autistic characters and also contributes to the awfulness that was Sia’s film, Music.
So it’s legitimately great that Elon Musk decided to share his diagnosis on SNL. But the idea that it’s somehow more history-making than a host with a net worth of around $170 billion dollars is laughable.
When Miley Sang a Mother’s Day Song While Wearing Shirt Nipples
Okay, this didn’t involve Elon Musk at all, but it was still weird enough that it deserves to be acknowledged. Rather than a typical sketch for the cold open, musical guest Miley Cyrus performed a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning,” cutting to scenes of cast members joking with their mothers and celebrating being reunited by vaccinations.
The only weird part was the fact that Miley’s shirt had some of the most prominent and egregious fabric nipples in the history of fashion. Miley has previously been touted as an advocate of the “free the nipple” cause — which calls for an end to the weird stigma, sexualization, and censorship of women’s nipples, while men are free to go topless in public and on social media.
Still, it just seemed weird that Miley was singing to the mothers of the world with a shirt that was clearly designed to look like a pair of exposed snow-white nipples..
When Dogecoin Plummeted
The meme-based cryptocurrency Dogecoin has become a serious financial player in recent months, for reasons that defy logic. And Elon Musk — nicknamed “The Dogefather” — has been instrumental in the currency’s success.
So it was somewhat surprising to see that the currency had lost around a third of its value by Sunday morning, even after Musk went on “Weekend Update” as financial expert “Lloyd Ostertag” to explain its value to an audience of millions. Perhaps it had something to do with when Michael Che pushed him to admit, “Yeah, it’s a hustle.”
Grimes as Princess Peach
A cameo from Musk’s partner — synth-pop musician Grimes — was to be expected at some point in the night, but the context was pretty weird. In the sketch, Musk played Wario — a sinister character famous for hoarding wealth… — and is on trial for the murder of Mario in a Mariokart race.
In the course of the trial, Wario is also accused of having an affair with “Mario’s wife,” Princess Peach, played by Grimes in full cosplay — we almost didn’t recognize her at first. But the fact that there have been rumors of Musk having an affair with Amber Heard when she was married to Johnny Depp made it all a little uncomfortable.
Also, it pivoted to a weird joke about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s weird claim of anti-Italian bias in his sexual misconduct case.
The Cousin-Love Jokes
There were three jokes about cousin-on-cousin romance over the course of two early sketches. It was starting to seem like a theme to the night. It was just weird…
Over the course of the night, Elon Musk wore five different wigs, four of which seemed entirely unnecessary. They barely changed his appearance but did serve as a werid reminder of the era when the Tesla CEO’s hairline wasn’t so robust…
When He Acknowledged His Awful COVID Takes
The cowboy sketch was one of the cheesiest and most predictable of the night, with lots of references to Elon Musk’s real life persona but with a thin patina of old-west aesthetics — OMG, a horse is plugged into a Tesla charging station, lol!
But the worst part was when “Leeron” acknowledged that “for a while I thought masks were dumb, but now I admit masks make sense.”
An obvious reference to Musk’s early skepticism of COVID safety measures, it would almost be funny if not for the fact that Musk threatened a local government in California, pushing for Tesla factories to be reopened, and did nothing to acknowledge the subsequent spikes in COVID cases among factory workers and surrounding communities. It’s almost like something that should be a deep source of shame and horror, rather than fodder for a lame joke…