Writers at NBC’s Saturday Night Live have no shortage of source material from which to draw for Elon Musk’s guest appearance this weekend.
The Tesla and SpaceX chief executive’s penchant for Internet meme-making will provide ample assistance to the madcap minds behind the comedy sketch show. Musk’s many far-out, far-flung business ventures—from self-driving cars to Mars-bound rockets to Dogecoin boosterism—only add fodder.
While it’s impossible to know what sort of zany ideas SNL’s comedians are entertaining, we took a stab at drafting skit ideas anyway. Musk’s general unpredictability complicates matters: “I’m a wild card, so there’s no telling what I might do,” he teases in one promotional clip.
Against our better judgment, we tried to reverse engineer what a Musk-hosted episode might look like. Here are our five skit predictions.
1. “The Dogefather”
The most clamored-for possibility involves Dogecoin, a joke cryptocurrency that features frequently in Musk’s Twitter posts.
Amid a speculative frenzy, the digital funny money’s price has zoomed more than 12,000% to more than $0.60 cents per coin since the start of the year. A good chunk of that run-up took place soon after Musk tweeted, on April 27, “The Dogefather SNL May 8.”
Presumably, any Dogefather skit will involve mafia satire. When comedian Bill Burr appeared on the show in October, he played a politically incorrect mob boss whose social graces were out of tune after the 20 years he’s spent in jail. In another variation on the theme in 2016, Pete Davidson pleads for more time to repay a $20,000 loan during a meeting with a Godfather-type figure. Peter Dinklage interrupts the tense situation by performing a ridiculous techno-song, “Spacepants,” on stage at the Italian restaurant meeting-place.
That Musk is a card-carrying member of the PayPal mafia, a diaspora of executives who once worked at the financial tech company, makes the possibility only likelier.
2. “Irony Man”
As if he needed any help, Musk took to Twitter last Saturday to solicit skit premises.
“What should I do?” Musk inquired, offering up a few ideas of his own. One of them involved “Irony Man,” a play on the Marvel superhero Iron Man, whose portrayal by Robert Downey, Jr. in recent Disney films was partly inspired by Musk. He conceives of the character as a crime-fighter who “defeats villains using the power of irony.”
Superheroes are ripe subject for parody. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson played a comically oblivious Superman in a 2000 skit. A 2008 episode featuring James Franco poked fun at a scene from a Spider-Man film in which he played the villain Harry Osborn.
In other tweets, Musk also floated “Baby Shark Tank,” a mash-up of the child-beloved song “Baby Shark” and the CNBC’s business-pitching show Shark Tank. Another one he proposed: “Woke James Bond.”
3. “Mutiny on the SpaceX Starship”
It would be a missed opportunity if SNL didn’t use the occasion of Musk’s appearance to set a skit aboard a SpaceX rocket ship, perhaps one bound for Mars or another distant world.
Musk could be put in charge of an intergalactic space-faring crew. Or, better yet, he could play second-in-command. In a hilarious skit from 2015, Chris Hemsworth plays the first mate and love interest to…a chicken captain. If I were an SNL writer, I would be doing casting calls for a Shiba Inu, the dog breed at the heart of the Dogecoin meme, as the next captain. (I, for one, welcome our Good Boy overlords.)
If not, there’s always this SpaceX-themed fan suggestion:
4. “Neuralink tech demo gone wrong”
Perhaps you caught a recent tech demo by Neuralink, another one of Musk’s sci-fi-esque ventures; this one works on brain-computer interfaces. The startup hooked up a monkey to machine that allowed the creature to play Pong, the classic arcade game, using its mind.
It’s a perfect pretense for SNL to continue its rich history of mocking tech company product demos. In one skit from 2016, a couple of hors d’oeuvres-serving robots go haywire at a Honda robotics exhibition. In another from 2017, SNL cast member Beck Bennett plays a gay robot, Helix 900, built by Microsoft. When a puzzled audience member asks why the work-robot flaunts its gender preferences, Fred Armisen responds, “I gotta say dude it’s kind of weird how obsessed you are with Helix 900’s sexuality.”
Imagine a super-smart, Neuralink-equipped monkey constantly foiling its presenters. The techies want the monkey to do one thing, but it pursues other ends (like bananas). Maybe in the end, it’ll be revealed that the whole demonstration is taking place inside the monkey’s mind, in keeping with Musk’s philosophical musings that reality itself may be a video game.
5. “Self-driving car crash”
On second thought, this one probably won’t fly.
When Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson filmed their Google-centric comedy flick The Internship, Google reportedly objected to a scene in which its self-driving cars collide. The scripted gag didn’t make the final cut.
Still, it’s hard to forget this classic 2001 SNL skit about a clown car crash. Chris Kattan, portraying a local news anchor, asks, “Dear god! What was a clown car doing on the highway?” The reporter at the scene answers, “Being hilarious.”
Tesla vehicles have caused fatal accidents, so this one likely hits too close to home. It would probably be safer, and less controversial, for Musk—and maybe his partner, Grimes—to rap about something more innocuous, like NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, cryptocurrency-related digital collectibles. Maybe they’ll collaborate on a song about their predilection for unpronounceable baby names.
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