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Elon Musk hosting SNL this Saturday: What to know and how to watch

Elon Musk will host SNL on May 8.


James Martin/CNET

Elon Musk will host NBC’s Saturday Night Live this weekend. The billionaire businessman behind Tesla and SpaceX might seem like a strange choice for the hosting slot, which usually features actors, comedians and other Hollywood celebrities. But if sheer fame is a qualifier, Musk fits right in — he has more than 50 million Twitter followers, frequently makes headlines for his tweets, and is constantly right up there on the list of richest people in the world.

Here’s a rundown of what to know about Musk’s May 8 SNL appearance. 

Musk gets ready for the gig 

Musk seems pretty pleased to be hosting the long-running NBC sketch comedy show. He’s been tweeting reminders, including one last Tuesday in which he dubs himself the Dogefather. The tweet references the meme-themed cryptocurrency Dogecoin, which Musk has tweeted and talked about before.

For a short tweet, Musk’s words may have had a real-world effect. Barrons reported a Dogecoin rally, reporting that the currency was up about 15 percent, to 31 cents, in Wednesday trading.

Musk has also been musing on Twitter about some skits for himself. He proposed a “Woke James Bond” idea, plus a play on Iron Man called “Irony Man – defeats villains using the power of irony.” And he tweeted about a sketch in which “Baby Shark & Shark Tank merge to form Baby Shark Tank.”

Others were quick to snark at Musk’s skit ideas, with writer Ashley Feinberg tweeting, “Please if you work at SNL just let him do all of his ideas, from the bottom of my heart I beg you.”

Fan reaction

Naturally, there’s been plenty. 

Canadian musician Grimes, who shares a son with Musk, defended him on TikTok this week when commenters attacked Musk over issues involving the environment and women’s rights, while admitting he’s definitely “been very immature at points on Twitter.”

In 2018, Musk became involved in plans to rescue a Thai boys’ soccer team trapped in a cave, flying in a team of engineers and proposing using a mini-submarine to save them. But when British cave explorer Vernon Unsworth criticized Musk’s idea, Musk called Unsworth a “pedo guy” in a tweet. In 2019, a jury concluded Musk’s words did not defame Unsworth. 

“I wonder how much Musk paid NBC and Lorene Michaels for the gig,” one Twitter user wrote, referring to SNL creator Lorne Michaels. “Bet it’s enough to finance SNL’s entire 2021-’22 season.”

“Elon Musk hosting SNL is huge for guys still making ‘that’s what she said’ jokes who think they’d be great at hosting SNL,” wrote comedian and author Josh Gondelman.

Cast reaction

Because some consider Musk a controversial figure, SNL reportedly told cast members they will not be forced to act alongside him. So far none have publicly declined, but several cast members have commented on his coming to their show.

The SNL host has to work with its cast of seasoned comedians and writers, but rarely do those folks say anything about their host in advance. Not so for Musk. 

SNL cast member Bowen Yang reacted to a Musk tweet.

On the day the news was announced, Musk confirmed his appearance and tweeted, “Let’s find out just how live Saturday Night Live really is,” with a purple smiling devil-face emoji.

Yang reacted in an Instagram story with a frowning face, and then said, “What the f— does that even mean?”

Cast member Andrew Dismukes also commented on Musk’s hosting in an Instagram story, referring to SNL alum Cheri Oteri, and writing “ONLY CEO I WANT TO DO A SKETCH WITH IS Cher-E Oteri.”

Michael Che discussed Musk’s appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, joking that he hoped someone would tell Musk it was tradition for hosts to “give, like, a couple million dollars to the cast members.”

Cast member Aidy Bryant posted a quote from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders that says, in part, “the 50 wealthiest people in this country own more wealth than some 165 MILLION Americans. That is a moral obscenity.” Musk is regularly listed as either the world’s richest person, or among the very richest.

Musk’s past pop culture appearances 

Musk is certainly no stranger to the spotlight (or to cracking a joke). He’s had cameos in Iron Man 2The Simpsons and Rick and Morty — as Elon Tusk. And then there are the viral moments: taking a toke on Joe Rogan’s podcast, that could-almost-have-been-a-comedy-routine Cybertruck demo. And the tweets — including the one where Musk’s head was Photoshopped onto the Rock’s body. Musk also named his actually-a-thing tunnel-digging business The Boring Company.

And he’s not the only non-actor to host the NBC sketch comedy. Athletes such as Nancy Kerrigan and Lance Armstrong have hosted the show, as have politicians such as Rudy Giuliani and Al Gore. Even then-presidential candidate Donald Trump hosted in 2015.

Still, it’s fair to say many were shocked when SNL announced Musk would host the May 8 show, with Miley Cyrus returning for her sixth SNL stint as musical guest. It’s hard to imagine Musk cracking scripted jokes, and maybe even harder to imagine how he’ll be portrayed in sketches.

How to watch if you’re a cord-cutter

Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays on NBC at 11:30 pm ET/8:30 pm PT, ending at 1 a.m/11 p.m.. If you don’t care to watch live, SNL posts sketches on its Twitter and YouTube accounts as the show goes on. Can’t stay up that late? We’ll be rehashing Musk’s appearance here on CNET by the time you wake up on Sunday. And there will no doubt be plenty of reaction on social media. 

If you do want to watch the show live and you’re a cord-cutter, you can watch it with a live-TV streaming service

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Blue plan includes NBC, but only in a few select markets. If you don’t live in one of those markets you won’t be able to watch NBC or Saturday Night Live on Sling TV. The Blue plan also includes popular cable news channels such as CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. 

Read our Sling TV review.

 

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes the four major networks — NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox — along with popular cable news channels including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

 

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes the four major networks — NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox — along with popular cable news channels including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

 

FuboTV costs $65 a month and includes the four major networks — NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox — along with popular cable news channels including Fox News and MSNBC but not CNN. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

 

AT&T Now’s basic $70-a-month Plus package includes the four major networks — NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox — along with popular cable news channels including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

 

CNET’s Edward Moyer contributed to this report.




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