Whatever your feelings about Saturday Night Live, there’s no denying that it is the place for comedians in the U.S. Any laundry list of America’s brightest funny farmers of the last few decades would be bound to include a preponderance of names that either got their start or their big break on SNL, or solidified comedy persona with a few memorable times at bat as host. We’d list a few examples here but, honestly, who needs it? You know these names as well as we do, and now there’s a new one to add to the list. Billionaire CEO and tech magnate Elon Musk.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) April 24, 2021
Why. Why? Why is Elon Musk hosting Saturday Night Live? Set aside your feelings for the man himself, whatever they may be. He has a large number of acolytes who swear by his genius and just as many detractors put off by his hype, but let’s ignore those camps and return to the why of it all. Musk may enjoy humor. At least, he enjoys posting memes, one of the passingly few billionaires who still seems to enjoy the simple pleasures of a “you win the interwebs today, sir!” in the replies. That doesn’t necessarily make him a comedian but it probably does mean he’s the kinda guy who wants to be on SNL which probably answers the “why.” When you’re Elon Musk, you can afford to make such dreams come true.
But why did Lorne Michaels agree to give Musk the keys for the evening? The musical guest is Miley Cyrus, one of the show’s most reliable super hosts of the last few years, more than capable of handling both musical and hosting duties. Why not let her handle both? Why? And if Cyrus isn’t up to it, it’s not like America is suffering from a dearth of untapped comedic talent. Why.
Musk is far from the first non-comedian to host the show. In the past, athletes (like Derek Jeter and Lebron James), politicians (Steve Forbes and a pre-White House Donald Trump) and reality stars (Paris Hilton) have all handled hosting duties, to varying degrees of success. But this one feels odd even by past standards. Who knows? Maybe he’ll excel. Maybe Lorne Michaels is aware of some level of untapped potential in Musk that will bloom before all our eyes on May 8. Maybe they’ll give Musk the opportunity to discuss the ways he’s played down the COVID crisis or accused a man who rescued a group of kids of being a pedophile. That would be a riot. Or maybe the man will just crash and burn.