For the last week I’ve heard Tim Curry’s voice in my head – “I can see you shiver with antici—-pation”.
The announcement of Elon Musk on SNL put the country on the edge of their seats for the last week. My Google News alerts have been going nuts with writers from all corners of the internet analyzing Bowen Yang’s Instagram story and dissecting Pete Davidson’s responses on Seth Meyers. Everyone has been asking each other – why is Elon Musk on the host docket?! The answer was delivered last night – he’s there to boost ratings.
I am the only person I know that watches SNL religiously. Well, me and Edward, but he’s usually scrolling through tiktok. It’s our Sunday morning ritual. Not this week, though. This week the internet has been abuzz, which is exactly what Lorne was hoping for.
Let’s be real here – SNL thrives under a republican presidency. As the lower classes writhe in uncertainty and fear, as the funds that should be used to take care of our country get funneled to beef up the military so that we can dominate other countries, as the Earth cries and fills up with harmful emissions and single use plastics – at least SNL thrives. Under Bush and Trump, SNL was the bright spot in the darkness. They did not thrive under Obama, and they’re falling a little flat now with Biden in office and Trump off twitter. So, to goose their ratings, they create a sensation.
Elon Musk is not the most beloved man in the country by any means. The damage he did at the beginning of Covid was substantial, and the country is trending more and more towards “eat the rich” so he’s not popular with the masses right now. But this is America, where low poll numbers make for high ratings. I spent the last week expecting the rating sensation to fall flat with a poor performance from Musk, the bar was set so low that the show could have been at par and I would have been pleasantly surprised. So my pants were blown off when the writers brought their A Game and Musk committed to his roles with an endearing childlike enthusiasm. I found myself both disarmed and charmed, and with the exception of the multiple cousin-fucking jokes, I was very entertained this week.
I was so pleased that SNL pulled out all the stops for this week’s episode. It started with the feel good Mother’s Day open, and followed up strong with the monologue that capitalized on Musk’s eccentricities and somehow brought me joy and peace because I believed that he believed a Star Trek future was actually possible. The first few sketches really stood above the fold, the post-Covid party was my personal favorite and really gave Musk a chance to shine. While the show stalled at an odd Iceland sketch that felt like an excuse to do Frances McDormand and Bjork impressions, Ego Nwodim brought it back during Weekend Update with her “weary mother in her darkest hour.”
While this episode was wildly entertaining, it left me skeptical. This didn’t seem to be just a ratings manipulation for SNL, it was clearly a PR move for Musk as well. It was brilliant, America wasn’t ready for him to be so charming and to fit in so well with the sketches he was given. He was able to soften his image by poking fun at himself in subtle and obvious ways, and I felt kinder towards him after it was all said and done. The episode will go down as one of this season’s best, but we should all be watching it with eyes wide open.
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