Saturday Night Live (S.N.L.) has been a uniquely American comedy show since its creation in 1975. Constant in form and time, yet featuring an ever-changing in cast and writing quality, S.N.L. has been an avenue for young comedians to get their starts in showbusiness, for floozy celebrities to promote their projects, and for musical guests to perform slightly worse versions of songs you’ve heard in every commercial on TV that week. The Phillipian as an institution loves S.N.L. But this week they are testing us.
On April 24, S.N.L. announced that Elon Musk will be hosting on May 8 of this year. Having been born in South Africa, a child of divorce, employed at the age of 12, fathered the child of a gay icon rockstar, and is now sending his car to space for no reason, Elon Musk is an American dream. The ideal. With a net worth of over 160 billion dollars and a mass social media following, Musk already has a platform to air out his questionable and problematic ideas.
His hosting of S.N.L. does not seem to be for any particular reason. He does not have a TV show or a debut album on the way. Instead, it is to promote the cryptocurrency––Dogecoin––of which Musk owns a significant share. Dogecoin features the viral 2010 doge meme. It was a sensation to invest in after the Reddit Gamestop fiasco, but we will not venture further into the economics of it. Long story short, Elon Musk wants to gain investors in this cryptocurrency by hosting S.N.L.
You may be thinking that everyone who hosts S.N.L. just wants money––that’s why anyone does anything. To which we say, fair, but this money from S.N.L. publicity should be made in the name of the promotion of art. We need to maintain the illusion that these celebrities really care about “Aquaman 4: Water You Doing??” rather than the second richest man in the world trying to scheme low-income Reddit investors into giving him more money directly.
This choice is not one sided, we understand that. People like Elon. Is he approachable? Attractive? We don’t really think so. He runs a company that notoriously mistreats employees, disbanded Tesla’s public relations sector in order to have autonomy over its outreach, endorsed the views of a sex cult on Twitter, and does not donate nearly the amount of his money that he can or should. The issue that his popularity is derived from people who don’t know this—or simply do not care.
S.N.L., and other similar platforms, should avoid letting the meshing of economics, politics, and celebrity that is all too common today affect their choice of host. S.N.L. should be a platform that uplifts art and offers an arena for comedy and quippy writing. Elon Musk, a temperamental billionaire with dreams of space domination, has no place on it.