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Elon Musk Is Set to Host SNL. Controversy Has Ensued

Some claim that the backlash over billionaire's May 8 appearance may have been intentional for ratings
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2021 10:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – An announcement over the weekend that Elon Musk will host Saturday Night Live on May 8, along with musical guest Miley Cyrus, caught many by surprise—and it wasn't entirely a pleasant one. Newsweek notes that fans blasted the show, and creator Lorne Michaels, for the decision to let the SpaceX and Tesla CEO take the helm, with some slamming the fact that Musk has made controversial remarks about the coronavirus and the COVID vaccine, including that "the coronavirus panic is dumb" (posted as the pandemic took hold in March 2020). Others, meanwhile, took issue with his billionaire status. "Having Elon Musk host SNL is really inspiring to other billionaires who have also wanted to host. Dream big, guys!" one commenter snarked. Dean Obeidallah writes for CNN that Musk has also made "insensitive" remarks about the transgender community, and that for many of the reasons mentioned, he "doesn't deserve" the hosting gig.

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Travis Andrews doesn't think the controversy comes as a total surprise to the show—in fact, "there's a fair argument to be made that said backlash was the intention," he writes for the Washington Post. Andrews notes the show has tapped into "atypical" and "unusual" hosts, guests, and cameos in the past—including Donald Trump and Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan, just weeks after she'd been attacked—in an effort to boost ratings, and it's often worked. "People seem to be as drawn to watching train wrecks, car crashes, and enormous boats stuck in canals as they are to good comedy," Andrews writes. "For better or worse, if history's any guide, the masses will be tuning in on May 8—which is arguably the entire point." Meanwhile, MarketWatch envisions what a copy of Musk's opening monologue might look like, but with redactions from the SEC. See it here, with an opening that "looks to be the funniest the show has had in years." (Read more Elon Musk stories.)

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