SpaceX's Elon Musk hosting 'Saturday Night Live' this weekend

SpaceX founder Elon Musk answered questions during a news conference held on April 23, 2021.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk answered questions during a news conference held on April 23, 2021. (Image credit: NASA TV)

Elon Musk is about to try his hand at comedy.

The SpaceX boss is hosting "Saturday Night Live" this weekend, on a show that features Miley Cyrus as the musical guest. 

Musk seems pretty excited about the gig. He recently asked his nearly 53 million Twitter followers for sketch ideas and trotted out a few of his own.

"Irony Man — defeats villains using the power of irony," Musk tweeted on May 1. (Actor Robert Downey Jr. has said he drew inspiration from Musk in shaping his portrayal of Tony Stark in the "Iron Man" films, and the billionaire entrepreneur has a cameo in "Iron Man 2.") "Baby Shark & Shark Tank merge to form Baby Shark Tank," Musk wrote in another tweet.

Those concepts may not make it onto the show. But we should expect some space-related sketches — something playing off Musk's long-held dream of Mars colonization, perhaps, or SpaceX's upcoming launch of four private citizens to orbit on the Inspiration4 mission.

The SNL appearance comes in the middle of a pretty good run for SpaceX. On April 23, the company launched its second contracted crewed mission to the International Space Station for NASA, and the astronauts who flew on SpaceX's first operational flight to the orbiting lab came down to Earth on May 2.

And just yesterday (May 5), a prototype of SpaceX's Starship Mars rocket aced a high-altitude test flight for the first time. The shiny silver vehicle, known as SN15 ("Serial No. 15"), flew 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) into the South Texas skies and came down for a soft landing — something that its four immediate predecessors had failed to achieve. (One of those previous vehicles, SN10, landed in one piece but exploded several minutes later.)

Musk has a longstanding interest in comedy. For example, he reportedly once wanted to buy The Onion, one of the longest-running and most venerated satirical outlets on the internet. He also helped bankroll a rival comedy site called Thud that was led by Onion alums but ended up backing out of the project.

Musk seems now to have soured on The Onion, which has put the billionaire in its satirical crosshairs multiple times. After a recent Onion slideshow joked that the South Africa-born Musk had gained his fortune via apartheid, Musk tweeted, "Shame on you, Onion. This is why people are switching to @TheBabylonBee!"

"Saturday Night Live" hosted by Elon Musk will air on NBC on May 8 at 11:30 p.m. EDT.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook. 

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.