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SpaceX's Elon Musk lands on 'Saturday Night Live' to talk space, Mars (and yes, Dogecoin)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk as himself handling a crisis on Mars from SpaceX mission control on "Saturday Night Live" on May 8, 2021.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk as himself handling a crisis on Mars from SpaceX mission control on "Saturday Night Live" on May 8, 2021. (Image credit: NBC)

SpaceX founder Elon Musk landed on late-night TV Saturday (May 8) to joke about space exploration, the popular Dogecoin cryptocurrency, which arose from a meme he once began, and more as the host of "Saturday Night Live."

Musk, known for his space company, Tesla electric cars and colorful comments on Twitter, hosted SNL with singer Miley Cyrus as the musical guest. He said he was the first SNL host to have Asperger's syndrome as he opened the sketch comedy show in New York City late Saturday. Asperger's is one of a range of conditions under autism spectrum disorder that "is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication," according to the Mayo Clinic.

"It's an honor to be hosting 'Saturday Night Live.' I mean that," Musk said. "Sometimes after I say something I have to say, 'I mean that' so people really know that I mean it. That's because I don't always have a lot of intonational variation in how I speak – which I'm told makes for great comedy."

He added: "I'm actually making history tonight as the first person with Asperger's to host SNL. Or at least the first to admit it."

His opening monologue included a reference to Mother's Day, which is Sunday (May 9) – in which he promised he would gift his mother Dogecoin. He probably should have briefed her, as Musk's mother, Maye, came on stage proclaiming: "I'm excited for my Mother's Day gift. I just hope it's not Dogecoin."

One of the comedy routine's most pointed highlights was a nod to the falling Chinese rocket booster that plummeted uncontrollably to Earth Saturday, luckily with no casualties as it fell into the ocean. SNL pointed some fun at the situation with a nod to SpaceX's recent rocket debris crash; "And for once, we know it's not Elon's fault," opened a three-minute skit on the discussion.

Perhaps the funniest part of the night was a sketch about SpaceX's proposed Mars settlement plans and an astronaut called Chad.

Other highlights included Musk using his elite Generation Z slang (Generation Z being people ranging from teenagers to mid-20 somethings) in a Gen Z hospital:

Musk also mused on what it might be like to be a producer on an Icelandic pop culture talk show:

And there was the obligatory skit about Dogecoin, a meme-inspired cryptocurrency hailed by Musk, during the Weekend Update. 

Another sketch nodded toward Musk's tunnelling Boring company, portraying him as an eccentric cowboy trying to take down a gang.

Finally, if you've ever wondered what Elon Musk would look like as the Super Mario Brothers villain Wario, wonder no more.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for Space.com who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is the author or co-author of several books on space exploration. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota in Space Studies, and an M.Sc. from the same department. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University in Canada, where she began her space-writing career in 2004. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level, and for government training schools. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @howellspace.