Billionaire Elon Musk has made his hotly anticipated appearance on Saturday Night Live, saying he may be the first person with Asperger’s syndrome to host the show.
The 49-year-old Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder, who is one of the world’s richest people, opened his monologue by mocking his monotonal speaking style, saying no one could tell when he was joking.
“It’s great to be hosting Saturday Night Live, and I really mean it,” Musk said.
“Sometimes after I say something I have to say that I mean it.”
He added he was the first person with Asperger’s syndrome to host the show “or at least the first person to admit it”.
It may have been the first time Musk has publicly said he has the form of autism.
Musk also joked about his Twitter account, which has more than 50 million followers, and the posts that led some critics to object to his being invited to host the show.
“Look, I know I sometimes say or post strange things, but that’s just how my brain works,” he said.
Musk added a boast that got a laugh.
“To anyone who’s been offended, I just want to say I reinvented electric cars and I’m sending people to Mars in a rocket ship,” Musk said.
“Did you think I was also going to be a chill, normal dude?”
Musk did not appear in the show’s unconventional and heart-warming cold open, in which cast members and their mothers did brief bits for Mother’s Day as musical guest Miley Cyrus sang her godmother Dolly Parton’s inspirational Light of a Clear Blue Morning.
Musk brought his own mother, model Maye Musk, on stage to talk about what he was like when he was 12.
The casting choice brought criticism from those who felt the show was celebrating a man for his exorbitant wealth in a time of great inequality and a man who spread misinformation to his huge Twitter following as he downplayed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic.
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) May 9, 2021
Playing on Musk’s reputation as an innovator, NBC live-streamed the episode globally on YouTube, the first time Saturday Night Live has been viewable simultaneously around the world.
Musk took his first stiff stab at acting in the show’s first sketch, a mock soap called Gen Z Hospital, playing a doctor in a fake beard who delivered bad news to a group of youths in their own lingo.
“You all might want to sit down, what I’m going to say might be a little cringe,” Musk said.
“Your bestie took a major L.”
Guest starring … pic.twitter.com/buM3bTOWbX
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 7, 2021
He had small roles in subsequent sketches.
He played one of a party full of people out for the first time after quarantine, and he did a type of German accent in a bleached, spiked wig as the director of an Icelandic talk show.
He also played a character close to himself, putting on a bow tie and glasses as a financial analyst named Lloyd Ostertag giving an extended plug for Musk’s favoured cryptocurrency Dogecoin.
Australian rapper The Kid LAROI also appeared on the show. The 17-year-old performed his hit Without You alongside Cyrus.
While Musk is likely to be the wealthiest person to have hosted the show, several other business leaders, politicians and other non-entertainers have hosted the sketch comedy institution in its more than four decades on the air.
Steve Forbes, a publishing executive from a wealthy family and a longshot presidential candidate, hosted in 1996.
Former US president Donald Trump hosted twice – in 2004 as businessman and host of The Apprentice and in 2015 as a presidential candidate.
The show’s sketches began making him their primary target the following year, but the choice to team with Mr Trump has brought harsh criticism in the years since.