The Tesla CEO made his debut as host of the sketch show – a decision some cast members appeared to criticise on social media shortly after it was announced last month.
During the Weekend Update segment, Colin Jost, who co-hosts it with Michael Che, referenced China’s Long March 5B rocket, which fell to Earth around the time of the broadcast. The rocket is unrelated to Musk or his businesses, and is instead part of China’s space programme.
Jost referenced the fact that the rocket had just crashed into the ocean, adding as a joke: “And for once, we know it’s not Elon’s fault.”
“A lot of people have been wondering, why is he hosting our show?” Jost quipped. “And now, we know: it’s because he needed an alibi.”
The line was made with laughter from the audience.
In addition to Tesla, Musk is the CEO of SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer. Che appeared to take a swipe at the company’s ambitions when he referenced Jeff Bezos’s recent decision to auction off a ticket for the first passenger flight of his own rocket company, Blue Origin.
“Why are all these rich white people trying to go to space?” Che wondered. “If any Martian’s watching this, when you see a bunch of foreign ships pull up on your land, take it from a Black dude: don’t get on them.”
Che further teased Musk during a bit about Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency supported by Musk. The segment saw Jost – and at one point Che – repeatedly asking Musk: “What is Dogecoin?” and renewing the question each time he tried to provide an answer.
Back in April, when SNL announced it would welcome Musk as its host, some cast members appeared to respond negatively – and cryptically – on social media.
Bowen Yang shared a screenshot of a tweet by Musk which read: “Let’s find out just how live Saturday Night Live really is,” adding: “What the f*** does this even mean?”
Aidy Bryant, meanwhile, shared a tweet from Bernie Sanders in which the Vermont senator criticised wealth disparities in the US.