Monday, May 10, 2021

Lorne Michaels Still Lorne Michaels


"There's a sucker born every minute," P.T. Barnum is reportedly to have said, though the line probably was uttered by a Syracuse banker and competitor of Barnum. In either case, the quote foresaw many of Donald Trump's supporters and individuals infatuated in 2008 with a tall, slender US Senator from Illinois.

However, it currently applies most to some of the viewers of Saturday Night Live- generally, but especially on last Saturday's show.

SNL succeeded in humanizing Musk and, well, faking authenticity is a real skill. He even loves his mother (video below)! 



Among the positive responses to Musk's  performance- and let us remember it was a performance- were

Whole new respect for this human. What a genuinely good guy. Thanks

@elonmusk

 for your light hearted - yet serious support. And for setting an example for others to follow. #SpaceX #dogetothemoon  #dogearmy

What a time to be alive. Exploding head Take these facts in for a couple minutes...

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 *Tech billionaire #ElonMusk hosts Saturday Night Live, & announces that he's the first SNL host with Asperger's syndrome.

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 I really didn’t have an opinion of Musk either way before the show. Anyone that is willing to go on national TV and make fun of himself and call out to the world he has Asperger’s is okay in my book.   It was refreshing.

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There was some pushback on the honor bestowed upon Musk because a few people didn't forget that this was the same Elon Musk who

sent employees back to work at his California Tesla factory in defiance of local shelter-in-place orders, which he described as "fascist" and "forcible imprisoning." He also predicted the US would be reporting "close to zero new cases" by the end of April. And he vouched for an approach that would allow mass infection before vaccines become available.

And two months ago, the National Labor Relations Board

upheld a 2019 ruling that Tesla had illegally fired a worker involved in union organizing and that the company’s chief executive, Elon Musk, had illegally threatened workers with the loss of stock options if they unionized.

It figures that Lorne Michaels would invite Musk onto his show for the latter's public relations project.  The last time a billionaire CEO hosted Saturday Night Live was in 2015. In 2017, Taran Killam, who had left the cast two months earlier, remarked

I don’t necessarily put so much weight into [the idea of] Trump hosting SNL helping him become president, but there’s definitely something where it normalizes him and it makes it OK for him to be part of the conversation. And I don’t think the intention of having him on was ever politically based. I sincerely believe that. But I don’t think it was considered — the implications that it had then and could have moving forward. And I think looking back … there’s nothing good I can take from that week.

The radio pubcaster also asked about the personal side of Trump. “He’s not an enjoyable person to be around — he’s from a different class; he’s from a different way of life,” Killam said. “There was never any common ground.”

The actor also noted the “hypocrisy” of the rejuvenated SNL becoming a  mouthpiece of opposition to Trump’s presidency. “It certainly feels like there’s some hypocrisy there. I guess you could say, ‘Oh, they’re righting wrongs.’ And I don’t even think it’s righting wrongs. I think the show tries to — and in particular, Lorne’s outlook is — play to both sides. Play to the masses, play to whatever the popular opinion is. But, boy, they could definitely mine some comedy out of owning up to it, huh?”

It normalizes him and it makes it OK for him to be part of the conversation. In 2016, Lorne Michaels calculated that there would be millions of suckers among the viewers of Saturday Night Live and the tens of millions of people who would glimpse Trump's act on social media or on newscasts.  With Elon Musk's appearance, he figured the same would ensue.

Among the suckers, there were plenty of viewers and non-viewers who were repulsed by the selection of last Saturday's hosts. Still, it takes a special kind of guy to elevate candidate Donald Trump and business mogul Elon Musk, and it's not likely he's going to own up to it.

 

 

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