New Austinite and billionaire Elon Musk went "Live from New York" as the first non-entertainer or athlete to host Saturday Night Live in over five years on Saturday.
The show itself was awkward and literally affected the economy— Dogecoin's value fell as much as 30% during the show— but Musk helped SNL ratings skyrocket and saw some laughs from the audience in his surprisingly decent monologue.
Here are some highlights from the Tesla CEO's first-ever SNL episode:
1. It wasn't as controversial as you might think
Musk drummed up plenty of heat when he was named an upcoming host, including some pointed, since-deleted posts from SNL cast members Aidy Bryant and Bowen Yang. The billionaire has gotten backlash in several instances over the years, including dismissing the gravity of the COVID pandemic in 2020, but he promised to "behave" in his first appearance on the late-night comedy show.
And, for the most part, he did. Musk brought up Dogecoin, the cryptocurrency that originated from the "doge" meme and has since been adopted by his cult following, several times throughout the show. He also addressed smoking weed on a podcast with fellow Austinite Joe Rogan.
"It's like reducing OJ Simpson to murderer. That was one time," Musk said,. He then addressed Simpson's two appearances on SNL in 1979 and 1996. "Killed both times," he said.
And, as many non-performers are when hosting SNL, he was awkward, missing key comedic timing and making several of his already not-so-well-written jokes misfire. Still, he drew up a few laughs in his opening monologue, where he addressed his controversial tweeting, said he drives a Prius, and finally addressed the pronunciation for his child X Æ A-12's unconventional name.
"It's pronounced 'cat running across the keyboard'," Musk said.
2. He said he was the first-ever host with Asperger's
"I am actually making history tonight as the first person with Asperger's to host SNL.... Or atleast the first to admit it."— Divyajoyt (@TheWokeJedi) May 9, 2021
Such courage 👏 More power to you 🙏#ElonMusk #ElonSNL#ElonMuskSNL #aspergers pic.twitter.com/zPSEI8Ffre
In his opening monologue, Musk joked about the monotone in his voice. "I've heard it's great for comedy," he said.
A minute later, Musk announced he had Asperger's to the public for the first time and said he was the first-ever SNL host with Asperger's. "Or at least the first person to admit it," Musk joked.
He's actually not the first— former cast member Dan Aykroyd is public about his Asperger's diagnosis, and he hosted in 2003. Still, it's a surprising announcement for Musk and helps reveal the man behind the millions.
3. Musk's mother made an appearance
Musk joked that he might not be a "chill normal dude," but the audience got another glimpse of his humanity when his mother graced the stage during his monologue directly after all the SNL cast members brought their mothers in to do one-liners on stage. It was a little jolty, but his mom pulled through as she brought up his humble beginnings, including a $500 bank account that he didn't even have access to as a child.
Musk's mother said she was excited for her Mother's Day gift, but quipped "I hope it's not Dogecoin." Musk merely smirked.
It wasn't the last time Musk would mention his favorite cryptocurrency. Later, he played a financial expert on the "Weekend Update" and smiled harder than he had all episode.
4. Musk plays himself, a Dogecoin advocate, and- Wario?
Wario was my fav haha 👀 https://t.co/TNjn3meLVJ— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2021
The world's second-richest man drew some genuine laughs when he donned purple and yellow overalls and a zig-zaggy mustache to portray video game villain Wario. Wario goes under fire for murder, but his lawyer accuses the prosecution of defamation. Mario, Luigi, Waluigi, and a surprise appearance with Grimes as Princess Peach make this the highlight sketch of the episode.
5. Musk and cast go in on Gen Z
Musk's first sketch doesn't quite hit when the cast tried to keep it hip for a Gen Z Hospital Episode. Musk was forced by a cringey writing team to deliver lines such as "your bestie took a major L." This wasn't on Musk— SNL just failed pretty badly at seeming younger and cooler than it actually is. Coming from a Gen Z cusp, it's not that they were making fun of our generation, which has given plenty of opportunity to be laughed at. Somehow, they just made Gen Z look better with their failed attempt at young people's lingo.
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Expect some whiplash this week, Austinites: with an expected high of 103 degrees, Monday is predicted to be the hottest day of the year, but a midweek cold front is on the way to bring that first glimpse of fall.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport could see its first 100-degree temperature this year on Monday as temperatures citywide are expected to exceed this year's record of 102 degrees.
The cold front arrives Tuesday afternoon to evening.#atx #atxwx #cbsaustinwx https://t.co/rQni6ug3y4 pic.twitter.com/PoFeHPYtnM
— Chikage Windler WX (@ChikageWeather) September 20, 2021
After a typical summery Tuesday with highs in the mid-90s, Wednesday will welcome the first signs of fall as a cold front drops lows into the 50s.
Expect more wind and a chance of rain come Tuesday with a 40% chance of scattered storms. The cold front, which should last through Friday, will bring a drier, crisper air that could cause fire hazards on Wednesday.
Highs will be in the upper 80s and lows in the 50s and lower 60s for the front's final two mornings.
After near record heat today, a cold front arrives tomorrow! Hang in there South-Central Texas, we have almost made it. pic.twitter.com/yd9UbNo7hY
— NWS Austin/San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) September 20, 2021
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After months of speculation, a new report says political personality Beto O'Rourke is mulling a run for Texas governor that he will announce later this year.
Sources tell Axios the former congressman is preparing his campaign for the 2022 election, where he will likely vie for the position against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The only other candidate that has announced he will take on Abbott for governor is former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West—no Democrats have announced they are running as of yet.
"No decision has been made," Axios reports David Wysong, O'Rourke's former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser, said. "He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state."
A new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows O'Rourke is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott's prospects for governor. In the poll, 37% said they'd vote for O'Rourke over Abbott, while 42% said they'd vote for Abbott.
Abbott has been in the hot seat due to his handling of COVID-19 and the signing of landmark legislation into law, including new abortion and voting rights laws; 54% of poll respondents voted they think the state is headed in the "wrong direction." Still, Texas hasn't had a Democrat as governor since the 90s.
O'Rourke's people-focused approach to the 2018 Senator race, which he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, gave him a widespread following and many hoped he'd throw his hat into the ring since he said he was considering it earlier this year.
"We hope that he's going to run," Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. "We think he'll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott because he's vulnerable."
Austin rapper Jordi Esparza may not have won the 2021 Red Bull Batalla, the world's largest Spanish freestyle rap competition, but for a spirited two rounds, the 22-year old Mexican native looked like he had every right to.
On Saturday evening in Los Angeles, the event itself looked like Cobra Kai meets Star Search with graphics adding a very Batman Beyond aesthetic. Over a dozen rappers hoping to represent the U.S. in the international round of the competition took to the stage with in-your-face jabs at accents, sexual orientation and odors, among other things.
This was Esparza's second rodeo; he had placed third at the 2020 National Finals, automatically securing him a spot this year.
However, things were different this year. He was not nervous about the contest. Unlike in 2020, when he made his Red Bull Batalla debut, the anxiety of the event led him to "feeling so bad."
Affecting a casual calm, the locally-based landscaper said he just felt "so relaxed, so happy" and primarily wanted to "enjoy everything."
Choosing his first-round opponent, Esparza, whose stage name is Jordi, elected to go against LA-based Boss.
Esparza freestyled an attack on his opponent's weight and cholo style of dress.
Boss—bracketing his Latin freestyle with English appeals to the crowd—mocked Jordi's lack of education, made fun of how clean Jordi's shoes looked and suggested that Jordi just came back from a Footlocker.
That first round went to Jordi.
But his next opponent Eckonn would prove to be his undoing.
Eckonn compared Jordi to Hannah Montana, while Jordi soulfully explained that he had learned from the best.
Esparza's verbal dexterity is matched by a rattling rhythm and a game face that is as mawkish as it is mockish. The overall effect is that of an underdog with bite.
Eckonn beat Esparza in that round with the overall championship going to Palm Beach-based rapper Reverse.
However, Esparza was just happy to be there. He recently told Austonia going to the finals again was a dream come true—a pinnacle that he said he won't know how to top.
With his nimble jabs and sneaky prowess, honed from pop culture and the swagger of a young working man hungry to be more, Jordi Esparza is just getting started.