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Will ‘SNL’ continue to book guest hosts like Elon Musk? Production expert weighs in

Elon Musk may have provided a blueprint to a “Saturday Night Live” ratings revival after the often controversial Tesla CEO appeared on the comedy sketch show and delivered an uptick in viewership.Musk, 49, showed himself to be adept at handling the heat of live television and despite murmurs from critics, who either didn’t like his performance or were against him appearing altogether, the space wizard was self-deprecating and willing to go to the mat to produce funny moments — which one deeply entrenched industry expert chalked up as a huge win for “SNL” showrunner Lorne Michaels and the Peacock Network.”When Lorne Michaels books you, he will work with you. He is a fair guy,” former “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” co-producer Dave Berg told Fox News of the Musk booking. “I mean, he didn’t bring Elon Musk on that show to bring him down. At the same time, they were taking little shots at Elon and he was going along with it. So I do think that Lorne Michaels has this reputation, he’ll give you a fair deal when he makes you an offer to come on his show.”Despite reports that some current cast members were against the booking of Musk – and reports that others threatened to boycott doing the show as long as Musk was in the building — Berg said he doesn’t believe the noise will hinder the show’s ability to land another guest with the polarization of the SpaceX head honcho in the future.ELON MUSK’S ‘SNL’ HOSTING GIG WAS A RATINGS HIT DESPITE CONTROVERSY
Guest-host Elon Musk, in white coat, appears alongside (l-r) Melissa Villaseñor,  Ego Nwodim, Heidi Gardner, and Kate McKinnon during the ‘Gen Z Hospital’ sketch on ‘Saturday NIght Live’ on May 8, 2021. (Photo By: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
“Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I think long term that it won’t,” said Berg. “If the entire cast had done something stupid, like ‘we’re not doing the show,’ – but it was just it was selected people and it’s not like they have any shortage of people on that show.” Added the ex-30 Rocker: “Long term, I don’t think this will discourage other potential guests that are like Elon Musk from coming on the show and I certainly hope it doesn’t because they’re the only guests that really make any difference to me.”HOW ELON MUSK’S ‘SNL’ APPEARANCE CREATED A ‘SEISMIC SHIFT’ FOR HIS PERSONAL BRAND: EXPERTThe producing staple pressed that Musk’s showcase likely opened the window for other mega-profile CEOs to step into guest-hosting duties on their own accord as the immense platform would provide the invaluable opportunity of increased awareness for their personal brands while delivering significant ratings bumps in an era where viewership habits are ever-changing.”I really find someone like Elon Musk way more interesting than just an actor,” Berg explained. “Nothing against actors but he’s just a really fascinating guy. And I feel like I got some insights into him.”
Elon Musk hosted the May 8, 2021 episode of ‘Saturday Night Live.’
( Photo By: Rosalind O’Connor/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)”[Musk] is not afraid to speak his mind and I’m sorry a guy like that is not going to be politically correct all the time, whether he’s talking about COVID-19 or anything else. So, sorry – people are just going to have to get over it when they don’t agree with everything Elon Musk says.”Last weekend’s episode averaged 7.3 million viewers, making it the third most-watched episode for the season behind the ones hosted by Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock, according to Nielsen figures.ELON MUSK HOSTING ‘SNL’ AS AN ‘ALIBI’ FOR CHINA ROCKET CRASH, JOKES ‘WEEKEND UPDATE’It’s a good outcome for the billionaire’s first time hosting “SNL,” although reviews of his attempts at comedy ranged from charitable to meh.The biggest pan, however, may be the response to jokes mocking the cryptocurrency dogecoin, for which Musk actually has been a steadfast booster — in the hour after the show started, dogecoin’s already volatile price fell 23% and bounced up and down the following day.”Saturday Night Live” included an opening exchange between Musk and his mother, who grimaced when he said that dogecoin would be her Mother’s Day gift, and an “Update” bit in which Musk appeared as a faux financial analyst, Lloyd Ostertag.Asked point-blank if “SNL” can bounce back to where it once was as a leading platform for hilarious sketch comedy, Berg shared with Fox News his overall assessment of the late-night program and offered up his own analysis for how they should move going forward.CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTER”I guess my problem with ‘Saturday Night Live’ is 85% of what they do isn’t funny,” said Berg. “I mean, honestly. I don’t watch shows to be critical. I just don’t think they’re funny.”Berg speculated the reason for the non-funny “could be that they think they’re doing sophisticated humor and you have to be of a certain level to get it.”He pressed that in his opinion, many of the jokes on “SNL” come across to viewers as “we’re too cool for the room” and added that in his view, “a lot of ‘SNL’s stuff is aimed at kind of an elitist audience.””I just don’t think they’re funny most of the time and I think that’s like the main complaint,” Berg added. “Now, when they are funny, they really are great and the clips go everywhere when they are funny, but most of the time it’s a miss, not a hit. I just wish they had funnier material.”CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPProbed on whether writers should take a bolder approach to joke-writing and delivery, Berg said he believes “SNL” should do the opposite and cautioned the program to “remember who their average viewer is.””I actually think they need to dial it back a little bit,” he said. “I think they’re trying to be too edgy, but that may be a minority point of view, I don’t know. But for whatever reason, I don’t think they’re that funny and most people don’t, you know. I think a lot of people share my view.”Added Berg to Lorne Michaels and company with just two episodes to go in the season: “Just try to remember the viewers and not your elitist colleagues – that’s all.””I am really happy that the ratings did pretty well – the initial overnights. I was really happy that it turned out to be a good booking in terms of what really counts – and that’s the numbers. Welcome to television.”Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.



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