- “Saturday Night Live” made fun of Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk’s space tourism efforts.
- In a pseudo-trailer for “Star Trek: Ego Quest,” Owen Wilson played Bezos on his “midlife crisis of epic proportions.”
- The sketch mirrored the recent race to space between Bezos and Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson.
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A “Saturday Night Live” sketch poked fun at the billionaire space race.
Guest host Owen Wilson played Jeff Bezos in a pseudo-trailer for “Star Trek: Ego Quest.” The trailer’s tag-line was “take flight on a midlife crisis of epic proportions.” It made light of accusations that Bezos and Richard Branson wasted billions on their trips to space.
“Dude, space is freaking awesome,” Wilson’s rendition of Bezos said.
The sketch followed “Captain Bezos” and his “crew of random weirdos” on their mission “to just sort of fly around space goofing off in a ship that looks like a penis,” according to the voice-over. Wilson’s brother Luke Wilson got in on the action, playing Bezos’ brother Mark Bezos, as SNL reenacted the billionaire’s 11-minute spaceflight. “SNL” also parodied 82-year-old pilot Wally Funk and 19-year-old Oliver Daemen in the sketch.
In the video, the group comes face-to-face with Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who were played by Alex Moffatt and Mikey Day. The two characters challenge Bezos to a space race, hearkening back to when Branson beat Bezos to space in July. In the sketch, the two ships crash into the International Space Station.
“Oops, don’t care,” Branson said in the sketch. In the video, he is surrounded by purple mood lighting and a bottle of “Space Champagne.”
The race is quickly followed by an attack from Musk. In the sketch, the SpaceX ship fires at the “SS New Shepard.” In reality, SpaceX sent it first crew of private citizens into space earlier this month. Though, Musk has yet to journey into space personally.
“Space is only big enough for one weird white billionaire,” Musk’s character said in the sketch. “You could say beating you is my prime objective.”
The sketch also made light of reports of the poor treatment of Amazon workers. “Bezos” beams up an Amazon worker, played by Kenan Thompson, for a delivery. When the worker asks to go to the bathroom, the billionaire hands him a plastic bottle and quickly beams him back out. Insider’s Kate Taylor and Avery Hartmans have previously reported that Amazon delivery drivers often urinate in bottles in order to meet delivery deadlines – an allegation Amazon denies, calling it an industry-wide problem that it’s working to solve.
Ultimately, the “SNL” sketch plays on a longtime and very public rivalry between the billionaires. Musk has repeatedly jabbed at Bezos over the past year, from dissing his inability to beat Branson to space – “Can’t get it up (to orbit)” – to calling the CEO out for suing SpaceX. Similarly, when Branson beat Bezos to space, Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith insinuated Virgin Galactic was not truly going to space, as it would not fly as high as the Blue Origin rocket.
The space race has come under multiple attacks from public figures. At the time of Bezos’ launch, Senator Elizabeth Warren took Bezos to task for the spaceflight after ProPublica reported that the Amazon founder didn’t pay any income taxes for at least two years between 2006 and 2018. More recently, Bill Gates and a UN chief called the billionaires out for spending billions on space while larger issues on Earth go unaddressed.
Bezos and Musk have responded to the criticism in the past, saying they plan to address issues on Earth, as well as build a future in outer space.
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