Elon Musk’s star will be the guest host Saturday Night Live was like no other in the nearly half-century history of the American television comedy show. Even before he tried to get a laugh, Musk’s appearance helped pump up the price of a cryptocurrency that began as a joke.
Its name is dogecoin – a tribute to internet meme with a Shiba Inu dog. Developed in 2013 by two technologists who had fun with the buzz around cryptocurrency, it has attracted a serious amount of money and reached a market value north of $ 90 billion at various times on Friday and Saturday, according to the CoinMarketCap website.
Ten-billion dollars in value were added in the days before Saturday Night Live, reflecting hopes that a TV-broadcast wink or nod from the dogecoin-friendly Tesla CEO will spur his followers to buy more. Musk seemed to encourage wishful thinking and teasing his appearance with tweets, including one last month that said, “The Dog Father / SNL May 8.”
Musk, who took on the extra title of “technoking by Tesla” this year, quickly tipped his crown in the direction of the dogecoin faithful Saturday night. During his opening monologue, he led his mother Maye out, and after an exchange of pleasures, they got started.
“I’m excited about my Mother’s Day gift,” she said, speaking just minutes before the American version of the celebration was due to start on Sunday, Eastern Time. “I just hope it’s not dogecoin.”
“That’s it,” Musk replied, smiling broadly. “Definitely.”
The dogecoin discourse became somewhat more analytical as Musk returned in the role of butterfly-wearing financial expert “Lloyd Ostertag” during SNL’s satirical Weekend update segment.
“Call me the dog father,” he said as he arrived, recalling the words in the recent Musk tweet, before being asked by anchor Michael Che to explain cryptocurrencies.
“They are a type of digital money. But instead of being controlled by a central government, they are decentralized using blockchain technology, ”said Musk / Ostertag. “And recently, prices have been rising sharply for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum and especially dogecoin.”
Then it got complicated. No less than six times and with increasing comic effect, the anchors Musk / Ostertag asked: “What is dogecoin?” After giving a series of answers, including calling it “an unstoppable financial vehicle that will take over the world,” he said, “I keep telling you it’s a cryptocurrency you can trade for conventional money.”
“So it’s a crowd?” asked Che.
“Yes, it’s a crowd,” said a widely laughing Musk / Ostertag, before proclaiming, “To the moon!”
The hashtag #dogetothemoon had been trending on Twitter in anticipation of Musk’s appearance. But the price of dogecoin fell sharply around the time of the SNL broadcast. In the small Sunday hours – an illiquid time in the financial world – the dogecoin price had fallen by about a quarter to take the market value below $ 70 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.
The dog father was shown as promised, but it was hard to know what to do with his words. With his tongue relentlessly in his cheek, he kept his audience guessing why one of the richest people in the world would want to joke around on television about a funny cryptocurrency that could gain and lose tens of tens of billions of dollars in value in a matter of days .
“Look, I know I sometimes say or send weird things, but that’s how my brain works,” Musk said during his monologue. “To someone I have offended, I just want to say that I reinvented electric cars and I am sending people to Mars in a rocket ship. Do you think I’ll be a cool, normal guy too? ”
Musk giggled, and the study audience laughed. Whether dogecoin investors will liquidate in the same way amused remains to be seen.