This weekend, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is hosting “Saturday Night Live,” which, in case the name isn’t clear enough, airs live. This means that NBC relies on Musk to filter his thoughts in real time, despite little evidence, historically, that he is withholding just about anything he wants to say – even when he’s being watched by federal regulators.
Wall Street is already betting that Musk will take the opportunity to play a little investment game.
The cryptocurrency dogecoin, one of Musk’s favorite toys in the market, traded higher in anticipation of SNL’s appearance. And Tesla stock, which fell into bearish territory after hitting record highs in January, rose 1.5% on Friday.
Dogecoin was trading at around 65 cents on Friday, just below its all-time high of 69 cents. The shiba inu-themed digital currency, which started out as a joke, has jumped over 12,000% since January, fueled largely by Musk’s tweets. A few words from Musk on Twitter, where he has over 53 million subscribers, sent the crypto soaring to 100%.
So far, Musk has managed to tweet and say pretty much anything he wants – including his skepticism about Covid-19 and threats to workers considering unionizing – without serious repercussions. He settled securities fraud charges with the SEC in 2018 by paying a fine and is currently appealing a decision by the National Labor Relations Board in March that ordered Tesla to delete a disheartening three-year-old tweet unionization.
He smoked weed and performed with a samurai sword on Joe Rogan’s podcast in 2018, a move that upset shareholders and prompted two senior executives to leave. NASA, which had hired Musk’s SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station, ordered a security review of the company amid concerns over Musk’s behavior, according to multiple news reports.
But Tesla’s stock performance in 2020 has been so robust – stocks have risen more than 700% – few, if any, investors seem bothered by its tendency to behave erratically.
Still, several cast members on SNL have publicly expressed concerns about giving Musk an even greater platform as the show’s host.
Musk, Tesla’s self-proclaimed “Technoking,” is often described as an eccentric visionary, or, just as often, a reckless businessman with Peter Pan syndrome and a penchant for dragging his rivals. In either case, it is fundamentally unpredictable.
He said it best himself in a promotional video posted Thursday by SNL. “I’m a wild card, so we don’t know what I can do. “