Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft lifts off from the launch pad on July 20th. | Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images
Saturday Night Live returned this weekend and the show wasted no time taking aim at the weird billionaire space tourism race that unfolded over the past few months. Guest host Owen Wilson played former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a sketch about a fictional new show called Star Trek: Ego Quest, about “the voyages of the SS New Shepard and its crew of random weirdos,” whose mission is “to just sort of fly around space goofing off in a ship that looks like a penis,” according to the voiceover.
You’ll recall the real Bezos traveled to the edge of space in Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket in July, along with a crew that included his brother Mark (played in the sketch by Wilson’s brother Luke), 82-year-old pilot and space legend Wally Funk, and Dutch high school student Oliver Daemen. But Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Galactic, beat Bezos to space by few days when he took a trip aboard his company’s SpaceShipTwo spaceplane. And SpaceX sent its first crew of private citizens into space earlier this month, but CEO Elon Musk didn’t join them for the ride.
In the SNL sketch, Branson (Alex Moffatt), flying nearby in a ship with purple mood lighting, challenges Bezos to a race after they exchange some standard bro greetings for a flight the voiceover refers to as “a midlife crisis of cosmic proportions,” in which they accidentally wreck into the international space station. But wait, danger lurks around every corner: Suddenly Bezos’ ship is being pelted by photon torpedoes and yes of course it’s Elon Musk (Mikey Day, doing a spot-on impression of Musk’s speaking style).
“Space is only big enough for one white, weird billionaire,” “Musk” tells “Bezos.”
In reality, of course, neither Bezos or Musk has had much of a sense of humor about the other’s space aspirations. “You cannot sue your way to the moon,” the real Musk told journalist Kara Swisher in an interview last week while discussing Bezos and Blue Origin. In response, Amazon sent The Verge a 13-page PDF list that included all the times SpaceX has filed lawsuits.
The SNL sketch took one last jab at Bezos before it wrapped: an Amazon employee (Kenan Thompson) beams aboard Bezos’ ship to deliver a package, and before he beams out asks to use the bathroom.
Wilson-as-Bezos tosses him a plastic bottle.
You can watch the full SNL billionaire Star Trek sketch below.