With last night’s deeply questionable choice of SNL host Elon Musk having admitted that some people (not him, never him) will have to die so that his dreams of being the king of Mars can become a someday reality, the question has always been, “Well, who’s it going to be?” Of course, there are other questions, like, “Why would anyone die for Elon Musk?,” and “Um, why are rich white men planning to colonize other planets while we’re still trying to live on this this one?” But, for the purposes of one of the only decent sketches in last night’s predictably host-hobbled episode, the answer to that first question is clear. And his name is Chad.
For fans of the show, or cast member Pete Davidson’s gift for portraying temperamentally noncommittal slacker types, Chad is really the only choice to be the first man on Mars/canary in Musk’s emerald mine. Sure, there are other people inhabiting the sketch’s approximation of the first, SpaceX-branded Mars colony (including last night’s musical guest Miley Cyrus as Chad’s Red Planet sort-of girlfriend). But, when the air starts to run thin, the radiation levels are climbing, and not even some Martian poop-potatoes are in sight, it’s up to Chad to shrug his shoulders and say an unconcerned, “Okay,” at the prospect of a station-saving suicide mission.
It helps that Chad is told, just before climbing into his space suit, that hookup pal Cyrus’ unborn baby is his (“No thank you,” he says in passing.) And that, as has been the case when confronted by previous earthbound suitors that their (to-him) indifferent coupling must end, Chad faces every potential conflict with the equanimity of a particularly numb and blissful Mars-rock. With Musk (protected as he was by pre-taped sketches much of the night) looking on in paternalistic gratitude at Chad’s doomed stroll to fix the settlement’s oxygen generator, Chad, indeed, saves the day, his certain doom from deadly radiation only thwarted by his unthinking obeisance to the letter of Musk’s command to let the viewing world take in the face of the man who just saved Musk’s vision of fleeing this polluted mudball with all its poor people picking apart his every crappy word and deed. Will this be the end of Chad? Not if SNL’s history with recurring bits has anything to say about it.