Even Dave Chappelle’s biggest fans hate Elon Musk

photo of elon musk and photo of dave chappelle

Musk was booed for minutes on end after he joined Chappelle onstage this weekend.

In a scene reminiscent of medieval peasants jeering at a hated king, Elon Musk joined Dave Chappelle onstage to a chorus of boos this weekend. Apparently “richest man in the world” is not, in fact, a desirable trait for a celebrity guest during our current era of income inequality.

Chappelle often brings guests onstage for a few minutes of banter, although in recent months this has only added to his air of controversy. Thanks to the growing backlash against Chappelle’s transphobic comments, comedians like John Mulaney have faced criticism for joining him onstage. Elon Musk±a noted troll with conservative/libertarian views—seems on paper like he might have been a safer bet, but this apparently wasn’t the case. When Chappelle introduced him to the audience at his San Francisco show on Sunday, the cheers were outnumbered by boos.

Footage from the show sees Musk appear to a mix of applause and boos, with Musk standing onstage for several minutes but saying very little, loudly discouraged by the crowd every time he tries to talk. “It sounds like some of the people you fired are in the audience,” Chappelle quips at first, adding that the people booing are sitting in “terrible” (i.e. cheap) seats.

Commenting on Twitter on Monday morning, Musk wrote, “Technically, it was 90% cheers & 10% boos (except during quiet periods), but, still, that’s a lot of boos, which is a first for me in real life (frequent on Twitter). It’s almost as if I’ve offended SF’s unhinged leftists … but nahhh.” This contrasts with a viral tweet from a person in the audience who estimated, “A good 80% of the stadium boos.”

Cameras weren’t permitted at the show, and Twitter is already removing the small amount of footage that got out, but Gizmodo‘s Matt Novak has archived some of the clips on YouTube. It makes for awkward viewing:

Musk visibly doesn’t know how to handle the audience’s reaction, with Chappelle repeatedly winning back the crowd before Musk tries to speak and immediately gets booed again. At one point, as the boos begin to rise in volume, Musk asks, “Dave, what should I say?”

“Don’t say nothing,” replies Chappelle. “It’ll only spoil the moment. Do you hear that sound, Elon? That’s the sound of pending civil unrest.” Later on, after some more guests arrived onstage, Musk called out “I’m rich, bitch!” to a chorus of more boos and jeers.

Both men seemed unprepared for Musk’s reception, suggesting that Musk is still unused to experiencing direct criticism despite his recent fall from grace. In addition to singlehandedly tanking Twitter’s reputation after taking over the company last month, Musk has courted controversy by acting erratically on the platform itself—most recently by criticizing Covid-19 lockdowns, tweeting weird transphobic dogwhistles, and baselessly suggesting that Twitter’s former head of trust and safety was in favor of giving children access to adult content.

Chappelle also made a good point when he joked about Musk having fired people in the audience. That’s obviously an exaggeration, but would surely be some tech industry people at an expensive Bay Area stand-up show, and Musk’s reputation is not exactly sparkling among that demographic. Combine that with the growing public antipathy toward the super-rich, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

The fact that Musk thought this was a good idea in the first place is proof of how sheltered he is from his real public image. Like a lot of rich and powerful men, he seems to believe that he’s funny and interesting, as proven by his cringey habit of tweeting stolen memes and sophomoric jokes to a chorus of adoring fanboys. But presented with a tough crowd instead of lackeys and yes-men, he’s a proven flop.

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