‘SNL’ guests Elon Musk, Morgan Wallen cause behind-the-scenes tension for cast: report

The new “woke” generation of the “Saturday Night Live” cast is armed with social media accounts — and not afraid to use them.


When it was announced that billionaire Elon Musk would be hosting this weekend, several of them took shots online.

But an industry source who knows the show intimately told The Post: “The new cast are getting a little too big for their britches.”

“They can tweet and do whatever they want on social media … they weren’t told to take down their messages.”

When Musk tweeted: “Let’s find out just how live Saturday Night Live really is,” Bowen Yang replied: “What the f–k does this even mean?”

Meanwhile, writer and featured player Andrew Dismukes posted on Instagram: “Only CEO I want to do a sketch with is Cher-E Oteri,” with a photo of “SNL” alum Cheri Oteri.

Longtime cast member Aidy Bryant shared a message that many perceived to be a dig at Musk, too: She retweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders calling it a “moral obscenity” that “the 50 wealthiest people in America today own more wealth than the bottom half of our people.” (As of Friday, Musk was worth $166.7 billion, according to Forbes — putting him not far behind Jeff Bezos as world’s richest person.)

As Page Six reported, cast members were told if they had any issues, they didn’t have to participate in the episode.

“‘SNL’ is very insulated,” an NBC source told The Post. “Lorne protects his cast — they don’t feel like part of the wider company.”

It’s an unusual workplace arrangement: The Post has confirmed that if any cast member does sit out a show, they still get paid.

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., is guest-hosting 'SNL.' (Photographer: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., is guest-hosting ‘SNL.’ (Photographer: Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“If they were elsewhere, they would have been suspended [for tweeting], but they can do whatever they want. Lorne has never said to anybody they have to turn up for a show,” said the industry source of the cast. “There’s no repercussions. So stop it with the hysterical reactions.”

If the comedians think they have any sway over who is asked to be a guest, they’re wrong.

James Andrew Miller, who penned the book “Live From New York” about the NBC show that launched in 1975, told The Post: “Not everyone [on the show] agrees about what is funny or who should host, but Lorne is the decision maker and the buck stops with him.

“There have been a handful of times where cast members have wanted him to rescind the guest choice or musical guest. And with social media it’s easy to say something, then suddenly realize, ‘Maybe I went too far,'” Miller said. (Both Bryant and Yang deleted their Musk tweets.)

“The truth is,” Miller added, “there isn’t a set of orthodoxies one has to embrace to be host of ‘SNL.'”

Back in February 2013, an 18-year-old Justin Bieber hosted for the first time — against the wishes of many of the cast who thought he was an entitled pop star, The Post is told.

“SNL” vets Jay Pharoah and Bill Hader later confirmed on the Bravo show “Watch What Happens Live!” that the singer was the worst guest host of their era.

“I mean, we both know, dog,” said Pharoah to Hader.

“Yeah, it was Bieber,” Hader responded.

“He just was in a bad place … Maybe he’s in a better place, but back then he was in a very—it was rough,” added Hader of the singer. “Everybody’s usually on great behavior … He just seemed, like, exhausted or just at the end of a rope.”

The Post is also told that members of the cast were also unhappy that country music star Morgan Wallen was allowed to make his “SNL” debut in December, two months after his initial invitation was rescinded for breaking the show’s quarantine rules. (Wallen was photographed kissing multiple college women and partying maskless in Alabama when he was supposed to be on lockdown.)

Members of the cast were also reportedly unhappy that country music star Morgan Wallen was allowed to make his 'SNL' debut in December. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Members of the cast were also reportedly unhappy that country music star Morgan Wallen was allowed to make his ‘SNL’ debut in December. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

And while, for most of “SNL” history, cast members have kept quiet if they were unhappy with a guest, there is a precedent of protest.

In 1990, cast member Nora Dunn refused to appear on an episode hosted by comedian Andrew Dice Clay.

Years later, she told Salon: “And then there’s Andrew Dice Clay, the character, who was an abuser of women and he was a homophobe. And his material was terrible. He just wasn’t smart enough to handle that material. And our writing staff was not the writing staff to handle that material either [for him to host the show]. Lorne said, ‘Andrew Dice Clay was a phenomenon worth examining.’ … We didn’t examine the hosts of ‘SNL.’ We supported them, we wrote for them, and we made them look good. Otherwise you’d never get a host. You’re there to make them look good.”

But her refusal didn’t exactly make Dunn popular with castmates. Jon Lovitz called it a “betrayal” and accused her of making the cast “look like we were sell-outs for doing the show with him.”

No one this season has gone that far, but some of the cast members have said things that show the show is divided.

On “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” Michael Che said of Musk: “He’s the richest man in the world, how could you not be excited for that?”

Pete Davidson agreed.

“I just don’t understand why this is the dude everyone’s so freaked out about,” Davidson said on radio show “The Breakfast Club.”

“I was like, ‘What did he do?’ He’s just like a really wealthy businessman that makes, like, nerd s–t. I don’t know. He’s really nice. I’m excited.”

Davidson has claimed that comedy is “getting destroyed” because of outrage over button-pushing jokes.

'SNL' cast member Pete Davidson is excited about Elon Musk's appearance. 

‘SNL’ cast member Pete Davidson is excited about Elon Musk’s appearance.

“The second you open your mouth and have an opinion, you lose money today,” Davidson told Paper Magazine. “And I don’t think that’s a safe place to live in.”

When Donald Trump hosted “SNL” in November 2015 while running for president, behind the scenes the cast made no secret that they were unhappy.

The episode won the show its best ratings in six years, but one TV source said: “No one refused to do the show, but they made it no secret they didn’t want him there — and you could see that they felt uncomfortable alongside him on air.”

The senior NBC source confirmed that “the cast weren’t happy about Trump. They didn’t want him on the show.”

While it’s easy to think the show skews to the left, Miller said: “It’s not a liberal think tank. It’s a comedy show, a culture show.”

“Years ago, people thought ‘SNL’ was too hard on Clinton or made too much fun of Democratic candidates,” he added.

“SNL” will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2025 and although Michaels, now 76, has said he will “wander off” after that, the senior NBC source said: “I’ve had no conversations with him about retiring. He certainly shows no desire to leave.”

The source added: “Every generation of ‘SNL’ cast is different. I think Lorne is one of the best at finding talent. To watch his genius behind the scenes is incredible.”

“Comedy has become more generational. Humor has evolved and that’s what has the impact — not the comedians.”

The industry source added: “None of the original cast were exactly shrinking violets … if Bill Murray or John Belushi had social media back then, they would not be afraid to express their opinions.”

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