There's a rule in comedy: you should always be punching up. With this rule, it's funny to mock those above the common people — billionaires, celebrities, other famous twits. However, punching down, mocking the unfortunate — minorities, disabled people, the homeless — isn't funny.
British comedian James Acaster does this particularly well. In his 2021 live show Cold Lasagna Hate Myself 1999, Acaster has an incredible bit commenting on Ricky Gervais’ “challenging” anti-trans “jokes” He says, “Oh, you know who's been long overdue a challenge? The trans community.” With that said, enter: SNL’s Billionaire Star Trek.
SNL takes on Bezos, Musk and Branson with Billionaire Star Trek
SNL’s Billionaire Star Trek is a fantastic example of punching up. In the midst of the Billionaire Space Race, a litigation minefield of constant squabbling, it’s almost cathartic. The 2-minute video takes a look at what Trek would be like if it followed a bunch of capitalists instead of taking place in a communist future.
Essentially, space is barren. Instead of interesting fleets of new species and different cultures, it’s just rich, white men and their rich friends. Billionaire Star Trek’s captain is none other than Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, complete with his phallic rocket. At one point, Bezos runs into rival Richard Branson who challenges him to a race, destroying a space station in the process.
All of this comes to a close when Bezos’ ship is visited by an Amazon delivery man. After getting his parcel, Bezos immediately forces the delivery guy back through the teleporter. When he asks to use the bathroom, Bezos throws him a water bottle — just like in an Amazon warehouse.
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Space isn't for us
SNL’s final scene reminds you that space isn't for us. Even when privatised space travel is an established part of life, its not going to be for the common folk. The likes of SpaceX, Blue Origin and Virgin will only be for the richest of the rich. It’s more than likely that we'll spend our lives saving for a chance to board a ship the stars and never make it.
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