Saturday Night Live has never shied away from parodying Star Trek…starting way back in their first season (1976) when JOHN BELUSHI, CHEVY CHASE, DAN AKROYD, and ELLIOTT GOULD brought viewers the unforgettably hilarious “Last Voyage of the Starship Enterprise.” Since then, their parodies have been somewhat hit-and-miss, with mixed reviews on such sketches as “The Restaurant Enterprise,” “Love Boat: The Next Generation,” “Emergency Room/Worf, M.D.” and the recent “Lost Episode” featuring CHRIS PINE as Captain Kirk and BOBBY MOYNIHAN as Spock’s vulgar half-brother from Queens, Spocko. Now THAT’S a Star Trek!
The last one was also the latest parody of Star Trek until this past Saturday night when SNL kicked off its 47th season (c’mon, you’ve GOT to have a Star Trek sketch when the season is 47!), with host OWEN WILSON. Take a look:
As Homer Simpson would say, “It’s funny because it’s true.”
Now, if you’ll indulge me for a moment, I’d like to make two editorial observations…
First off, billionaires have been getting MUCH more interesting lately! Granted, none of them are dressing up like a bat at night and fighting crime in Gotham City or designing suits of flying armor and leading a team of superheroes. But even still, building rockets to take civilians and other payloads into space is pretty darn cool. I mean, a century ago, a “typical” billionaire looked like this:
These guys were certainly impressive and all—successful businessmen, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, patrons of art and science, and even one a secretary of the treasury. But were they fun? I mean, no complaints about making automobiles affordable to the masses or starting a top notch university…but fun?
Billionaires became more fun with this fellow:
That’s WILLIAM RANDOPH HEAST…the man built a frickin’ CASTLE on the central California coast, fer gosh sakes!!! And then he would invite famous celebrities, political leaders, and brilliant minds from all over the world to come and stay there, asking only that they attend communal dinners and certain other gatherings to share their thoughts, ideas, and perspectives with each other and with him. Seriously, if you ever have a chance to visit Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California, and learn its history, it’s totally worth the visit. It’s fascinating!
And who could forget this guy…?
That’s the famous HOWARD HUGHES…filmmaker, industrialist, pilot, jet-setting international playboy, and eventually mentally impaired eccentric who spent his final years as an obsessive germophobe walking around in tissue box slippers. But before descending into O.C.D. madness, Howard Hughes was a larger-than-life celebrity billionaire (Tony Stark’s father Howard Stark in the Marvel movies was modeled after Hughes), setting the imaginations of Americans soaring with his cutting-edge films and his even more cutting edge aircraft. His H-1 Racer was the last non-military aircraft to set a speed record (back in 1935), a record achieved while Hughes was flying (and eventually crashing) the plane himself.
A decade later, Hughes Aircraft would design and briefly fly the H-4 Hercules (a.k.a. the “Spruce Goose”), the world’s largest-ever flying boat with the widest wingspan of any plane built for another 72 years!
Now, THOSE were some fun billionaires! After that, we got guys like BILL GATES and WARREN BUFFET, a bunch of Saudi princes and Japanese industrialists, and some annoying dot-com CEOs who became billionaires almost overnight. And while I certainly appreciate the philanthropy of Bill Gates and some others, most billionaires these days seem to content themselves with owning sports franchises; buying REALLY expensive houses, cars, planes, and yachts; and giving ridiculous amounts to CPACs to fund political candidates…and/or running for office themselves.
So in a world where the top 0.1 percent of the American people own about the same as the bottom 90 percent (an estimate rated mostly true by Politifact), billionaires are pretty much living a lifestyle the vast majority of us will never even be able to accurately dream about. But at this point, nearly every person alive on the planet today grew up at least partly, if not completely, during the space age…and beyond into the Internet age. Space has called to us and touched touched us in a way previous generations never experienced.
As such, the Howard Hugheses of today are certainly JEFF BEZOS, SIR RICHARD BRANSON, and ELON MUSK…much more so than MARK ZUCKERBERG, MARK CUBAN, MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, DONALD TRUMP, or any number of wealthy Middle Eastern or Southeast Asian billionaires or European royals or Russian oligarchs or folks making fortunes overnight on crypto-currency and NFTs.
Whether or not you see Bezos, Branson, and Musk’s “civilian space race” as just a middle-aged ego-fest trying to compensate for smaller, er, rocket size, the fact remains that this stuff is COOL!!! In addition to bringing online commerce and electric vehicles into the mainstream (and rescuing The Expanse from early cancellation oblivion), they’ve taken what was previously the exclusive purview of a few national governments around the world and opened it up to the private sector…and they’re doing it with flair!
Indeed, next week (assuming all goes well), Bezos will become the first billionaire to take a Shat in space as the 90-year-old actor who played Captain James T. Kirk is slated to become the oldest astronaut in human hisory.
Come on, my fellow Trekkers! If YOU were a billionaire and built YOUR own rocket, wouldn’t you want to take Captain Kirk along with you for an orbit or two around the planet? Or maybe you’d take Picard.
And my second and final observation comes from the parody video itself. In particular, as I watched the sketch, I noticed that SNL host Owen Wilson’s brother LUKE WILSON makes a brief cameo as Jeff Bezos’ brother. (And by the way, anyone NOT watching Luke on DC’s Stargirl on the CW is missing one of the best superhero shows on TV!).
Anyway, as I looked at Luke Wilson in his space uniform, I couldn’t help but notice that he looks ridiculously similar to JOSHUA IRWIN from the Star Trek fan series AVALON UNIVERSE…
If you agree that these two could be twins, why not donate $10 right now to the Avalon Universe GoFundMe? Yes, I have no shame (once they reach their $20K goal, I’ll stop plugging their campaign—promise!)…