Elon Musk, the billionaire who wants nothing more in life than to be adored by legions of fans, was loudly booed by a crowd in San Francisco on Sunday night after he was invited onstage by comedian Dave Chappelle. And the footage is pretty rough, even if you don’t particularly like Musk.
“Ladies and gentlemen, make some noise for the richest man in the world,” Chappelle said near the end of his set at the Chase Center.
The crowd erupted into a mixture of cheers and boos, before the boos clearly won out, according to footage posted on Twitter. [Update, 6:40 a.m. ET: The footage appears to have been deleted from Twitter for some reason, but you can still watch it below.] The booing got louder as Musk wandered around onstage with a microphone in hand. Musk started pacing and waving, clearly unsure what to do about such a negative reaction.
“Cheers and boos, I see. Elon...” Chappelle said.
“Hey Dave,” Musk responded, prompting another wave of boos from the crowd.
“It sounds like some of the people you fired are in the audience,” Chappelle joked.
“All these people who are booing, and I’m just pointing out the obvious, you have terrible seats,” Chappelle said, apparently trying to save Musk’s dignity by calling the people who are booing poor.
Phones weren’t allowed inside the stadium for the show, but at least one person snuck theirs in and captured the bizarre exchange, posting it to Twitter.
“What kind of pussy they got up there? That’s what we’ll be doing,” Chappelle said, according to the video.
After Chappelle’s jokes about “titty bars” in space, the crowd seemed to be properly won over and Musk started to speak again.
“Thanks for having me up on stage,” Musk said awkwardly to more boos.
“The first comedy club on Mars....” Chappelle said, as Musk stood by awkwardly just saying “yeah.”
As the laughs for Chappelle’s jokes would get drowned out by boos anytime Musk tried to talk, the comedian said that people could boo all they want, because Musk had given him a jetpack last Christmas.
But every single time Musk began to speak, the crowd started booing again, much to the frustration of Musk.
“Dave, what should I say?” Musk said, clearly desperate and getting embarrassed at the roar of booing.
“Don’t say nothing. It’ll only spoil the moment,” Chappelle said. “Do you hear that sound, Elon? That’s the sound of pending civil unrest. I can’t wait to see what store you decimate next, motherfucker. You shut the fuck up.”
The mood in the stadium definitely changed when Chappelle started to get hostile in defense of Musk.
“I wish everyone in this auditorium peace and the joy of feeling free,” Chappelle said, clearly exhausted that bringing Musk on stage had been such a failure. “And your pursuit of happiness. Amen.”
At that point, Chappelle clearly decided to throw in the towel, thanking the crowd and saying good night, but a third video shows Chris Rock joining the stage along with a few other people. [Update: You can see it here.]
One of the men onstage is asked by Chappelle to shout the catchphrase from his 2000s sketch show, “I’m rich, bitch,” into the mic. The man dutifully complies, then says, “wait, wait,” while handing the microphone to Musk, clearly wanting him to say the same thing. Musk does, in the most awkward tone you could imagine. The crowd again erupts into boos, only drowned out by someone in the stadium’s sound department honking a horn of some sort.
It’s difficult to tell from the videos precisely what percentage of the crowd was booing during the cringeworthy episode, but some on social media estimated it was the vast majority of people in the 18,000-capacity stadium.
“Was at the Dave Chapelle show at SF tonight and who comes on but Elon Musk! A good 80% of the stadium boos. 18k people. and he withers. Like absolutely turns into a corncob. ‘What should I say??’ He says Dave tries to salvage the situation but to no avail,” James Yu, the founder of Sudowrite, said on Twitter.
“Obv easy to armchair play afterwards, but at least say something. ‘Thanks. Now pay me $8' and mic drop would have gotten a laugh. He did mumble something about being in a simulation, but felt totally off vibe for the crowd,” Yu explained.
Musk, who used to have a rather bipartisan appeal in the U.S., has outed himself as an entitled right-wing prick in the short span that he’s owned Twitter. Musk bought Twitter, along with a number of investors, for $44 billion at the end of October when he almost immediately instigated brutal layoffs.
Musk has also been trying to court some of the worst people on the internet lately, tweeting over the weekend that his “pronouns” are “Prosecute/Fauci.” The tweet is apparently both a “joke” about people who are trans, and a reference to the far-right belief that Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, was somehow responsible for the covid-19 pandemic that struck the entire world.
Obviously, San Francisco is known as a liberal city and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise for a Bay Area crowd to boo the wealthiest man in the world. But it’s not like this was a crowd of antifa supersoldiers or something. The people in attendance were there to see Dave Chapelle, a man who’s recently outed himself as an anti-trans bigot. Chris Rock was also a headliner, according to the local press.
Maybe the crowd was made up of the thousands of people Musk laid off from Twitter, as Chappelle joked. That certainly seems like a very real possibility, given the response. But honestly, Musk has been such an asshole for so many different reasons lately, it’s tough to narrow it down. Musk has also been directing his hostility at former employees, some of whom elected to stay on with the company after Musk’s initial purge, like Yoel Roth, the former head of Trust and Safety at Twitter.
Musk made an absolutely baseless suggestion that Roth was in favor of the sexualization of children, an apparent ploy to invent his own QAnon mythology that the billionaire is on a quest to personally end the exploitation of children around the world. In reality, Musk has gutted the team at Twitter that monitors for child exploitation material, according to Wired UK.
Musk may not face any real consequences in his life—like when he got away with baselessly calling someone a pedophile—given his enormous wealth, but all the money in the world can’t buy you authentic adoration from crowds of people. Perhaps Musk should stick to his safe space on Twitter. He did pay $44 billion for it, after all. And he gets plenty of love from weird nerds who want nothing more than to be in proximity to his wealth, even if it’s digital. Unfortunately for Musk, the Chase Center in San Francisco doesn’t have a block button.