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Jeff Bezos has space race against Richard Branson and Elon Musk in SNL premiere skit


SNL guest host Owen Wilson played Jeff Bezos in a spoof Star Trek episode that saw the Amazon founder race in space against Elon Musk and Richard Branson.    

The commercial-like skit for the spoof, named Star Trek: Ego Quest, begins with a voiceover saying: ‘For decades, the Star Trek franchise has brought you unforgettable voyages from the final frontier. Now the tradition continues with a new ship, a new crew, and a new captain: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.’

Bezos, played by host Owen Wilson, could then be seen in a set decorated like the one where he held his news conference following his 10 minute trip to space in July.

Wilson’s version of Bezos could then be seen wearing a cowboy hat and saying: ‘Dude, space is freaking awesome,’ before it goes to the title screen: Star Trek: Ego Quest. The voyages of the SS New Sheppard.’

Along with Bezos, the ship’s ‘crew of weirdos’ includes ‘First Mate Jeff Bezos’ brother (played by Wilson’s brother, actor Luke Wilson), Science Officer some rich high school kid from the Netherlands and 82 year-old astronaut Wally Funk.  

‘Their mission: To sort of just fly around space goofing off.’

NBC’s hit sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live took aim at Jeff Bezos’ 10-minute voyage into space in its latest episode

The sketch joked that the Blue Origin crew's mission was to 'goof off'

The sketch joked that the Blue Origin crew’s mission was to ‘goof off’

Bezos was played by host Owen Wilson

Bezos was played by host Owen Wilson

The sketch also poked fun at the apparently phallic-shaped rocket Bezos went to space in

The sketch also poked fun at the apparently phallic-shaped rocket Bezos went to space in

The sketch was entitled 'Star Trek: Ego Quest'

The sketch was entitled ‘Star Trek: Ego Quest’

‘Alliances will be formed,’ the voiceover continues, as Bezos looks out the window of his ship and sees a Virgin Galactic ship.

‘I recognize that purple mood lighting anywhere,’ Wilson’s character remarks in the sketch, before engaging fellow space race billionaire Richard Branson (played by Alex Moffat) in a race that takes out the International Space Station as the voiceover tells viewers to ‘take flight on a midlife crisis of cosmic proportions.’

Branson took to orbit weeks before Bezos in his Virgin Galactic spaceship.  

‘But around every corner, danger lurks,’ it continues, before zooming on Heidi Gardner as Wally Funk warning her crew about an ‘incoming photon torpedo,’ apparently sent by Elon Musk (played by Mikey Day), who warns Bezos: ‘Space is only big enough for one weird white billionaire.

‘You could say beating you is my Prime objective,’ Day jokes, making light of Amazon’s Prime service.

The sketch continues to say that the team will ‘need all the help they can get from a  loyal team of valued employees,’ as an Amazon deliverer, played by Kenan Thompson, comes on board to deliver a package.

‘By the way, it’s an honor to meet you sir,’ Kenan’s character tells Bezos. ‘People say you don’t care about your Amazon employees, but I disagree, I – wow you’re just going to throw me out like that,’ as Bezos hovers his hand over a button to send the delivery man back to Earth.

In one part of the sketch, Bezos sees Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson flying around and the two start to race through space

In one part of the sketch, Bezos sees Virgin Galactic CEO Richard Branson flying around and the two start to race through space

Near the end, the crew is hit by a 'photon torpedo'

Near the end, the crew is hit by a ‘photon torpedo’

The torpedo was apparently sent by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, played by Mikey Day

The torpedo was apparently sent by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, played by Mikey Day

Luke Wilson played Captain Jeff Bezos

His real-life brother, Luke Wilson, played Bezos' brother, Mark

Real life brothers Owen and Luke Wilson played Jeff Bezos and his brother, Mark

The sketch comes about two months since the Amazon founder left Earth’s orbit for 10 minutes with his brother, Mark, Oliver Daemen – the word’s first paying customer to buy his flight – and 82-year-old Wally Funk, who passed NASA’s space program in the 1960s but never made it to space because the women’s flight was canceled.

They took off from their base at Van Horn, Texas, at 9.12am EST on July 20, the 52nd anniversary of the moon landing, 12 minutes behind schedule. They ascended for four minutes before the New Shepard rocket booster separated from their capsule, leaving them floating in zero gravity for four minutes. 

Bezos and Mark floated about, pretended to swim and tossed skittles in each other’s mouths while in the air, they said afterwards. They had written ‘Hi’ and ‘Mom’ on their palms and put their hands together for their mother Jacklyn while in space. 

They then returned to earth with parachutes controlling the pace of their descent, touching down in the Texas desert at 9.22am EST, 10 minutes and 20 seconds after liftoff.

The 10 minute journey cost $5.5billion – $550million per minute. Bezos, who stepped down as Amazon CEO earlier this year and will now split his time between Blue Origin and his environmental charity, said at a press conference after the flight: ‘For every Amazon customer, you guys paid for all this so thank you from the bottom of my heart.’ 

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, gave a news conference after he came back to Earth following a 10-minute voyage on July 20

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, gave a news conference after he came back to Earth following a 10-minute voyage on July 20

He wore goggles owned by Amelia Earhart, which he carried into space

He wore goggles owned by Amelia Earhart, which he carried into space

The crew of the SS New Sheppard included Oliver Damen, 18, Bezos, Wally Funk, 82, and Mark Bezos

The crew of the SS New Sheppard included Oliver Damen, 18, Bezos, Wally Funk, 82, and Mark Bezos

Jeff and Mark celebrated the launch of Blue Origin with some champagne

Jeff and Mark celebrated the launch of Blue Origin with some champagne

Bezos, wearing a cowboy hat, founded Blue Origin in September 2000 and is currently funding the company to the tune of about $1 billion per year through the sale of his shares in Amazon

Bezos, wearing a cowboy hat, founded Blue Origin in September 2000 and is currently funding the company to the tune of about $1 billion per year through the sale of his shares in Amazon

The SS New Sheppard ascended for four minutes before the New Shepard rocket booster separated from their capsule, leaving them floating in zero gravity for four minutes

The SS New Sheppard ascended for four minutes before the New Shepard rocket booster separated from their capsule, leaving them floating in zero gravity for four minutes

Bezos – who has an estimated personal worth of $207 billion – is one of a number of billionaire entrepreneurs fueling what has been dubbed the ‘new space race’, with each pumping billions of dollars into their respective start-ups with the aim of creating cheap, commercialized space travel. 

He founded Blue Origin in September 2000 and is currently funding the company to the tune of about $1 billion per year through the sale of his shares in Amazon.

Elon Musk, the head of Tesla, meanwhile founded SpaceX in 2002, and has since built rockets capable of shuttling satellites and other cargo into Earth’s orbit. The company is now working on creating a spaceship that will take humans to the moon and mars, though Musk himself has not left Earth. 

And Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit, which spun off from Virgin Galactic in 2017, sent its first batch of satellites to orbit in January, as it also prepares to send people into space.

He had launched into space aboard a winged rocket ship developed by his company Virgin Galactic one week before Bezos’ trip.

Bezos, meanwhile, has said that he wants to eventually send people to live and work in spinning, orbital colonies to extend human life after Earth reaches an energy scarcity crisis, according to CNN. 

He developed Blue Origin to develop cheaper rocket and spacecraft technologies that would be necessary to create a colony. 

The company named the New Shepard program after astronaut Alan Shepard, who was the first American to fly into space 60 years ago. 

The flight marked a huge milestone in the mission to send paying customers to the edge of space, and continue a rapid expansion of the space tourism industry. 

‘Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space,’ Bezos posted to his Instagram account, adding that he want to go on the flight because ‘it’s a thing I’ve wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me.’ 

His brother added: ‘I wasn’t even expecting him to say that he was going on the first flight.

‘And then when he asked me to go along, I was just awestruck. What a remarkable opportunity, not only to have this adventure, but to be able to do it with my best friend.’   

The voyage came one week after Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson took his voyage into space

The voyage came one week after Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson took his voyage into space

Tesla founder Elon Musk is also developing rockets to send people to Mars and the moon

Tesla founder Elon Musk is also developing rockets to send people to Mars and the moon

Meanwhile, Bezos is facing new criticism for his flight, as nearly two dozen Blue Origin employees have accused him of creating a ‘toxic’ work environment where the company sacrificed safety to work at ‘breakneck speed’ in order to win the billionaire space race.  

In an essay published on Thursday, Alexandra Abrams, the former head of Blue Origin Employee Communications, along with 20 employees said the priority was to ‘make progress for Jeff’ as he competed with Elon Musk and Richard Branson to make it to space first. 

They claimed that the most common question at high-level meetings was: ‘When will Elon or Branson fly?’ and safety concerns were ignored because they would have ‘slowed progress’. 

‘Progress at Blue Origin was smooth and steady and slow, until Jeff started getting impatient that Elon and Branson were getting ahead, and then we started feeling this increasing pressure and impatience that would filter down from leadership,’ Abrams told CBS Mornings on Thursday.

The employees said they felt ‘unease’ when Bezos blasted into space with three other civilians on an unpiloted rocket, with some unable to watch the event.

Most said that with their concerns over safety, they would not fly in Blue Origin rockets at all. 



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