Elon Musk’s joke isn’t funny any more

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You might think a celebrity CEO smoking weed on a live show just after a class-action lawsuit was filed against his firm is the sort of thing a financial columnist dreams about. And you’d be right.

But it also presents something of a conundrum: What can sensibly be written about Elon Musk at this point that doesn’t come off as a parody?

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Tesla’s visionary appeared at short notice on US comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast late on Thursday night for a freewheeling conversation lasting more than two hours that touched on, among other things, artificial intelligence, tunnels, electric planes, fossil fuels and, of course, Twitter.

Throw in the whiskey and that joint and, by the end, we were deep into something approximating a televised therapy session and one of those deep-in-the-night college “debates” that are, for most of us, a mercifully hazy memory. “Earth is a giant ball of lava with a thin crust on the top, which we think of as, like, the surface” sounds like something I just made up to poke fun, but was actually said by the man running a $US48 billion ($68 billion) enterprise deemed by many to be seriously undervalued.

Earth is a giant ball of lava with a thin crust on the top, which we think of as, like, the surface.

Elon Musk