Elon Musk confirmed his street cred as a legitimate fan of Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty on Tuesday during his Tesla 2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting by wearing a shirt that includes a deep-cut reference from the show. In case you didn’t know, the animated figure on Musk’s shirt is the “Butter Robot” from a Season 1 episode of Rick and Morty, which means he was probably a fan before it was cool.
Musk has a well-documented history as a fan of Rick and Morty. In August 2017 he tweeted in response to a question, saying, “my boys and I love it” even though he considered it “kinda disgusting.” When the Rick and Morty Season 3 finale aired in October, he even called it “disgustingly good.”
Musk wearing a shirt with the Butter Robot on it just proves that he really does watch Rick and Morty and appreciate the show’s jokes. He could have walked out on that stage with a more generic fan shirt, but instead, his shirt depicts a minor character that’s only appeared in a single episode of the show so far. (His shirt doesn’t even have the Rick and Morty logo on it.
The Butter Robot originally appeared Rick and Morty episode titled “Something Ricked This Way Comes,” during which mad scientist Rick Sanchez reveals that he created a robot whose sole purpose is to pass butter. When Rick tells the poor robot its true purpose, it responds, “Oh my god.”
“Yeah, welcome to the club, pal,” Rick says back.
The Butter Robot pops up throughout the episode a few times as an ongoing punchline about nihilism, a common theme for the show. (Eventually, the Butter Robot is eaten by a giant anthropomorphized giant deodorant featured during a Rick and Morty commercial for Old Spice, which is perfectly in-line with the nihilistic nature of his existence.)
Ultimately, it’s actually kind of weird that Elon Musk would choose perhaps Rick and Morty’s most emblematic instance of nihilism and hopelessness in the multiverse as the symbol for his T-shirt.
Oh and if you’re into that sort of thing, a close approximation of the Rick and Morty Butter Robot T-shirt is on Amazon.