Live, from New York, it's...Mark Zuckerberg?

The once-reclusive Facebook CEO has been gradually warming up to the press in recent weeks, but even close advisers say that his decision to host Saturday Night Live is a surprise move.

SNL meets Mark Zuckerberg.

In a surprise move that has shocked Silicon Valley, young Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will guest host an upcoming episode of Saturday Night Live, according to multiple sources.

The mild-mannered Zuckerberg, best-known for vanilla-flavored speeches filled with talking points about "the social graph" and "making communication more efficient," will provide the opening monologue as well as appear in a number of sketches on the NBC show's April 5 episode.

Appearing on the sketch comedy show is something Zuckerberg has wanted to do for a long time, a close friend confided to CNET News.com. "Mark actually has really good comic timing," the friend said on condition of anonymity, out of the fear that Zuckerberg might "de-friend" him on Facebook if his identity were revealed. "He's got this totally hilarious side that nobody ever gets to see, except his stuffed animals and sometimes his investors. Ever since Justin Timberlake did that sweet music video on the show, he's been aching to go on SNL. He had his assistant call up NBC but they were all like, 'Mark who?'"

The friend continued, "Now that he's been on 60 Minutes and that Forbes billionaire list and everybody's heard of him, SNL has finally agreed to let him come on the show. When he got the call he was so happy he poked everybody on his Facebook friends list." Zuckerberg was reportedly even more excited that the musical guest for the April 5 show will be his favorite "emo" band, Panic at the Disco.

Shouldn't Zuckerberg be in the green room already? Facebook

The famously shy and awkward Zuckerberg has been warming up to the press recently , but this is still an unexpected move. Wall Street analysts, when asked whether they thought this would help or hurt Facebook's potential valuation as it reportedly heads toward an initial public offering, were left more or less speechless. "I guess it couldn't hurt, unless he really f***s it up," one Deutsche Bank analyst commented.

Sources close to NBC have confirmed that the 23-year-old CEO will be acting in a parody of his disastrous South by Southwest interview with BusinessWeek columnist Sarah Lacy. "This time, people are going to be throwing stuff at them," one source said. "Apparently they're going to have a lightsaber fight, too."

Lacy will be portrayed by SNL regular Andy Samberg.

Zuckerberg will also play "a crazed Barack Obama supporter" in another sketch, according to script details leaked to News.com. His role in a third sketch is less clear, but the costume department has reportedly been asked to create a "pink polka-dotted fur suit" that fits Zuckerberg's compact frame.

Reports that Zuckerberg would also be sporting drag and portraying John McCain's wife could not be confirmed at the time of publication. "But he's definitely going to be playing a girl in something," a Facebook colleague hinted. "He's been working on his falsetto in board meetings."

Editor's note: Remember, today is April 1, a day reserved in the U.S. for some levity.

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About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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