Saturday Night Live: Benedict Cumberbatch, Solange
November 6, 2016 12:56 AM - Season 42, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Host: Benedict Cumberbatch, Musical Guest: Solange

  • CNN Out Front - Cecily Strong, Kate McKinnon, Alec Baldwin
  • Opening Monologue - Benedict Cumberbatch
  • The Koohl Toilet by Kohler - Benedict Cumberbatch, Vanessa Bayer, Mikey Day
  • Why is Benedict Cumberbatch Hot?- Beck Bennet, Vanessa Bayer, Aidy Bryant, Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Office Hours - Benedict Cumberbatch, Pete Davidson, Mikey Day
  • Surprise Bachelorette Party - Aidy Bryant, Cecily Strong, Melissa VillaseƱor, Kate McKinnon, Vanessa Bayer, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alex Moffat
  • Solange - Cranes In The Sky
  • Weekend Update - Michael Che, Colin Jost
    • Church Lady - Dana Carvey
    • The Voice - Anthony Rizzo, David Ross, Dexter Fowler, Bull Murray
  • Bobby Flay Steakhouse - Vanessa Bayer, Kenan Thompson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cecily Strong, Alex Moffat

  • Slade - Beck Bennet, Alex Moffat, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cecily Strong, Kyle Mooney

  • Solange - Don't Touch My Hair

  • Mr Shaw - Beck Bennet, Kenan Thompson, Benedict Cumberbatch

posted by DizzyOnBugSpray (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm sorry to the rest of the country who doesn't care that the Chicago Cubs celebration got all over your SNL.

(I'm only barely sorry though.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:43 AM on November 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

This was a weak as hell episode, and (as a Clevelander) the fact that not one but two really weak segments ended on a punchline of, "look, it's the Chicago Cubs!" didn't help. At all.

I'm struggling for much good to say about it. The Trump/Clinton cold open sputtered in exhaustedly and ended on (I'm sorry) a totally bullshit "you gotta hear both sides" note that pulled the teeth of the entire season-long enterprise. But the cold open was still better than most of the sketches, and even better than Update, which was uncharacteristically awful. I know Dana Carvey has a special to promote, but ye gods, the Church Lady bit. Carvey and Jost missed so many of each other's cues that it seemed more like they were communicating with a seven-second time delay between them than it did as though they were sitting right next to each other, which my eyes told me they were, but honestly I just dunno. And then? The fucking Cubs. I'm really glad for you guys or whatever. Please leave.

It wasn't all bad, I guess. "Office Hours" was the best thing in the episode, which admittedly isn't saying much. I like Gemma. I liked the absurdity of "Mr. Shaw," and I appreciated that an effort was made to give the sketch an actual ending (there weren't a lot of them this week).

Anyway. This election has been an exhausting shitshow that doesn't have a happy ending for a lot of us no matter what, and I figure SNL is as tired as we all are. It showed this week. Next week, though. Dave Chappelle?! I'm there.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:16 AM on November 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I was really disappointed with this episode, and I have an enduring affection for Benedict Cumberbatch, so the bar was pretty low for me. As someone with no stake in the World Series outcome, I think the two cameos was a bit unnecessary. The cameo in the Surprise Bachelorette Party would have been sufficient, since that was actually kind of funny.

I couldn't really watch Weekend Update or the cold open. It's so close to the election that I just can't laugh about it. Too scared. I'll go back in and watch the cold open after the election, maybe. WU, probably not so much. With that being said, I wouldn't have minded one last "Melania moment."

I liked Mr. Shaw and also Office Hours. The episode would have gone better if the rest of the skits had been in that same vein. At the very least, it would have been a better use of Benedict.

The opening monologue was okay. Leslie Jones as a Cumberbitch was pretty funny. Why is Benedict Cumberbatch hot? was somewhat amusing, but probably only if you are already a fan of his.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:31 AM on November 6, 2016

"The Trump/Clinton cold open sputtered in exhaustedly and ended on (I'm sorry) a totally bullshit "you gotta hear both sides" note that pulled the teeth of the entire season-long enterprise."

It didn't end on a "you gotta hear both sides" note. It ended with the actors breaking character and saying that they're sick of the election and how it's been dividing the country and that they can't wait for it to be over.
posted by I-baLL at 8:00 AM on November 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

This Canadian was quietly amused over the big patriotic USA love-fest after Baldwin and McKinnon dropped character being set to Arcade Fire.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 8:17 AM on November 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

Super funny.
posted by JohnyHill at 10:20 AM on November 6, 2016

The cold open was decent, and I did like the way it ended. But there could have been some magic there and there wasn't. It really didn't do a service to how well those two have played their parts this election season.

The rest of the show was pretty pointless. Solange doing the Gunkata in both her performances was entertaining in a horribly cringey way, and the News was pretty terrible as well. I was pretty enthused about Chappelle and ATCQ, until Chappelle started trying to make nearly-pro Trump jokes. No Dave, no.
posted by cashman at 11:16 AM on November 6, 2016

The Cubs were the best part of the episode. (Not that I'm biased or anything. : ) )
posted by SisterHavana at 11:24 AM on November 6, 2016

I think it was a weak episode only when compared to the rest of the season, which has been pretty strong so far. If I can get one or two funny sketches in a night I walk away from SNL happy. I got that with this episode.

I'm not sure I've ever seen Bendedict Cumberbatch in anything, though I'm certainly aware of him through all my Doctor Who or Sherlock loving friends or whatever it is he does. Wait... he played Alan Turning, didn't he? Ok, I've seen him in something. Probably other things too, I guess, but he's not really on my radar much so I didn't really go in with any expectations.

The cold open was weaker than the previous ones and I thought the monologue was pretty lame. Shame they're still trying to get laughs from two guys kissing. I really enjoyed "Why is Cumberbatch Hot" for some reason. It was a nice fun bit of meta and I could see those arguments actually happening in the writer's room.

The Khool Toilet had me laughing out loud and I really enjoyed Davidson being Davidson in Office Hours.

Agreed that Update was off somewhat.

I've watched this show long enough to know that the winning World Series team is going to show up and I became a bit of a Cubs fan due to the series, plus Ross is a former Red Sox, so I enjoyed seeing those guys. And come on, Bill Murray could show up and do nothing by read the dictionary and I'd be chortling with glee. That was a nice surprise that I wasn't expecting, even though I suppose I should have been.

I don't know anything about Solange. Not my thing, I guess.

So yeah, agree that it was a weak episode, but a weak episode in a strong season is still ok.
posted by bondcliff at 1:32 PM on November 6, 2016

Is there a kickstarter to buy Studio 8H a fourth wall?

Actually, I did enjoy Why is Benedict Cumberbatch Hot, although I think I liked the concept more than the execution.

I was rather surprised how much Alec Baldwin in Trump makeup looks like Alec Baldwin when he's not doing the Trump face.

It seems like there have been a lot of SNL alumni dropping by for non-hosting parts lately, and that hasn't really been a good thing.
posted by ckape at 4:09 PM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Cubs :')
posted by stoneandstar at 4:14 PM on November 6, 2016

I liked the end of the cold open, and I thought it was pretty clear that the script indicated that the actors reviled Trump enough to just have had enough of having to keep doing something distasteful.

Does anyone know if the outdoor crowd sequence used people who just happened to be around at the time (I'm sure they've all signed consent forms, &c.) or were they hired/recruited audience members?

I don't get why Benedict Cumberbatch is considered good. I thought I was briefly a fan of him, but looking through IMDB... I can't recall how that originally happened. Martin Freeman stole Sherlock. But he was a good sport and can play a good English straight man - in the comic sense.

But maybe I'm just jealous that he's considered hot; I wonder if his appeal comes a lot from his appearance of being posh, and kind of actually being posh for reasons of being posh. Paris Hilton syndrome? Or maybe he's just a super good charismatic people person - because of his posh background.

I would kind of like seeing Michael Che in his own series or in a movie or something. Was nice seeing Dana Carvey again! BILL MURRAY! (I actually hated him the first time I was made aware of him in Ghostbusters 1984, back around 1985 - I hated his character, and some of his other stuff like Groundhog's Day, but he's much cooler in his old age.)

The supervillain skit was crud, and took the conceit from a crud movie (Die Hard.. 4 or 5? the one with Sam L Jackson, and a sprinkle from 1 - which is a classic).

SNL peeps all having fun and seem optimistic; I'm hoping the emotion continues. Quality of the show be damned. Lets have some good/great news!
posted by porpoise at 5:57 PM on November 6, 2016

But maybe I'm just jealous that he's considered hot; I wonder if his appeal comes a lot from his appearance of being posh, and kind of actually being posh for reasons of being posh. Paris Hilton syndrome? Or maybe he's just a super good charismatic people person - because of his posh background.

I wouldn't say that I find him hot, exactly, but I do find him quite attractive. I first saw him in Sherlock, which is a show I'm still (more or less) a fan of, but I actually think I became attracted to him more as a result of watching various interviews rather than just the role he plays. FWIW, I think a lot of his appeal is the fact that he seems very genuine, self effacing, very considerate of women and the farthest thing possible from a misogynistic jerk that I could imagine. He's very winning, sort of like, a puppy? It's hard to explain. It's definitely a very specific kind of attraction, and I didn't find him attractive at first. Also, I'm someone who tends not to be attracted to more typically, conventionally attractive actors and other people. And yeah, being British probably helps.

In terms of acting, I think he's quite good at a very specific fast talking, fast thinking genius type role, which is a part he's played a lot. Probably not the most versatile actor, although I haven't seen him in enough things to say for sure. I enjoyed him in Hamlet, and when I met him briefly after Hamlet, I found him to be just as genuinely nice as I'd always hoped/imagined he would be.

I was still pretty underwhelmed by this episode.
posted by litera scripta manet at 6:35 PM on November 6, 2016

He's a type that has been more and more popular over the past 40 or so years:

Spock --> Snape --> Sherlock

Leonard Nimoy --> Alan Rickman --> Benedict Cumberbatch

Intelligence, calm, openness, and a certain hawkishness.
posted by amtho at 7:38 PM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

BC seemed game, but the skits really seemed underwritten or at least under-rehearsed. I've been getting the feeling that the hosts spend less and less time at the show, and for this it was kind of like he showed up the morning of the episode for the first time.

I don't know what happened in Church Lady, I thought it was super rushed. Quite a waste of a cameo.
posted by rhizome at 7:47 PM on November 6, 2016

I liked Why is Cumberbatch Hot? I thought he sold it very well.

Office Hours was also hilarious, I love it when Pete Davidson does that sort of character.

Cubs skits A+++++
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:25 PM on November 6, 2016

The game show and the Bachelorette Party were total fan service but well played.
posted by rhizome at 11:39 PM on November 6, 2016

So yeah, agree that it was a weak episode, but a weak episode in a strong season is still ok.

That was my feeling. I don't know much about Solange but was intrigued by her stage performance. I always like it when people go all out to do a thing and not just play the music.

I'm a fan of BC so I liked the stuff he was in and I thought the whole "Why is he hot?" sort of drove the thing home. If you like him, it's fun to see him in random things. If you're not into him, he was really all over the place being him. He's well known for really being interactive with his fan base so I think for people who are really into him, it's great to see him do more free-form stuff and less straight-laced SRS BZNS acting stuff. For those who haven't seen him in much, I suggest Sherlock, he is good.

I would watch basically any of those Pete Davidson sketches where he's essentially the pool boy. Loved seeing the Subs wherever (ROSS!!!!). Church Lady was the only thing I wasn't particularly into. I live but do not love Carvey and this wasn't a great use of him.

But yeah the season has been strong, this wasn't so good but we still laughed out loud a few times. A few more sketches without real endings than usual.
posted by jessamyn at 7:28 AM on November 7, 2016

I thought the writing was pretty blah for this one, with a lot of undercooked bits and non-endings. Cumberbatch seemed like he was ready to have fun, but I would have liked to have seen him go a lot weirder. He seemed to be playing a lot of mellow Amurrican dudes, which is... odd? Maybe he's really proud of that accent?

The cold open just felt like they were DESPERATE for a big closer and all they could think of was this limp thing where they swoon around outside and then don't quite beg you to not vote for Trump. ("We can't tell you who to vote for." Ugh. Way to wuss out when we're on the brink of the apocalypse, folks!)

But there was one moment in that opening that reminded me just how amazing Alec Baldwin is. When he broke character it was as if he truly became another person, slipping off the Trump persona and instantly becoming Alec Baldwin in an orange wig. Admittedly Trump is a pretty broad character, but I was really struck by how Baldwin physically transformed in that moment, it was like seeing Hyde change back into Jekyll. Makes me miss the days when Baldwin was, you know, more of an actor-actor. Dude's got chops.

Having the Cubs come out and sing their little song during Weekend Update seemed like it had to be Lorne doing a favor for Bill Murray. Bill Murray is a god among men, but that may have been the single most self-indulgent moment in the show's 41 seasons.

I hadn't seen Solange perform before. I thought her act peaked with the hat.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:19 AM on November 8, 2016

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