SNL Season 42 review: Was Benedict Cumberbatch funny?

Credit: SNL/NBC
Credit: SNL/NBC /

Benedict Cumberbatch hosted SNL this week, but how was his first trip and did it live up to the Tom Hanks episode?

We’re now five episodes into this 42nd season of Saturday Night Live, but already we have an episode to hold up against all. The Tom Hanks episode from a week ago set the bar for this season, but that didn’t stop the show from lining up some home run hosts.

Dave Chappelle will be stopping by SNL next weekend, but this weekend saw another fan favorite drop by for the first time. Benedict Cumberbatch dropped by as a first time host, connoting a trend that has only been broken by Hanks and his fantastic episode.

While this one didn’t live up to the insanely high standards, we still saw one of the better episodes of the year. The sketches were weird, the Chicago Cubs got involved and Bill Murray returned. The cameos by the Cubs and Murray really overshadowed the night, which wasn’t bad for the audience but sort of took away from Cumberbatch’s understated outing.

Before we look ahead to next week’s episode, let’s take a look back at everything you need to know about Benedict Cumberbatch’s trip to SNL:

SNL Rundown…

1. The cold open was one of the best we’ve ever seen. It was a cold open of two halves, one of which saw Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon break character to try and really voter turnout.

2. Cumberbatch started his night out with a song and dance straight out of Shaft. He looked a bit nervous, but settled in for the night pretty quickly.

3. Things got weird straight away tonight, with a ‘meta-sketch’ surrounding a game show Beck Bennett created to find out why women think Cumberbatch is hot. It had a weird charm, but was also an awkward way to start the show. This had all the making of a post-Weekend Update sketch.

4. The second sketch of the night involved Aidy Bryant as a grandmother who dies at her bachelorette party before the strippers come out. The punchline was that the bonus dance would be performed by the World Series champion Chicago Cubs.

5. Let’s not gloss over one of the better sketches on the night. A parody of the Apple ‘1984’ commercial, Benedict Cumberbatch literally poops in a cool way on a toilet — and it oddly works.

6. The Weekend Update was jam packed, and Michael Che was a hero. He followed up a witty and poetic back-and-forth with Colin Jost about the election with a doozy of a deadbeat father joke.

7. We also saw Dana Carvey reprise his Church Lady character to discuss and sing about the upcoming election.

8.  Of course, you can’t have the Cubs on SNL following their first World Series win since 1908 without also having Bill Murray on.

9. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t a big fan of Solange (nee Knowles), but her performance changed that. Her super chill sets helped punctuate an understated night from our host. It just worked.

10. Kudos to the writing team for another week of weird skit attempts but there was no ‘David Pumpkins’-esque followup to be had.


Here’s where this episode stacks up against the others that we’ve seen this season:

1. Tom Hanks/Lady Gaga — A-
2. Benedict Cumberbatch/Solange — B-
3. Margot Robbie/The Weeknd — C+
4. Lin-Manuel Miranda/TwentyOne Pilots — C-
5. Emily Blunt/Bruno Mars — D+

 Next Week on SNL…

Things are going to get legendary next week, which is a lot to say when following an Oscar-nomianted actor as host. Dave Chappelle will be making his return to sketch comedy to host next week’s post-election show. A Tribe Called Quest is going to be dropping by as the musical guest in a show that’s a serious 90s throwback.

Date: November 12th
Host: Dave Chappelle
Musical Guest: A Tribe Called Quest
TV Channel: NBC
Live Stream: Stream 1 | Stream 2

Be sure to check out Last Night On for all your SNL highlights.