Benedict Cumberbatch tonight made his second appearance as host of SNL, alluding in his opening monologue to his new film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which hit theaters in the U.S. on Friday.
“I am thrilled to be back hosting Saturday Night Live. It’s been a really fun, great week. I’ve got to be honest though, because most of the sketch writers this week, they pitched me sketches everyday, and most were about Doctor Strange,” said Cumberbatch up top. “It’s great. I love the guy. I love playing the character. The film’s doing really well—but I have been in other films.”
Cumberbatch joked that he went so far as to express this to SNL‘s Lorne Michaels, with Michaels responding, “Like what?”
“I said, ‘Well, The Power of the Dog, for example’ and he said, ‘Nobody saw it.’ I said, ‘Come on, man. I was nominated for an Oscar for that. I did okay,’” recalled the host. “I mean, I didn’t win. I was beat by Will Smith…No, not physically.”
After alluding to the infamous Oscars slap, Cumberbatch pivoted to discuss his excitement at being able to host SNL‘s Mother’s Day show. “Of course, I want to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to my mum,” he said. “She’s actually on holiday in Greece at the moment and SNL offered to fly her here first-class, and she said, ‘No, I’m on a beach in Greece. Are you insane?’”
Cumberbatch then told his mother he loves her, noting that when he was younger, he and his mum used to have “these weird, funny names” they’d call each other by. “I called her ‘Pookie,’” he said, “and she called me ‘Benedict Cumberbatch.’”
Later, he joked, “I went off to a boarding school outside of London—you might have heard of it—called Hogwarts.”
While he was there, his mother would write “these amazing letters” to him, full of beautiful illustrations. “I can’t do that for her here, obviously,” Cumberbatch noted, “but I thought I’d use a bit of this monologue to thank her for all that she’s done for me.”
As sentimental piano music began playing, Cumberbatch transitioned to address his mother directly. “Hey, mum. It’s me, your son—little Benedict,” he said. “Thank you for always being there for me.”
Cumberbatch shared that growing up, whenever he had a problem, his mother had a solution. “For instance, when I lost my two front teeth, I was worried about being teased but you said, ‘It’s okay. Just try and smile without opening your mouth,’” he recalled. “It’s great advice, but it also explains why to this day, in every red carpet photograph, I’m smiling like this.”
Cut to a photo of Cumberbatch in which his smile is more of a strange grimace.
“Seriously though mum, thank you,” he said. “You’ve shown me so much love and support, every step of the way. I love you, Pookie.”
Also getting a shout-out tonight was Cumberbatch’s wife Sophie, who was in the audience for the show. “I’m seriously in constant, constant awe of you. I mean, for a start, you gave birth to our three beautiful boys, and that alone is a minor miracle, as any woman will tell you,” he said. “Meanwhile, according to you, I was off dressed as a wizard—though technically it’s a sorcerer.”
After explaining that wizards have robes—in contrast to his Marvel character Doctor Strange, who has a cloak—he went on to say that he hopes when his wife really thinks about it, she’ll realize that their contributions as parents even out. “Because if you think being a mum is hard, try doing this,” he said with a flip of his wrist. “Yeah, I just opened a portal. You’re welcome.”
Cumberbatch is joined for tonight’s show by musical guest Arcade Fire. Check out his opening monologue by clicking above.