Benedict Cumberbatch makes Will Smith joke, praises mom during SNL monologue for Mother’s Day

Benedict Cumberbatch at Avengers Infinity War UK Fan Event
Benedict Cumberbatch at Avengers Infinity War UK Fan Event at London Television Studios. Pic credit: © Mayhew/Landmark Media

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch returned as the host of Saturday Night Live this weekend, just on the heels of his new film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, debuting in theaters. It was also Mother’s Day, so he made sure to show praise to his mom during the SNL monologue.

That came with some playful joking about his mom’s valuable advice when he was younger, which stuck with him until his days on the red carpet as a Hollywood star.

The actor also didn’t shy away from a quick reminder that the Will Smith Oscars moment hasn’t become too far from everyone’s memory, as he got a joke in about the King Richard star.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s SNL monologue included Will Smith’s Oscars joke

SNL viewers last saw Benedict Cumberbatch as host of the show back in 2016, when his first Doctor Strange movie was making waves in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He was back for this past Saturday’s show, just as the Doctor Strange sequel arrived in theaters.

Cumberbatch joked during the monologue that the SNL writers and cast were pitching him mostly sketches about his superhero character, but he told them he’d done other movies besides that. He mentioned that he told SNL boss Lorne Michaels that he starred in the Oscar-nominated film Power of the Dog.

“He said, ‘Nobody saw it,'” Cumberbatch said of Michaels’ response.

“I said, ‘Come on, man, I was nominated for an Oscar,'” Cumberbatch said, waiting out audience applause.

“I mean, I didn’t win. I was beat by Will Smith…No, not physically, not physically,” he said before smirking a bit.

Cumberbatch was amongst the actors in attendance for the 2022 Oscars ceremony, where Smith walked up to the stage to smack onstage presenter Chris Rock. Smith’s infamous slap arrived after Rock had made a joke onstage related to Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her bald look.

After returning to his seat, Smith yelled for Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth. The show went on, with Smith remaining at the venue.

Later in the event, Will Smith returned to the stage when he won the award for Best Actor for King Richard. His first Oscars win led to many audience members giving him a standing ovation, including Cumberbatch.

Following the Oscars, Smith apologized to Rock and resigned from the Academy. The Academy also banned Smith from attending their events for the next 10 years.

Chris Rock has recently joked about the incident, including a quick jab about Smith during the Netflix is a Joke fest and his appearance at a secret stand-up show with fellow comedian Dave Chappelle.

Cumberbatch said mom gave him valuable advice

After his quick joke about Will Smith’s Oscars incident, Cumberbatch moved on to praise his mother, joking that they gave each other “weird, funny names.” He called his mom “Pookie,” and she called him “Benedict Cumberbatch.”

After joking that he attended a school called “Hogwarts,” Cumberbatch said he wanted to take a moment to thank his mom for all she’s done for him. With sentimental music playing behind him, he said 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,” he said, adding, “but you said, ‘It’s OK, just try and smile without opening your mouth.'”

“That’s great advice, but it also explains why to this day, in every red carpet photograph, I’m smiling like this,” Cumberbatch said as a photo arrived onscreen of the actor with a goofy, mouth-shut smile.

“Seriously though, mum, you’ve shown me so much love and support every step of the way. I love you, Pookie,” he said in praise of his mother.

Along with the monologue, Cumberbatch was involved in a variety of sketches, one of which spoofed his film Power of the Dog. Another featured a mom receiving Mother’s Day gifts with blunt messages.

In addition, the two-time Oscar winner was part of a cold open featuring a medieval setting and topics such as Roe v. Wade and the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard libel trial.

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