This week’s “Saturday Night Live”‘ went behind the scenes of super-villainy with the perfect actor: host Benedict Cumberbatch. British actors are among some of the most typecast as villains, and while Cumberbatch very often plays the hero, his villain was particularly special. The “SNL” sketch took a look at a classic cat and mouse situation, even flipping the trope on its head with quick and witty comedy that even mirrored British sketches.
Tasking the heroes (Beck Bennett and Alex Moffat) with answering several cleverly-worded (but not all that difficult) riddles, Cumberbatch hung up the phone for a minute after each question, turning to his fellow villains to make small talk — in an American accent, as the whole English trickster thing is just a big put-on.
“You guys seen ‘Stranger things’?” Kyle Mooney’s villain sidekick asks Cumberbatch during one of these lulls. “It’s cool. I hear it’s based on a true story.”
You can watch the full sketch at the top of this post.
This is how the skit set out to take a look at what villains are actually doing as the heroes scramble to answer or solve their puzzles, which seem to get increasingly easy at every turn.
Ultimately, Cumberbatch’s villain has to come up with several more questions on the fly, as the heroes outsmarted him and answered all of his riddles before he could even finish speaking. Cumberbatch, ultimately defeated, yells “I’m going to blow up the damn school,” and then slams the phone down in frustration as his irritated cohorts look on.
The scene served as a brilliant look at how film and TV uses its British villains. and went as far as poking fun at flimsy writing for certain villains on television today.
As host, Cumberbatch was all over “SNL” this week — even becoming the subject of one sketch, which was titled “Why Is Benedict Cumberbatch Hot?” The episode also saw Dana Carvey return to the show as his famous Church Lady character.