That ‘SNL’ abortion cold open and other highlights with Benedict Cumberbatch as host

Four people in old-fashioned clothing standing inside a stone castle
Andrew Dismukes, left, James Austin Johnson, Benedict Cumberbatch and Cecily Strong in “Saturday Night Live.”
(Will Heath / NBC)

The latest episode of “Saturday Night Live” transported viewers back to the Middle Ages amid the leaked draft ruling that hinted the Supreme Court is positioned to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Hosted by Benedict Cumberbatch with musical guest Arcade Fire, Saturday’s episode also included material related to “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” Mother’s Day and even Will Smith’s infamous Oscars slap.

Most of the writers pitched Cumberbatch sketches about “Doctor Strange,” the actor said during his opening monologue.

“But I have been in other films. And [executive producer Lorne Michaels] said to me, ‘Like what?’ I said, ‘Well, “The Power of the Dog.”’ He said, ‘Nobody saw it.’ I said, ‘Come on, man. I was nominated for an Oscar for that.’ I mean, I didn’t win. I was beat by Will Smith — not physically, not physically.”


After plugging his latest Marvel film — which just scored the biggest theatrical opening of 2022 — Cumberbatch gave sweet Mother’s Day shout-outs to his mother and to his wife, actor Sophie Hunter, with whom he shares three children.

“You gave birth to our three beautiful boys, and that alone is a minor miracle, as anyone will tell you,” he said, addressing Hunter.

“Meanwhile, according to you, I was off dressing up as a wizard. ... But really, seriously, happy, happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there, all the grandmothers, all the caregivers — for everybody who does such an extraordinary job doing that — especially to the two mothers in my life.”

See more highlights from Saturday’s show below.

Modern times or medieval times? Cold open tackles Roe vs. Wade leak

In light of the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe vs. Wade, the cold open time-traveled to the medieval era while mocking the criminalization of abortions.


“While I was cleaning the hole on the side of the castle where we poop, and then it falls through the sky into a moat full of human feces, I started to think about abortion,” said a resident of 13th century England played by Cumberbatch — a rare cold-open appearance by a host. “Don’t you think we ought to make a law against it?”

“You mean like the law we have against pointy shoes?” said another character played by James Austin Johnson.

“Or the law that if you hunt deer in the royal forest, they cut off your genitals?” added a third played by Andrew Dismukes.

“Exactly,” Cumberbatch said. “Something fair and reasonable. We should make a law that will stand the test of time, so that hundreds and hundreds of years from now, they’ll look back and say, ‘No need to update this one at all! They nailed it back in 1235.’”

A special message from Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett (Kate McKinnon)

The Roe vs. Wade discourse also came up multiple times during the “Weekend Update” segment, featuring Kate McKinnon as Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.


“It’s simple,” McKinnon said while impersonating Barrett, who has drawn criticism for her comments on abortion.

“You are a murderer if you have an abortion, but you’re not a murderer if you put a baby in a bag in a mailbox — and that tracks and is good to me.”

While commenting on the leaked draft opinion, “Weekend Update” co-host Colin Jost joked, “The Court is usually careful, but they slipped up just this once, and now they’ve got to live with it forever. Sounds really unfair.”

Elizabeth Olsen pays a visit to her ‘Doctor Strange’ co-star

In a digital short, the sketch comedy series’ unofficial understudy, Chloe Fineman, debuted a spot-on impersonation of Elizabeth Olsen opposite Olsen herself.

(Olsen stars alongside Cumberbatch in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” as Sokovian sorceress Wanda Maximoff.)


“Oh, my God,” Cumberbatch said upon seeing both Olsen and Fineman — in costume as Wanda — in his dressing room. “The multiverse is real.”

Maybe don’t add these to your Mother’s Day quote board

For a special Mother’s Day sketch, Aidy Bryant played a mom opening gifts from her husband and children.

Among the presents were a series of wooden signs bearing (de)motivational messages, such as, “Were your ears ringing? I was in therapy” and “Dear wife, now that the kids are grown, we don’t have sex as much anymore. But we do sometimes, and that’s fine.”

An ice cream focus group? What could go wrong?

Channeling his inner cowboy, Cumberbatch portrayed a hardened rancher who takes his job as a focus-group member for Blue Bunny ice cream a little too seriously.


“Remember the Fourth of July?” Cumberbatch said in an exaggerated Southern accent after tasting a flavor called Galactic Mint Frost.

“The air was so thick with smoke, you could barely find your little brother’s hand. Daddy let you both stay out late as long as you kept your little brother close. You never did find him. You walked home alone, went straight to the icebox, scooped out some chocolate chip — nothing too fancy on the night your brother disappeared. This is that. This tastes like that.”