In case you missed it, Benedict Cumberbatch took part in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) last Friday in order to promote The Fifth Estate, which comes out later this week. And while there were some interesting insights into his experience of playing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (as well as his response to Assange’s attacks on the film), the true joy of Cumberbatch’s AMA lies in some of his more ridiculous fan interactions. Not only were his responses charming, gracious, good-humored, and occasionally downright flirty, but the actor seems very, very aware of the effect he has on the legions of Cumberbitches of all ages and genders: he knows about the sexy fan art, guys. And he is on board.
Without further ado, here are the eight best (or at least goofiest) moments from the AMA, covering everything from pranks, pets, and Martin Freeman to some rather NSFW comments involving Tom Hiddleston and Matt Smith (see #8: “And this is how Benedict Cumberbatch broke the internet!!!”). So here’s what we learned…
1. He’s a really good sport about the whole Neutron Cream prank (but don’t turn your back on him at a restaurant…)
Redditor HollyBoBolly asked: “Mr. Cumberbatch, what was your favorite prank, done by you or to you, on or off set. Let me know if you would like suggestions :)”
To which Cumberbatch gamely replied: “Neutron cream. Come on, people!” He then added: “PS. Anytime you’re in a restaurant with a group of friends and one of them goes to the restroom or bathroom (presume there are many nationalities involved in this AMA), tell the waiter that it’s that person’s birthday. Not only is it fun to embarrass the hell out of the poor victim, but you get free cake in the bargain.”
So there you have it: Benedict Cumberbatch will humiliate you in order to score free cake. But at least he’s up-front about it.
2. Apparently Ted Danson is really, REALLY into Sherlock. AS HE SHOULD BE. (Seriously, can you blame him?)
FullOnPleb asked: “What’s the weirdest encounter you’ve had with a fan?”
Cumberbatch: Ted Danson at a pre-Oscar party screaming across a floor of people like Leonardo DiCaprio, Ray Liotta, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, et al while pushing past them and knocking their drinks. “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! IT’S FUCKING SHERLOCK HOLMES!”
How much do we love the mental image of a roomful of celebrities being trampled by a rampaging, BBC-loving Sam Malone? So, so much. Although, as Redditor TheTeamCubed pointed out, it could have been even weirder: “Was Robert Downey, Jr. in the room? Because that could have gotten awkward.”
3. Naked sexy times?
In case it’s not totally clear from the above image, the photo posted along with the AMA shows Cumberbatch archly sipping tea (I mean, we’re guessing it’s tea...) while swathed in a rather plush-looking bathrobe. Needless to say, said bathrobe did not go unnoticed by the internet, leading to the following exchange:
AreYouHereToKill Me: My wife would sincerely like to know if you are wearing anything under your robe..... please respond, this is important for our mental wellbeing.
Cumberbatch: You should be asking who’s naked under it with me.
At this point, Reddit unleashed a flurry of overheated responses from “I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE” and “Dammit, I thought I could contain them” until smelling salts were distributed and we all collectively recovered on the fainting count as Cumberbatch smirked quietly to himself. Probably. Who remembers?
4. Martin Freeman: Master of Comic Timing, Sass, Wrath.
Redditor keeblerlorien asked: Mr Cumberbatch, you so rarely get to do comedy these days, and you were hilarious in Starter for 10! It seems from interviews and such that you and Simon Pegg got on well while filming Star Trek. As Mr Pegg has a tendency to cast his friends in his work, is there any chance we might one day get to see you in a future Pegg comedy film?
(Note to keeblerlorien—Your ideas are intriguing to us and we wish to subscribe to your newsletter.)
Cumberbatch replied: That is a question for Simon, obviously. I love my comedy and when the right project comes up I won’t shy away from it. There’s a lot of humor in what I do, specifically Sherlock, but it would be great to play a “normal guy” in a “normal comedy.”
Accolades followed from user scottybomber: There are millions of reasons as to why I watch Sherlock and your perfect comedic timing is most definitely one of them!
Cumberbatch: Thank you. I learned from the master, Martin Freeman.
Aw. It’s delightful to see Cumberbatch showing the love to his Sherlock co-star and giving credit where credit’s due, although a bit later in the conversation, he hinted at Freeman’s dark side:
c-line: This AMA has exceeded my wildest expectations. Has your sass increased since working with Martin Freeman, or were you always this sassy?
Cumberbatch: Well of course Martin will be furious unless I say I owe it all to him. And believe me, his wrath is more fearsome than any dragons.
Okay, so it was more of a joke than a scandalous revelation, but we’re of the firm belief that the ultimate question of who’s sassier can only truly be settled by some sort of uber-sassy showdown. Like a wizards’ duel, but more over-the-top. Just sayin’.
5. Movie nights at chez Cumberbatch are amazing.
Chatchapeau asked: Hi Ben, what are a few of your favorite comfort movies that are nostalgic to you and you never tire of?
Cumberbatch: Ghostbusters. Loads of John Hughes classics. Annie Hall. Annnnnd 2001 Space Odyssey!!
GOOD ANSWER. He really covers a lot of bases, there, and as much as we’d love to settle in with some popcorn and see how much of The Breakfast Club Mr. Cumberbatch knows by heart, the real question is, which Ghostbuster does he identify with? We hope it’s Venkman. It’s got to be Venkman, right?!
6. MUPPET CONTROVERSY!
A Redditor going by the delightful name groinkick asked an excellent, seemingly straightforward question: Mr. Cumberbatch, If you make an appearance on Sesame Street, which Muppet would you like to share a scene with?
Cumberbatch answers, simply: “Animal.” But wait! It seems that he has waded into treacherous Hensonian waters, because, as Jrgolden42 immediately pointed out, Animal isn’t a member of the Sesame Street cast!
Cumberbatch: “Forgive me. Oscar the Grouch.”
A solid recovery, but the Muppet controversy lives on in the comments. Is “Animal” truly an acceptable answer? How does Oscar the Grouch feel about coming in second? And more importantly, why does Cumberbatch clearly have a thing for Muppet badasses? You know it’s only a matter of time before he’s spending late nights out on the Sunset Strip with Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, and maybe Ted Danson.
7. Benedict Cumberbatch: Fish Safety Advocate
Cumberbatch spent a fair amount of time during the AMA messing with the Sherlock fans in the audience, teasing anyone who asked about anything spoilerish or unresolved. Want to know how Sherlock survived his infamous fall? Too bad, but at least watching Cumberbatch bring up the mystery as often as possible is a master class in casual/affectionate trolling:
From Redditor Illustrious: Mr. Cumberbatch, I don’t have a question. I just wanted to say that I think you are lovely in Sherlock and that my husband named our fish after you.
Cumberbatch: I hope that fish lives a long life. Don’t put it near any rooftops.
And, finally, the NSFW moment that has already become a Reddit legend...
8. “And this is how Benedict Cumberbatch broke the internet!!!”
Fish and bathrobes and muppets aside, here’s where things just got incredibly silly (in the best possible way), as Redditor Hcml11 asked the seemingly innocent question that has now spawned a veritable nerdgasm of gifs, fan art, and even voice recordings the likes of which the internet hasn’t seen since the last time Tom Hiddleston showed up shirtless.
Hcml11: “Do you, Matt smith, and Tom Hiddleton [sic] have cheek bone polishing parties?”
Cumberbatch: We like nothing better than buffing our Zygoma. And imagining a horny time traveling long overcoat purple scarf wearing super sleuth nordic legend fuck fantasy. Get to work on that, internet.
Um ... ... ...?
At this point, we like to imagine that there was a moment of stunned silence across the entirety of the internet. And then came the gifs, the discussion of fanfiction (both currently in existence and in the process of being born); Rule 34 came up quite a bit…and then the first fan art began to trickle in.
Beloved Reddit regular Shitty_Watercolour offered the following, saying, “I realise this will disappoint a lot of you sorry :c”
Far from being disappointed, Cumberbatch declared that the artwork to be “phenomenal,” although he had questions:
Why does Matt have the hammer? Sure it’s the wrong household tool? Shouldn’t it be a sonic toothbrush with a screwdriver on the end of it? And what’s Simon Pegg doing staring at my abundant locks? And where’s his right hand?
First of all, “Simon Pegg” is clearly Hiddleston, here. But it hardly matters, because the fan art juggernaut had been unleashed, and there would be no stopping it...
And this, from “avid Cumberbunny” Jackie/enerJax:
In the end, perhaps scorrea1 summed it up best: “And this is how Benedict Cumberbatch broke the internet!!” All in all, we think Cumberbatch may have set a whole new precedent in terms of sheer amicability, bringing a hilarious bit of real life, bathrobe-y fan service to his Reddit appearance that’s both smart and rather charming. And just a little bit dirty. You’re welcome, internet.