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Benedict Cumberbatch Takes Manhattan, His American Fans Rejoice

UPDATE: He also broke the internet, according to the stats from his Reddit AmA. The British actor visited Manhattan for a one-day publicity blitz to promote his new movie The Fifth Estate, and the Cumber Collective was there every step of the way.

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Oct. 11: Benedict Cumberbatch has scheduled appearances on Good Morning America, Katie, and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. This is how his fans spent the day.


Audience tickets for the program are given out four to five weeks in advance (long before guests are announced), so those wanting to see a specific actor or musician's in-person appearance line up early on the day of the show for a chance at obtaining standby tickets. If ticket holders don't show up, those with standby tickets are given the empty seats according to their spot in the early-morning line.

At 9 a.m., a show coordinator will distribute standby tickets to those in line, making sure to note each person's place. Would-be attendees come back in the afternoon and wait to see if they'll make it into the audience.

Rebecca Williams of Chicago, the first person in line, arrived at 3 a.m. to make sure she had a good spot. "I'm paranoid," she says with a laugh. / Via Twitter: @ellievhall

Avoiding the crowds of tourists in Times Square, a group of Cumberbatch fans (who refer to themselves as the "Cumber Collective") have staked out positions near the studio's stage door.

One group of friends came into town for New York Comic-Con, but decided to change their plans for today when they learned of Cumberbatch's media appearances.

Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed

Danielle Looney of New Jersey woke up early on her birthday in the hopes of seeing Benedict Cumberbatch.

All of the fans happily welcome everyone who shows up over the next hour. Once conversations begin, many people realize that they "know" each other from Tumblr.

Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed

Nicole Carlucci of Maryland shows off her Sherlock-inspired temporary tattoo.

Everyone is giddy with caffeine and anticipation, speculating about how they'll react when the actor actually shows up.

Erica Maven of North Carolina respons to a question about her upcoming glimpse of Cumberbatch.

Nicole Carlucci talks about her upcoming glimpse of Cumberbatch.


Benedict Cumberbatch arrives in a town car and quickly enters the studio, waving at fans on the way in.

Benedict Cumberbatch waved hi at the fans outside GMA!!



Benedict Cumberbatch waved hi at the fans outside GMA!!

/ Via

The moment is so brief that the group barely has time to wave, let alone scream or shout the actor's name. Once he's inside the building, chaos — and high-pitched squeals of happiness — erupts. "He's a real person!" one NYU student repeats to her friend. "He's actually a real person!" Another fan holds her hands up to demonstrate to the group how they're actually shaking. Everyone hopes that Cumberbatch will be able to sign autographs or take photos after his Good Morning America interview.

Rapper Vanilla Ice is also a guest on the show today. He comes over to greet the fans in line, seeming not to realize that they're exclusively waiting for Cumberbatch. People chat and take photos with him, but they're clearly less than starstruck.


Many people walking by the barricade stop and ask, "Who's coming out? Who are you waiting for?" The response, "Benedict Cumberbatch" doesn't register with any of the curious men and women — the fans attempt to explain, offer examples of his work, but the commuters and tourists still appear confused as they walk away. Given the number of movies the actor will appear in over the next few months (The Fifth Estate, 12 Years a Slave, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and August Osage County), it seems unlikely that this will be the universal response the next time he comes to America.

Contrary to what one might expect, the group of fans goes silent — no screaming, shouting, squealing, or declarations of love. The actor, walking the barricade's perimeter with a police officer, thanks everyone for coming.

Fans have brought a variety of items for the actor to sign. Some have Star Trek: Into Darkness DVDs, some have magazines, one fan brought the script to the play August Osage County, which Cumberbatch signed with a smile.


After five minutes of signing and selfies, Cumberbatch apologizes profusely and says that he needs to leave. Once again, he thanks everyone for coming. The fans, in turn, thank him for making time for them.

After he leaves, the high-pitched noises of happiness that have been suppressed until now erupt from the fans. Women who met in line an hour ago hug each other like best friends, jumping up and down. "Oh my god, that actually just happened! That happened!" Amanda-Rae Prescott exclaims. As the group disperses, nearly every conversation is about how the brief encounter with their favorite actor went better than they ever could have imagined.


Fifteen minutes after a Fallon show employee began handing out standby tickets, there's still a line of at least 40 people. A 30 Rock security guard says that the line for tickets today was "a bit longer" than what she normally sees.

More than 100 people receive standby tickets by the line's end.

A mixed group of fans and professional autograph hunters greet Cumberbatch as he arrives at the Katie studios.

It begins to rain and the group of well-prepared fans pull out umbrellas, obviously prepared to wait until Cumberbatch re-emerges. The autograph hunters and lone paparazzo depart; approximately 15 fans remain.


A bit of rain can't stop these fans.

A huddle of teenagers giggle about how they're missing classes to stand outside the studio in the hopes of a picture or autograph. One older fan admits to skipping work to do the same. Four people are missing New York Comic-Con. Twenty-one year-old-Page Schumacher's story is the most impressive: She took a 3:00 a.m. train from Maryland "on an impulse" so that she'd be able to see Cumberbatch in New York. "I regretted not coming up and seeing him the last time he was on Jimmy Fallon," Schumacher says. "I don't have classes on Fridays, it was only three hours, and $75, so I decided to do it." When asked if it's been worth it so far, she smiles. "Well, I've seen him, which wasn't something I could say before today."


Cumberbatch exits the studio as rain continues to drizzle. Although members of his team urge him towards the waiting town car, he stops, turns towards the slightly damp fans, and begins to quickly sign the DVDs and photos that are being offered to him.


Benedict Cumberbatch and his team are surrounded by fans and autograph hunters as they arrive to tape Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Many fans have left NYCC early in the hopes of seeing the actor.

Of the 100+ fans who received standby tickets, only six are admitted into the Fallon taping. Later, on the show, Fallon will tell Cumberbatch that more people tried for tickets to his show than any other show this year.

The fans who didn't make the cut converge on the 30 Rock entrance where Cumberbatch arrived.

Waiting for Cumberbatch to reemerge at 30 Rock.

Ellie Hall


Waiting for Cumberbatch to reemerge at 30 Rock.

/ Via

After Cumberbatch departs the final TV appearance of this quick NYC press junket, dazed fans react to having actually seen the actor in person.

The lucky few who received an autograph were even happier.

But this one fan seemed to summarize the reaction of all American Cumberbatch fans.

After a few dazed moments, everyone departs, talking excitedly to one another about all of the new Cumberbatch interviews that will soon be available.

Reddit also revealed some analytics from the AmA:

Benedict Cumberbatch's Q&A session attracted 1.4 million page views and 797,556 unique views on Friday. Viewers spent an average of 2 minutes, 36 seconds on the page.