Michael Phelps is among the rare swimmers, or Olympic athletes in general, who transcend the sports in which they compete and become a part of the broader cultural narrative. A symptom of that is becoming a punchline to trite pop-culture references on late night television.
Such was the case earlier this week, when Jimmy Fallon played a game of “Sentence Sneak” with actor Benedict Cumberbatch on the Tonight Show. In the game, the two engage in “casual conversation” and have to casually insert absurd sentences written on cards into their dialogue – an improv exercise of sorts.
One of the lines Cumberbatch had to work with was “Butt-Dialing Michael Phelps Changed My Life.” That parlayed into an exchange about how much Fallon loves swimming, especially the “hats” and “goggles” and “Speedos.”
Cumberbatch is a British actor who has received 4 Primetime Emmy Awards, including winning Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his performance in Sherlock. He also earned an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor for his performance in The Imitation Game.