The arrival of the Surviving R. Kelly documentary on Lifetime earlier this month not only brought to light the years of allegations against the singer, but has also lead to reconsiderations of various cultural depictions of Kelly over the years. One of those was “Piss On You,” the Kelly parody that aired on the popular Comedy Central series Chappelle’s Show in March of 2003.
The sketch, in which star Dave Chappelle played Kelly, was a parody of Kelly’s music and videos, leading up to Chappelle-as-Kelly declaring his desire to urinate on the subject of the song.
While the parody, which also included a large barrel marked “R. Kelly’s Urine,” certainly uses a different tone than the documentary did, it also establishes that, since the tape of Kelly urinating on underage girls had appeared the year before, Kelly’s proclivities were well-known as long as 16 years ago. The sketch, however, leans almost entirely on the urination aspect, without any reference to the underaged status of the victims.
Neal Brennan, the co-creator of Chappelle’s Show, was asked about the episode Tuesday on the New York radio show The Breakfast Club, and he shared a surprising story about the sketch and its aftermath: that Kelly was not only not amused, but had attempted a physical confrontation with the comedian in retaliation to the bit.
“R. Kelly wanted to fight Dave,” Brennan said on the show. “He literally… his goons stepped to Dave, in Chicago, and Dave’s goons intervened. The goons negotiated,” and presumably no physical fight ever took place.
Also on the show, Brennan defended the comedy sketch from charges in the wake of the documentary that it had “normalized” Kelly’s crimes.
People were mad last week that we did an R. Kelly sketches 15 years ago. Here's me explaining comedy to them. pic.twitter.com/FQoxIALqkr
— Neal Brennan (@nealbrennan) January 15, 2019
When asked about the sketch, Kelly claimed in a 2016 GQ interview to not know who Dave Chappelle was, although a photograph later surfaced of Kelly wearing a shirt that said “I’m Rick James, bitch”– the most famous Chappelle’s Show catchphrase of all — at an awards show in 2005.
Chappelle famously walked away from Chappelle’s Show early in the show’s third season, leaving the show to abruptly travel to Africa. He later explained in interviews that his departure was due to a combination of burnout and dissatisfaction, as well as discomfort with the reactions to some of the show’s racial humor. Three episodes of the third season, titled “The Lost Episodes,” were produced and aired without his involvement in 2005. The end of the series led to a falling out between Brennan and Chappelle, but the two eventually reconciled, the comedian told GQ years later.