R. Kelly got the SNL cold open treatment this week. The controversial R&B singer’s explosive interview with Gayle King was parodied on the NBC late-night sketch comedy series.
SNL regular Kenan Thompson portrayed Kelly, while Leslie Jones delivered a dead-on portrayal of a calm Gayle King. Thompson’s Kelly spent a lot of time referring to himself as “victim”— but like the real Gayle King, Jones called him “Robert”— and much of the spoof interview was set to R. Kelly songs including the hits “Bump n’ Grind” and “Trapped in the Closet,” according to NBC News.
Jones’ King kicked things off by asking Thompson’s Kelly why he was doing the interview in the first place. In real life, R. Kelly is facing 10 counts of sexual aggravated criminal abuse, which includes allegations of sex with underage girls. The singer has denied all charges of sexual misconduct.
“My lawyer was telling me no, but my ego, my ego was telling me yes,” Thompson said, in a play on the lyrics to the Kelly’s hit 1994 single, “Bump n’ Grind.”
Thompson was then asked why people think he had a “harem” of women and was keeping them in a “sex cult.”
“Probably because it looks like I have a harem of young girls and I started a cult,” he replied.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) March 10, 2019
Thompson repeatedly referred to Gayle King as “Oprah’s friend” as he broke into song, and when Jones’ King brought up the recent documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, he blasted the Lifetime series for not saying anything “nice” about him.
“They made it seem like I was the devil, and even if I was, you can’t think of one nice thing to say about the devil? …I can. Nice horns, gives good advice.”
Thompson also said that while he can’t “read or write or math,” he’s still a person who puts on his pants “one sleeve at a time just like everyone else.”
Thompson’s Kelly later said his accusers were all lying because they wanted his millions of dollars. When Jones reminded him he failed to pay over $160,000 in child support to his ex-wife, Thompson changed his tune and described himself as “a very poor man.”
Later, Thompson’s Kelly mistook the interview cameras for sex tape cameras, calling the CBS crew “some freaks” for leaving the cameras out in the open like that. The interview ended with an explosive Thompson jumping out of his chair to proclaim his innocence, just like R. Kelly did in the real interview that aired on CBS This Morning last week.
“Guys,” he said. “Think for a minute. Use your brains! Why would I do these things. For 30 years, I gave y’all ‘Trapped in the Closet,’ ‘Feelin on Yo Booty,’ ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number,’ and so many other clues.”
You can see Saturday Night Live’s spoof of R. Kelly’s interview with Gayle King below.
Saturday Night Live airs Saturdays at 11: 30 p.m. on NBC.