SNL took a break from mocking President Trump in the cold open to skewer R. Kelly’s cringe-worthy interview with Gayle King earlier this week.
Hours after the real R. Kelly was released from a Chicago jail when he paid (or got help paying) $161,000 in back child support, SNL took aim at his disastrous CBS This Morning appearance, his financial troubles, raunchy music and fondness for McDonald’s.
As soon as the interview started, the show’s version of Kelly — played by Kenan Thompson — asked that he be addressed as a “victim.” King, portrayed by Leslie Jones, refused.
When asked why he would agree to an interview — with 10 counts of felony aggravated sexual abuse hanging over his head, he said: “Because people think I’m some kind of a monster. I’m here to remove all of that.” He then referred to Kelly’s song Bump N’ Grind, saying: “My lawyer was telling me no. But my ego. My ego was telling me yes.”
Thompson’s Kelly went on to deny claims he had a “sex cult.” Then he vented about the Lifetime docuseries, Surviving R Kelly, which detailed years of abuse allegations.
He launched into a version of Kelly’s hip-hop opera Trapped in the Closet, singing: “It’s 10 o’clock in the morning and I’m talking to Oprah’s friend. If I can just get through this, everybody’s going to love me again.”
Jones pushed him to answer her question.
“Oh right,” he said. “These people made a six-part documentary about me. Six! That’s almost ten and not one of them said a nice thing about me. 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?”
Moments later, he insisted his accusers were all lying “for money.”
Jones reminded him he’s nearly broke and struggled to pay back child support.
A perplexed Thompson turned to Trapped in the Closet again for answers, singing: “Damn that’s a good question. I wasn’t expecting that. Now I gotta switch directions and get some sympathy back.”
When the music stopped, he admitted: “Because I’m a very poor man.”
Later in the interview, Jones told him: “Robert. Stop singing!”
Thompson’s Kelly then jumped out of his seat and completely melted down.
“Okay, guys, think for a minute. Use your brains. Why would I do these things?” he said through tears. “For 30 years. I gave y’all Trapped in the Closet, Feeling on Yo Booty, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, and so many other clues. This is how you repay me? I don’t have anybody left in my corner.”
At the end of the interview, King told him: “Robert, you’ve been combative, defensive and completely unhinged. But somehow you expect us to believe you’re completely innocent?”
He replied,”That would be ideal, yes.”
Idris Elba hosted the episode, with Khalid serving as musical guest.