Series regular Kenan Thompson turned in a dead-on performance of the embattled R&B singer, insisting he was a “victim” despite repeated accusations over the years of sexual abuse.
“Thank you for having me and please just call me victim,” Thompson said to King, played by Leslie Jones.
She refused, telling him: “I am not going to do that.”
Jones then asked why he was doing the interview — considering the real R. Kelly is facing 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, including allegations of having sex with three underage girls.
“People think that I’m some kind of monster. I’m here to remove all the doubt. My lawyer was telling me no, but my ego, my ego was telling me yes,” he said in a play on the lyrics to Kelly’s 1994 single “Bump n’ Grind.”
Thompson then addressed allegations that he was keeping women in a “sex cult.”
After being asked why he thought people would say such a thing, he admitted: “Probably because it looks like I have a harem of young girls and I started a cult.”
Then in a play on Kelly’s hip-hop opera “Trapped in the Closet” (and the 33 chapter video series that accompanied it), he broke into song, singing: “It’s ten o’clock in the morning and I’m talking to Oprah’s friend. If I can just get through this, everybody’s gonna love me again.”
But his music-making ended when Jones brought up Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly.
An angry Thompson 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?”
“I can,” he added. “Nice horns, gives good advice.”
Moments later, Thompson’s Kelly insisted his accusers were all lying because they wanted part of his fortune.
But when Jones reminded him he was struggling to pay back child support, Thompson looked perplexed and turned to “Trapped in the Closet” again, singing: “Damn that’s a good question. I wasn’t expecting that. Now I gotta switch directions and get some sympathy back.”
Moments later, he finally admitted, “Because I’m a very poor man.”
Jones asked where the money had gone from the millions of records he sold.
“I don’t know. Who’s the guy you pay to watch all your money,” he said. “Your accountant?” Jones asked. Thompson corrected her saying, “No, my cousin Reggie. That’s it.”
The interview went downhill from there, with Thompson mistaking the cameraman taping the back-and-forth for someone recording a sex tape.
“Y’all just keep your cameras out in the open like that? Y’all some freaks!” he said.
The interview concluded with an angry Thompson jumping out of his seat — à la the real R. Kelly — screaming about his innocence.
“Guys. Think for a minute. Use your brains! Why would I do these things,” he said through tears, before ticking off the names of several raunchy songs Kelly wrote for himself and Aaliyah. “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.”
Jones tried to calm him down by repeatedly saying “Robert.”
Thompson’s crisis manager then stepped in and told him, “You’re killing it right now Kells… crisis averted.”
Idris Elba hosted the episode, with R&B singer Khalid serving as musical guest.
Elba’s SNL gig comes just before the March 15 premiere of his new Netflix comedy series Turn Up Charlie.
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