In the Mar. 9 cold open of the late-night NBC sketch show, cast member Leslie Jones portrayed King while cast member Kenan Thompson portrayed Kelly. Thompson as Kelly said that “people think he’s some type of monster” and he wanted to do the interview to “remove all the doubt.”
“My lawyer was telling me no, but my ego — my ego was telling me yes,” he said, before asking Jones as King to call him “victim” instead of his given name.
The sketch traveled through the allegations against Kelly, including that he “likes to go No. 1,” “has a harem of young girls” and “started a cult.”
“Look, I made a lot of mistakes in my life. Maybe I can’t read or write or math,” he said.
When asked about the Lifetime docuseries that features past people in Kelly’s life accusing him of the same things, the lights warmed and an orchestral score floated in. Thompson started to sing, “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.”
He also sang about having to “switch directions” and “get some sympathy back” after Jones as King asked why he owed so much back child support. He claimed to be broke and then questioned if they should save some things for the interview. When Jones as King pointed out the interview was underway, he noticed the cameras for the first time, saying, “You just keep your cameras out in the open like that? Y’all some freaks.”
Ultimately, he leaned on the fact that anyone could start a rumor about any celebrity by pushing a button on their phone and saying “R. Kelly did this to me — and then attach a video of me doing that thing, and people will believe you. It’s scary.”
“I really want to laugh right now but I can’t tell if this is a prank on you or a prank on me,” Jones as King said.
Thompson as Kelly implored Jones as King to “think for a minute” about why he would do the things he was accused of. “I gave you ‘Trapped in a Closet,’ ‘Feelin’ on Yo Booty,’ ‘Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number’ and so many other clues, and this is how you repay me!?” he said.
Watch the Mar. 9 cold open below:
“Saturday Night Live” airs live coast-to-coast Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET / 8:30 p.m. PT on NBC.