Brow Beat

Kenan Thompson and Leslie Jones Take on That Trainwreck of an R. Kelly Interview for Saturday Night Live

Leslie Jones, as Gayle King, and Kenan Thompson, as R. Kelly, recreate their interview on SNL.
Congratulations, R. Kelly, you made the cold open.

For the last few years, Saturday Night Live cold opens have traditionally been dedicated to Donald Trump and his cronies, for one simple reason: A pack of racist morons bumbling around with nearly unlimited wealth and power inevitably produces a lot of great, easy-to-parody television. But this week, disgraced singer R. Kelly reminded us all that in America, everyone, regardless of birth or station, has the opportunity to go on TV and fuck up so spectacularly that you make the cold open. R. Kelly’s interview with Gayle King was such a disaster that SNL gave him pole position, courtesy of Leslie Jones and Kenan Thompson:

The biggest problem here is that Thompson is way too twinkly-eyed and amiable to be a convincing R. Kelly. On the other hand, he’s always been able to sell the effortless confidence of the blissfully ignorant, and the sketch gave him plenty of opportunities. As King, Leslie Jones had the comparatively thankless task of looking skeptical and unamused by Thompson’s antics, but she somehow made it through without breaking, even during the musical interludes. The highlight was Kelly’s explanation of how people are spreading unsavory rumors about him:

You can start a rumor about any celebrity, just like that. All you gotta do is push a button on your phone and say, “R. Kelly did this to me,” and then attach a video of me doing that thing. And people will believe you! It’s scary.

It sure is, R. Kelly. It sure is. Saturday Night Live won’t be back until March 30, so the nation’s worst celebrities have three full weeks to go on TV and pull off something more mesmerizingly stupid than whatever Donald Trump is cooking up. We’re all rooting for you, celebs!