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SNL Cold Open Reenacts R. Kelly's Emotional Interview

Saturday Night Live R. Kelly Cold Open

Saturday Night Live addresses R. Kelly’s emotional interview with Gayle King. During the cold open segment, cast member Kenan Thompson appears as the controversial singer, while Leslie Jones portrays the CBS journalist.

On February 22, Kelly was indicted on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. This came just weeks after Lifetime aired the six-part documentary Surviving R. Kelly, which details the Chicago native’s history of sexual misconduct. Since the CBS interview with King, Kelly has been criticized for his behavior and statements. At one point, he stands up during the interview and screams. Many journalists have questioned Kelly’s motivations for appearing on camera, while applauding King for her composure and ability to keep the troubled singer talking about the allegations. 

Related: Saturday Night Live: 14 Famous Actors Who Auditioned... And Didn't Get Cast

In the SNL cold open, NBC's sketch show addresses the R. Kelly interview, and implies that the singer presents himself as a victim. Check out full video of the sketch below.

In the clip, Thompson portrays Kelly as a delusional figure, one who requests to be addressed as “victim.” In addition, SNL’s version of Kelly sings out loud to himself while dramatic music plays. As a performer, Thompson mimics Kelly’s style of singing, and directly references lyrics from the singer’s most famous songs. Near the end of the bit, SNL recreates the CBS interview moment when Kelly stands up, with Thompson [Kelly] stating that “I gave y’all 'Trapped in the Closet,' 'Feelin’ on Yo Booty,' 'Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number,' and so many other clues!” The clip ends with Jones [King] acknowledging Kelly’s “unhinged” behavior and suggesting that he made his situation worse. From there, the cold open sets up the series' famous line, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!

For SNL, the cold open falls in line with the series’ long history of addressing trending news events. Last week, the NBC program opened with Ben Stiller portraying disgraced attorney Michael Cohen - the former personal lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump - and Bill Hader appearing as Ohio State Representative Jim Jordan. In the clip, the aforementioned Thompson portrays the Oversight Committee’s chairman Elijah Cummings. As for this week’s SNL cold open, the series strays from their usual politically-themed intro by focusing on pop culture. In the episode’s Weekend Update segment, cast member Pete Davidson also addressed the R. Kelly interview, along with HBO’s Michael Jackson documentary Leaving Neverland.  In pop culture, fans often stay to loyal to their favorite celebrities. Saturday Night Live's R. Kelly bit contributes to the ongoing debate about separating the artist from their art. 

More: Leaving Neverland: The Biggest Reveals from HBO's Michael Jackson Documentary

Source: Saturday Night Live

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