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'SNL' opens with riff on R. Kelly's interview with Gayle King

"SNL's" question-and-answer opened with Kelly requesting that he be addressed as "victim."
Saturday Night Live - Season 44
Leslie Jones as Gayle King and Kenan Thompson as R. Kelly during the "R. Kelly Interview" cold open on Saturday, March 9.Will Heath / NBC

Comedy showcase "Saturday Night Live" took a break from its usual mockery of President Donald Trump to skewer R. Kelly and his legal woes.

The show on Saturday re-created the singer's recent television interview with Gayle King in which Kelly, who has been charged with 10 counts of felony aggravated sexual abuse, vehemently denied the allegations. In the sketch, Leslie Jones portrayed King and Kenan Thompson was Kelly.

"SNL's" question-and-answer opened with Kelly requesting that he be addressed as "victim."

King did not go along.

Much of his banter was set to the tune of R. Kelly songs, including "Bump and Grind." He explained why he was speaking to the media while facing serious allegations of sexual misconduct with girls under the age of 17.

"My lawyer was telling me no," he said, "but my ego — my ego was telling me yes."

When asked why people think he has a harem of young girls and leads a cult, he responded, "Probably because it looks like I have a harem of young girls and I started a cult."

In reality, the singer has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied any misconduct.

In the "SNL" skit, Kelly revisited his hip-hop opera "Trapped in the Closet" during an interlude about how the interview wasn't going well.

"It’s 10 o'clock in the morning and I’m talking to Oprah’s friend," Kelly sang. "If I can just get through this EVERYBODY's going to love me again."

After the interview skit, "SNL" parodied a game show, "Can I Play That," in which a diverse set of working actors test their skills at choosing roles in the "woke" era.

The host, played by Thompson, explained, "This game is produced by Twitter. Twitter, one mistake and we’ll kill ya."

A contestant played by Cecily Strong took on the question of whether she could play the president. She concluded that she could, but only if the role was for a comedy.

It was agreed that recent Academy Award winner Rami Malek, who took home the best actor trophy, "can play anybody," regardless of ethnicity, Thompson said.

The final round question was, "Can you play James Bond?"

"Hey I know the answer to that one," said the workaday actor portrayed by show host Idris Elba, who has been rumored off and on to be in the running for the Bond role.

"Do ya, though?" Thompson responds.

The showcase's news segment, "Weekend Update," returned to R. Kelly, with repertory player Pete Davidson speaking about how artists who make music he enjoys are often troubled.

But he said people should be able to enjoy artistic products without it being seen as an endorsement of the performer's behavior.

"If you support the Catholic Church," he said, "isn't that like the same thing as being an R. Kelly fan?"

Davidson suggested he didn't lose much sleep over enjoying music by Kelly and Michael Jackson despite allegations — which Kelly has denied as did Jackson before his death — that they've sexually abused minors.

However, he insisted, "If I found out Macklemore did some weird stuff, I’d be happy to free up the space on my iPhone."

Davidson addressed attention over his relationship with actor Kate Beckinsale, who's 20 years his senior. "Apparently people have a crazy fascination with our age difference," he said.

He suggested that anyone who has questions about it should ask a long list of men who've dated much younger women, a list, he said, that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Willis, Sean Penn, Billy Joel, Larry King, Rod Stewart and Donald Trump.

Multi-platinum artist Khalid was the musical guest.

CORRECTION (March 10, 2019, 10:49 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the name of NBC’s late night comedy show. It is “Saturday Night Live,” not “Saturday Night Life.”