4. R. Kelly Interview Cold Open
A lot of fans were eager to see Idris Elba host for the first time on March 9, 2019. Those who tuned in right at 11:30 were treated to one of the best sketches of the season during the cold open.
The R. Kelly saga was well documented during the winter. Things really got weird for the singer during his sit down interview with Gayle King. Of course his outbursts and the calm demeanor of King caught the attention of late night. But like with everything else, it was Saturday Night Live who got the most laughs from the story.
It isn’t often that Kenan Thompson gets to play the main character during a cold open. But there isn’t anything on Saturday Night Live that he can’t do. That includes playing R. Kelly going off the rails.
Thompson had the same challenge (or benefit) as Chris Redd portraying Kanye West in the Oval Office. R. Kelly’s interview was so absurd that it left little room for Thompson to exaggerate. But he and the writers still managed to deliver, with Thompson’s Kelly asking how the public never picked up on the clues about his behavior littered throughout his songs.
This sketch represented what continues to make Saturday Night Live so great and such a huge part of pop culture. Anytime a moment like the R. Kelly interview breaks, we know to turn on SNL that Saturday night and see how the funniest people on television saw the story.