R. Kelly's Conviction Sparks Flurry of 'SNL' Jokes

R. Kelly was the subject of many jokes during the Season 47 opener of Saturday Night Live. Kelly's six-week criminal trial took place in Brooklyn, New York recently where prosecutors had to prove that Kelly was head over a racketeering and sex trafficking ring that he ran for nearly three decades. Dozens of witnesses who alleged that Kelly lured and groomed them to be his sex slaves took the stand to allege Kelly abused them not just sexually, but also physically and emotionally. Several of Kelly's former live-in girlfriends testified, with one claiming she was forced to eat Kelly's feces when she disobeyed one of his many rules.

In the end, Kelly was found guilty of nine counts. He faces a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of a life sentence. He now faces similar charges in at least three other states, including Georgia, Minnesota, and Illinois. Despite the mounting evidence against him, Kelly insists he's innocent and the accusers are former scorned lovers. 

The claims against Kelly may be serious, but he'll always be the brunt of many spoofs, as proven on SNL on Oct. 2. In one scene, Kenan Thompson starred as Levar B. Burton who sings Kelly's massive hit single 'I Believe I Can Fly' at fictional character Miriam Thompson's funeral. Burton is famed casino singer who Thompson enjoyed on her frequent trips to Atlantic City, New Jersey.

In a separate scene for the show's popular "Weekend Update" segment, Kelly being found guilty in his recent Brooklyn trial is highlighted. "[He] won't be prosecuted until next May, after R. Kelly's lawyers successfully bargained one more school year," Michael Che joked, referencing Kelly's alleged affinity toward young teenage girls. Che also mentions the fight to have Kelly's music removed from streaming services amid his continued scandals. In a continuation of the report, Che asks, "What did he really do though?"

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In 2019, Kelly's explosive interview with Gayle King was spoofed. The interview came due to Kelly wanting to defend himself against the claims made against him in the Surviving R. Kelly documentary.