The release of Surviving R. Kelly has brought new attention to the litany of sexual misconduct allegations brought against R. Kelly. The Lifetime miniseries laying out each accusation has made many reevaluate their collaborations with Kelly, and made many wonder exactly why it took so long for people to take his crimes seriously.
The airing of the show has sparked a criminal investigation of Kelly in Georgia. But one perhaps-unintended side effect is a reevaluation of the way Chappele’s Show lampooned Kelly over a decade ago. The rapper was a consistent target of the D.C. comedian during the show’s run from 2003 to 2006.
One of those sketches, of course, was Chappelle as R. Kelly singing a song called “Piss on You.”
The sketch is one people instantly identify as a Chappelle’s Show bit, along with Charlie Murphy telling the story of Prince playing basketball against he and his brother’s entourage. But unlike the hilarious story about the late musician making pancakes, sketches about Kelly and underage girls makes light of a series of very serious crimes — some of which were committed with urine.
And because of that, Surviving R. Kelly has retroactively brought about criticism of Chappelle and others involved with the show, charging he and his collaborators with doing nothing about the alleged crimes but making jokes. One who’s spoken up about those charges is Neal Brennan, co-creator and co-writer of Chappelle’s Show.
In an interview on The Breakfast Club, however, Brennan clears the air and says just how much of a risk the show took by taking on Kelly and his legal troubles.
“I don’t think people understand what comedy is supposed to do,” Brennan said. “We will observe things, we will make fun of things. Did people want us to round up a posse and go arrest R. Kelly? Like, what were we supposed to do?”