R. Kelly Answers Our Questions!

Photo: Robb D. Cohen / Retna

R&B genius R. Kelly blew our minds ten times this summer with parts 13–22 of his brilliant, never-ending hip-hopera Trapped in the Closet. In this week's New York, we, quite rightly, declare the series the Funniest Web Video of 2007. To return the favor, the Pied Piper himself agreed to answer a few of our questions via e-mail. We can't believe it either!

Are you surprised these films have become seen by so many people? It was a gamble to film them in a way that's so different from most music videos.
I am surprised that it's been seen by so many people, but I didn't make it because I hate music videos. I actually love watching music videos, but I'm always trying to figure out a way to bring something new to the table.

Who are your favorite directors?
So many movies, so many great directors. So many favorites. I'm a movie buff.

Was Trapped in the Closet influenced by anything in particular?
Trapped in the Closet was not inspired by movies or TV. Trapped was inspired by the time when there wasn't any TV, and soap operas were on the radio, and you would have to imagine what was going on while you listened to the dialogue. And that's what Trapped was until I decided to put it to film.

We're calling it the funniest of 2007. Who are your favorite comedians?
My favorite comedians are Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac, Steve Martin.

Do you think you're underrated as a comic actor?
Absolutely.

Do you use the comedy, in part, because it allows you to take on more serious issues in Trapped?
Yes, because it adds a little bit of relief, and it opens you up to be able to receive the message.

Because everyone thinks you're so funny, do you think people, particularly critics, have underestimated the more radical aspects of the series — like your focus on HIV in the final episode?
Who said that's my focus?

Would you take a part in a Hollywood film?
Yes … it would be a drama, action, comedy or suspense or whatever.

How long will you continue making Trapped in the Closet episodes?
Till the aliens decide to leave. —Logan Hill

Related: The Twenty (Intentionally) Funniest Web Videos of 2007 [NYM]

Earlier: Vulture's coverage of "Trapped in the Closet"