The 2003 Chappelle’s Show sketch about R. Kelly, “Piss on You,” recently received a mention in Lifetime’s new docu-series Surviving R. Kelly. Chappelle’s Show co-creators Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan have both since spoken about the sketch, and the response it received from R. Kelly himself at the time.
At the West Hollywood Improv last night, Chappelle came onstage alongside Chappelle’s Show cast member Donnell Rawlings to recall the time R. Kelly and his “goons” confronted Chappelle about the sketch at a Common concert in Chicago. “He said, ‘How you gonna do a video of me peeing on bitches like that?’” Chappelle said, noting that the best response to R. Kelly’s question was to ask why he’d pee on someone in the first place.
Brennan also mentioned the Chicago confrontation during an interview on The Breakfast Club this week. “R. Kelly wanted to fight Dave,” he said. “His goons stepped to Dave in Chicago, and Dave’s goons intervened, and the goons negotiated.” Brennan addressed criticism of the sketch in depth, saying, “I got a lot of thoughts about this. First of all, I don’t think people understand what comedy is supposed to do. We will observe things, we’ll make fun of things. Advocacy is a new thing … Did people want us to round up a posse and go arrest R. Kelly? Like, what were we supposed to do?” Brennan later said the idea that the sketch “normalized” R. Kelly is a bad-faith argument, pointing out that in comedy, “our job is to poke fun at things, and even if it’s bleak, we still poke fun at it.” Referencing Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator as another example, Brennan said, “Our duty is to mock and entertain, and we’re not cops, you know what I mean?”
Watch the Chappelle’s Show sketch below: