The SNL comedian made the provocative comparison during last night’s Weekend Update as part of his commentary on Jackson, Kelly, and the reopened discussions about how to reconcile the art you love with the artist’s own evils.
“If you support the Catholic Church, isn’t that the same thing as being an R. Kelly fan?” Davidson asked. “I don’t really see the difference, only one’s music is significantly better.” He then quipped, “The other day, my Mom is like ‘I’m going to Mass’ and I’m like ‘Okay, I’m going to go listen to the ‘Ignition’ remix.’”
From there, Davidson hit upon the selectivity of our outrage depending on how much someone’s work means something to us. “Once we start doing our research, we’re not gonna have much left because it seems like all really talented people are sick,” he said, citing past scandals involving Charlie Chaplin, Mark Wahlberg and Henry Ford as examples. Davidson worried about his own personal hero being caught up in controversy, joking, “If the CEO of Swisher Sweets does a terrible thing, I can’t just change my whole life!”
Davidson’s advice? Feel free to continue enjoying the art of people who’ve done terrible things, but don’t forget the horrible things they did — and offset your guilt by donating to good causes, if you feel compelled. Hardly a slam dunk when it comes to such a thorny issue, but a fairly reasonable perspective coming from a man who had to come on the show twice in as many seasons to talk about his famous girlfriends. (Speaking of which, Davidson addressed the “controversial” age gap between him and new paramour Kate Beckinsale with a rapid-fire litany of older men who’ve done the same thing, which is admittedly a baller move.)
Meanwhile, SNL’s cold opening riffed on Kelly’s darkly lit, unhinged interview with Gayle King. Leslie Jones’ Gayle worked as straight woman to Kenan Thompson’s R. Kelly — his bug-eyed incredulity a perfect vehicle for Kenan’s pitch-perfect command of committedly crazy celebrities. Diving into “Trapped in the Closet” riffs as internal monologue (which, he later realizes, he’s just been saying out loud to Gayle), Kenan’s Kelly hit most of the right notes when dealing with this bizarre moment in pop-culture history.