(Warning: The clip above contains adult language.)
It takes the skills of a Benedict Cumberbatch to make R. Kelly's lyrics sound like an Elizabethan sonnet, but the UK's most celebrated thespian of the moment managed to do just that on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Wednesday night.
The "Star Trek" and "Hobbit" star, who reprises his role as the titular detective in PBS's “Sherlock” this January, applied his dry British charm to the lascivious lyrics of R. Kelly's "Genius" ("Body's so freaking soft/I can't wait to turn you on") with a seductive dramatic reading.
The number was definitely a hit with the ladies: You may want to turn the volume down, because when he gets to “I'mma hit that thing again,” the audience screams like he's the Beatles and it's 1964.
Dramatic readings make everything better. For example, here's Liam Neeson, with his distinctive “I have a particular set of skills” growl from “Taken” applied to Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend."
And here's Darth Vader himself, James Earl Jones, doing the same to Bieber's "Baby."
Jimmy Fallon likes to mix it up by turning dramatic readings back into music. Why NBC hasn't turned all of its news programming into “Brian Williams Slow Jams the News,” we do not know.
Even children's classics benefit from the dramatic read. Here is the Reverend Jesse Jackson's epic take on “Green Eggs and Ham” on "Saturday Night Live" when Dr. Seuss died back in 1991.
And then there was the time that, on a press junket for the movie “Last Vegas,” comedian Hal Rudnick got the Quadruple Crown: Kevin Kline doing One Direction, Robert De Niro doing Miley Cyrus, Michael Douglas doing “Chinese Food,” and Morgan Freeman doing “What Does the Fox Say” — complete with Freeman remixed back into the original song.
It may not be as sexy as Cumberbatch saying “kissing on your thighs,” but as far as things you won't forget until your dying day, it comes pretty close.
"Jimmy Kimmel Live!" airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on ABC.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Benedict Cumberbatch
- R. Kelly
- Justin Bieber