Key & Peele
Back with more chuckles and a third season
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 22:10
Given the recent popularity of simultaneous-release Netflix shows, off-season shows and online TV access, the traditional TV “season” is becoming less of a rule and more of a suggestion. Straddling the line between traditional television and modern viewership are comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, whose show “Key & Peele” returned for a third season this fall.
Viewers might recognize both Key and Peele from their long-running stints on “MADtv.” Key parodied several celebrities on the show, including Snoop Dogg, Bill Cosby and Tyler Perry, while Peele portrayed the likes of James Brown, Forrest Whitaker and Morgan Freeman. On their own show, however, Key and Peele mix parodies (most notably Obama and Top Chef) with characters and premises of their own, to hilarious results. Key and Peele utilize their archetypal “bro” relationship, as well as their experiences with racial issues, to fuel what is truly their brand: a unique blend of on-point parody and classically hilarious buddy humor.
Though “Key & Peele” has been on Comedy Central since 2011, the duo has primarily achieved fame through their parody sketches on YouTube. “Substitute Teacher,” about an inner-city teacher prone to rather… creative permutations of students’ common first names, amassed over 35,000,000 hits on YouTube. Other popular sketches include “You Can Do Anything,” where an overzealous and exhilirated basketball player’s “message to the kids” ends in unlikely tragedy, and “Dubstep,” where Peele’s character introduces Key’s character to a particularly aggressive sample of the titular genre of music. Also incredibly popular was the hilarious sketch “East-West Bowl,” which parodies some of the more interesting names one might find on a football roster.
It was the latter sketch for which Key and Peele chose to make a sequel, which was uploaded online as the start to their third online “season” and a preview to their third television season, which premiered on Sept. 18. Granted, Key & Peele have set the bar high, but “East/West Bowl 2” seemed to miss the mark. The beauty of the first “East/West Bowl” sketch was in the way these “football names” start out right on the edge of normal (“Ibrahim Moizoos,”“T’Variusness King,”) and veer slowly into the hilarious (“The Player Formerly Known as Mousecop”). The sequel, however, doesn’t even start in the realm of the normal (“Cozznester Smiff,” “Bizmo Funyuns,”) meaning that the absurdity has reached its saturation point long before the end of the sketch. The sketch did have some gems, like the giggle-inducing “Goolius Boozler,” and “A.A.ron Balakay,” a reference to two of the mispronounced names in “Substitute Teacher.” Sports announcers “Dave Sassen” and “Jeff Worthy,” while certainly not the stars of the show, are as perfectly on-point as they were in the first sketch.
Despite a bumpy start to their third season, I believe we have a lot to look forward to from this season of “Key & Peele.” After all, even President Obama has endorsed them, calling their parody of him “good stuff.” If a gust-busting mid-week pick-me-up is what you’re looking for, check out “Key & Peele” on YouTube or Wednesdays on 10:30 on Comedy Central.