July 8, 2015 at 3:04 pm #352670
The new season of “Key & Peele” premieres on Wednesday, July 8, 2015, starting at 10 PM ET on Comedy Central.
This can be a place to discuss past and present episodes of the series. The Emmys are starting to legitimately take notice of the series with its first-ever Writing in a Variety Series nomination last year. It should be able to nab an easy nomination in Variety Sketch Series next week.
Reviews forthcoming.July 8, 2015 at 3:12 pm #352672
Ken Tucker’s review (I wondered what happened to him
since his unfortunate EW ousting; he’s working for Yahoo TV now):
Keep It Light While Getting Seriously Heavy
Ken Tucker Critic-at-Large
July 7, 2015
and Peele returns to Comedy Central on Wednesday night with an
exceedingly strong half-hour that once again demonstrates the range of not only
the duo’s performance skills, but their ideas as well.
I’m sure the introduction of Hillary Clinton’s own “anger
translator,” who meets Peele’s Obama and Key’s Luther, will get a lot of notice
during a political season in which Clinton (played impeccably by Kate Burton)
is ossifying into a figure of steely intransigence. (Credit Key and Peele,
whose production schedule meant this must have been filmed a while ago, with
shrewd prescience for anticipating the cold, bitter Hillary alter ego portrayed
And there’s a sketch about politically-correct pirates,
who will bellow a hearty “Yo-ho-ho” but not just “Ho,” “because that would be
disrespectful.” The sketch features the kind of lushly detailed staging that
makes Key and Peele stand out
visually from every other Comedy Central series.
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are in love with
language—they like to bend it, shape it, make it do things that are both absurd
and revelatory. This element of their sensibility is brought to a new level in
a sketch about two excessively gung-ho anti-terrorist airline passengers, who
are all too eager to tear into “some terry”—their term for terrorists—and I’m
not going to spoil the jokes by trying to transcribe the duo’s adroit puns and
It’s one of the final sketches on Wednesday night,
though, that’s the most striking: Key, in white-face, plays a cop who shoots at
blacks for the most shockingly trivial reasons—a guy holding a banana, for
instance. The tone of the sketch is frenetic and wacky, with Key’s white cop an
exasperated bumbler who’s always yelping excuses and “My bad!” But the terror
in the faces of his black victims, and the pass the white cop gets for his
actions, brings Key and Peele into some grave, heavy territory that the
comedians manage to navigate with superb skill.
and Peele airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Comedy Central.July 8, 2015 at 3:16 pm #352673
NY Times Review:
& Peele” Season Premiere, a Shift in Tone and Volume
by MIKE HALE JULY 7, 2015
When “Key & Peele” made its debut on Comedy Central
in 2012, it involved a lot of yelling. The show’s signature Anger Translator
sketches were predicated on the contrast between the button-down cool of Jordan
Peele’s Barack Obama and the volcanic squawks and wails of Keegan-Michael Key’s
Luther, the man hired to express the president’s hidden emotions. Mr. Key also
got to pump up the volume as Mr. Garvey, the volatile substitute teacher
bedeviled by his white suburban students. Two of the show’s most vivid characters,
the mean girl Meegan (Mr. Peele) and her boyfriend, Andre (Mr. Key), spent
their time shouting at each other outside clubs.
Now in its fifth season, which will have its premiere on
Wednesday night, “Key & Peele” has experienced a shift in tone and volume.
There are still sketches built around escalating violence and invective, like
Wednesday’s opener, a football locker-room scene in which two players pound
each other mercilessly while hollering clichés about teamwork. But overall, the
show feels quieter, more reflective and, if anything, even more cerebral than
before. When Luther the Anger Translator does make an appearance, he’s
relatively subdued, taken aback at being out-angered by Hillary Rodham
Clinton’s translator, Savannah (brilliantly played by Stephnie Weir of “The
Comedians”). “Well, you know how it is to campaign for president,” Clinton
(Kate Burton, who played the vice president on “Scandal”) says to Obama, after
which Savannah snarls, “Right now you are the dead skunk I’ve got to step
The contemplative mood is abetted by a significant change
in the show’s format that began last season. Interstitial segments that had Mr.
Key and Mr. Peele talking to a live audience have been replaced by short scenes
of them joking around as they take what appears to be a never-ending drive
through the desert. These casual exchanges, sometimes almost surreal in their
inconsequentiality, set up the subsequent sketches in loopy, indirect ways. Mr.
Peele’s passenger-seat riff on being ashamed that he’s half white leads into a
sketch about wanting to infiltrate that whitest of institutions, the a cappella
Changing the show’s connective tissue from staged banter
to something more cinematic makes sense, because one of the hallmarks of “Key
& Peele” has always been its craftsmanship, the care with which it’s
assembled and executed. The sketches are often straightforward—dueling anger
translators, a white cop shooting black men that are holding anything at all in
their hands, a conversation that disintegrates because every topic contains
spoilers. But they never feel simple or routine, partly because of the wit and
subtlety of the writing but also because of the attention paid to costume and
production design, the panache of Peter Atencio’s directing (he’s done almost
every episode) and the performing skills of Mr. Key and Mr. Peele, which exceed
those of the usual stand-up comedian.
None of this means the show has moved away from
topicality or hot-button issues, but here, too, there’s sometimes a more
oblique approach. One short, hilarious sketch in the new episodes, featuring
Mr. Key as a stereotypical jovial black gent who stops to do a coin trick for a
young white boy, makes a cogent statement about race relations with just a few
lines of dialogue and some hundred-dollar bills. (It’s reminiscent of the
brilliant and much more elaborate “Negrotown” sketch, released by Mr. Key and
Mr. Peele as a YouTube video in May, in which a depressingly realistic
encounter between a white cop and a black man out for a walk metamorphoses into
a Disney-style musical about a paradisiacal African-American town, turning
“Song of the South” on its head.)
The best in this regard is a new Meegan and Andre sketch,
considerably quieter than its predecessors, that takes us back to their first
date. Andre is introduced to Meegan’s toxic behavior in the way she mistreats
their inoffensive chain-restaurant waiter, and, as always, he’s appalled but
unable to tear himself away. It’s about infatuation and self-absorption, and doesn’t
necessarily have anything to do with race—Mr. Peele’s acid portrayal could be
of an ego monster of any color. On the other hand, the waiter is white, and it
matters, though you couldn’t exactly say why, or wouldn’t want to try. That
zone of ambiguity is what sets “Key & Peele” apart—it leaves us to read the
cultural cues ourselves, and isn’t that concerned if we can’t keep up.
July 7, 2015
earlier version of this review referred incorrectly to Peter Atencio’s
direction of “Key & Peele.” He had directed almost every episode, not every
one.July 8, 2015 at 3:22 pm #352674
Episode Title: “Y’all Ready for This?”
Synopsis: A football team hypes up before a game; President Obama and Luther meet
Hillary Clinton; guys prepare for potential flight threats; pirates
sing; a trigger-happy policeman.
Discuss.July 9, 2015 at 5:51 am #352675
Excellent and pretty scathing premiere. The standout was the Obama/Clinton encounter with the “angry” versions of themselves. Kate Burton was a fun Hillary, but Stephnie Weir! Wow, wow, wow! I should remember how much of a beast she can be from her “MADTv” days, but I wasn’t prepared for how great she was here. Compare this with how underserved of a character she plays on “The Comedians.” The commentary is as biting as ever. I can see where the show’s writing would be a standout to voters. The ending sketch on the “white” cop who’s gunning down all black men who are carrying practically anything in their hands construed as a gun was both a depressing reality of our current world and a tricky satire done surprisingly well. The interstitials were okay but a bit too random. Loved the pirate sketch with that “Yo-Ho” song lol (the last “ho” is disrespectful, yo!). I’m gonna need this song nominated next year for Original Music & Lyrics and be performed on the telecast somehow. That would be amazing.
Grade for “Y’All Ready for This?”: A-July 15, 2015 at 12:45 pm #352676
Episode Title: “Airplane Showdown”
Synopsis: A flight attendant must handle a passenger who will not fasten his
seatbelt; British explorers discuss travels; couples try to avoid
spoilers; a prayer group receives divine intervention.
Discuss.July 18, 2015 at 11:44 am #352677
This episode was just as great as the premiere. I’m now starting to realize the range that these two guys have with their sketch comedy. It’s quite staggering. In these two episodes alone, they’ve played presidents, thugs, pirates, football players, world travelers, foreigners, cops, themselves lol, etc. Loved the “airplane showdown” sketch the best, but I’m really enjoying these interstitials now as well. Cheers to the show on its collective Emmy nominations this week. Key is supporting absolutely no one, so getting in supporting when the lead nomination was completely gettable as we see it is was disappointing (awkward for Peele too, I’d imagine), but nods are nods in the end. This level of exposure late-run is excellent, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
Grade for “Airplane Showdown”: A-July 22, 2015 at 8:11 am #352678
Episode Title: “A Cappella Club”
Synopsis: A PSA helps prevent child soldiers in Africa; a college a cappella group
gets a new member; Meegan and André go on their first date; a terror
group runs a food truck; two old men discuss popular music.
Discuss.July 24, 2015 at 3:10 pm #352679
It’s a marvel how versatile both Key and Peele are on here. This is an early Emmy contender next year in directing, writing, and Variety Sketch Series, though I’m sure better will come along for them by season’s end. I’m specifically looking at both Key and Peele as acting contenders now in light of Key’s big breakthrough in Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He’s lead and is supporting absolutely no one, but that’s for another discussion. It was actually Peele who shined in this episode with the parody of the PSA guy asking for aide relief, the very funny first date sketch where he was in drag (gawd I’ve never seen him do this before; both hilarious and outrageous from start to finish!), and the “Black on Black Crime” acapella sketch (even funnier as the both of them are the products of interracial unions). The interstitials continue to be episode highlights too. I read in one of the reviews that this is a new element of the season, and in prior seasons, they’ve used footage from their stand-up routines instead? The conversations seem impromptu, but who knows with such a regimented sketch show what is scripted and what is improv. The “on fleek” debate was quite funny. I honestly wouldn’t have minded if this episode had been an hour long instead of half an hour.
Grade for “A Capella Club”: AJuly 25, 2015 at 10:57 am #352680
This isn’t serialized right? So I could start watching it in season 5?
Never watched those guys but on their cameos in “Fargo”.July 25, 2015 at 1:17 pm #352681
Sad news, Key and Peele will end with the current season’s run. This is by choice as both Key and Peele would like to move on to new projectsJuly 25, 2015 at 2:29 pm #352682
Sad news, Key and Peele will end with the current season’s run. This is by choice as both Key and Peele would like to move on to new projects
Ah. That is sad. I can see them winning Variety Sketch next year. Hopefully that happens.July 25, 2015 at 2:39 pm #352683
(the last “ho” is disrespectful, yo!). I’m gonna need this song nominated next year for Original Music & Lyrics and be performed on the telecast somehow. That would be amazing.
Grade for “Y’All Ready for This?”: A-
I was laughing out loud because of that one line, this is the first episode of this show that I watch, didn’t know what I was losing.July 25, 2015 at 3:42 pm #352684
Damn. I guess I just got so used to this show being on (has it really been almost four years?) that I never even considered it ending. But, thinking about it, it seems so obvious that it would. These guys have bigger and better things to move on to. I’ll be savoring every episode.