Written by Marley Ghizzone
Key and Peele is the quintessential sketch comedy series. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are intelligent writers and outstanding performers who hit the mark almost every time. Every sketch is measured and every action is meaningful. Though not every single sketch is gut-bustingly funny, I don’t believe they have any duds. If it isn’t laugh out loud funny, it’s thoughtful satire that makes the audience reflect.
The premiere episode, “Y’all Ready For This?,” began with a classic escalation of violence and invective. A football team is getting ready before a big game by shouting teamwork cliches. They jump and yell, getting pumped. But then the scene intensifies, turning into a death battle between two players. When I was first introduced to Key and Peele, I was turned off with the constant turn to dark, eerie, and violent. However, I now understand and appreciate the pure comedic genius.
This season saw the continued exclusion of the live aspect. Instead of interweaving sketches with Key and Peele bantering in front of a live audience, it connects the episode with them on an infinite road trip effectively shooting the breeze. The car scenes were the best example of the cleverness and craftsmanship of the show. They were not usually the laugh out loud scenes, but they created a better ebb and flow to the episode. I liked the car scenes a ton because they felt relatable and casual. They remind me of the wild, weird, out-there discussions saved for long car rides and late nights with close friends.
Key and Peele is a strong show in the loud moments and in the quiet moments. However, I did not completely love the staple sketch anger translator, this time between Barack Obama (Peele) and Hillary Clinton (Kate Burton). It was well paced and everyone performed impeccably. I laughed at parts of Savannah’s (Stephnie Weir), Clinton’s translator, rant. But I was all out impressed and I think it was the weakest part of the episode.
Which brings me to my all out favorite, MVP sketch of the episode. Before this, one of my favorites was from the season four premiere where two white rednecks who expound on their views about race but with positive twists. It did two things- talk about race and jab at film and television cliches. This Season 5 sketch of pirates singing a pro women, sort of feminist song did the same thing. It was funny, smart, and the song was catchy. I loved it.
Key and Peele has found a way to be provocative when need be, not just for the shock value (I’m looking at you, white cop shooting unarmed black man sketch.) This show is great because everyone behind it cares. They want to stir the pot, make people aware of the world around them, but most importantly be hilarious. The season premiere of Key and Peele was excellent. I am definitely ready for this season.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Key and Peele airs Wednesday nights at 10pm on Comedy Central
all images courtesy of comedy central