Key & Peele

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Key & Peele
Key & Peele.jpg
Genre Comedy
Created by Keegan-Michael Key
Jordan Peele
Directed by Peter Atencio
Starring Keegan-Michael Key
Jordan Peele[1]
Theme music composer Reggie Watts
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 53 (and 1 special) (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Keegan-Michael Key
Jordan Peele
Ian Roberts
Jay Martel
Producer(s) Keith Raskin
Editor(s) Justin Donaldson
Richard LaBrie
Cinematography Charles Papert
Camera setup Single-camera[2]
Multi-camera (stage segments)
Running time 21 minutes[3]
Production company(s) Cindylou
Monkeypaw Productions
Comedy Central
Martel & Roberts Productions
Distributor Comedy Central
Original network Comedy Central
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
First shown in United States
Original release January 13, 2012 (2012-01-13) – September 9, 2015 (2015-09-09)
External links
Official website

Key & Peele is an American sketch comedy television series created by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele for Comedy Central. Both Key and Peele previously worked on MADtv.[4]

Each episode of the show consists mainly of several pre-taped sketches starring the two actors. The sketches cover a variety of societal topics, often with a focus on American popular culture, ethnic stereotypes, and race relations.[5] Key & Peele premiered on January 31, 2012[6] and ended on September 9, 2015, with a total of 53 episodes, over the course of five seasons. A special entitled "Key & Peele's Super Bowl Special" aired on January 30, 2015.

Key & Peele won a Peabody Award[7] and has been nominated for various other awards, including Writers Guild Award,[8] NAACP Image Award and several Primetime Emmy Awards.


An episode usually consists of a cold opening, with a short sketch. After the intro plays, the two hosts introduce themselves to a studio audience and explain a possible situation, with the following sketch having a similar situation. The show then follows this pattern, with about 7 sketches, each varying in time. Not all the segments are introduced by a studio segment.

In Season 4, the show changed format, eschewing a studio audience in favor of a pre-shot narrative, featuring the duo discussing a concept during a car ride, as the introduction to their sketches.


The series was first announced in June 2011 by Comedy Central.[1] In anticipation of the show, Key and Peele launched a web series in support of the program.[9] The series premiered in January 2012 on Comedy Central in the U.S. and on The Comedy Network in Canada.[10][11] The first episode drew 2.1 million viewers, making it the most-watched Comedy Central launch since 2009.[12]

The series was renewed for four more seasons, beginning in September 2012,[13] September 2013,[14] September 2014,[15] and July 2015.[16] The last episode aired in September 2015.[17]


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 8 January 31, 2012 (2012-01-31) March 20, 2012 (2012-03-20)
2 10 September 26, 2012 (2012-09-26) November 28, 2012 (2012-11-28)
3 13 September 18, 2013 (2013-09-18) December 18, 2013 (2013-12-18)
4 11 September 24, 2014 (2014-09-24) December 10, 2014 (2014-12-10)
5 11 July 8, 2015 (2015-07-08) September 9, 2015 (2015-09-09)
Special January 30, 2015 (2015-01-30)

Recurring characters and sketches[edit]

Key performing as Luther, President Obama's "anger translator", at the 2015 White House Correspondents Dinner.
  • Barack Obama – The 44th President of the United States, played by Peele, who often has difficulty expressing his true feelings.
  • Luther – President Obama's "anger translator," played by Key, who works to interpret the President's low-key statements into raging tirades. One sketch reveals that Obama's wife and daughters each have their own anger translators as well, whom they request help from to speak with each other. Key appeared briefly in-character as Luther at the Annual White House Correspondents Dinner as an anger translator for the real Barack Obama in early 2015.
  • Wendell Sanders – Played by Peele, Wendell is a nerdy, extremely overweight, friendless man who loves sci-fi and fantasy. He often comes up with elaborate stories to convince others (especially over the phone) that he is not a stereotypical nerd, and that he is calling on the behalf of people other than himself. This includes a very attractive woman named "Claire", with whom he claims to have a relationship, and a 15-year-old son named "Stimpy" they have. (He was put on the spot when questioned about his nonexistent son, and he was close to a plush doll of the character from The Ren & Stimpy Show.) Though his stories are obvious lies, they are elaborate enough that he usually manages to convince the person on the other end of the phone line (usually a gullible man played by Key) that the people in his stories exist. When asked to speak with his fabricated friends and family, Wendell makes up an abrupt event on the spot (usually involving the fabricated person in question being killed) to prevent the person he is talking to from piecing together that his stories are lies, and to end the conversation.
  • Mr. Garvey – Played by Key, Mr. Garvey is an angry and intimidating substitute teacher and 20-year veteran of urban education. He distrusts (he refuses to allow students to leave for club photos, as he believes that it is a made up excuse to leave class, even after a schoolwide announcement over the intercom, which he also believes to be fake) and has trouble pronouncing the common names of his mild-mannered and generally polite suburban students, though he vehemently believes his pronunciations are correct, such as pronouncing the name Jacqueline as "Jay-Quill-Inn" or Blake as "Balakay" and his most known Aaron as "A. A. Ron". Any corrections from the students are seen as highly disrespectful lies meant to make him look foolish. Mr. Garvey forces his students to acknowledge themselves by his incorrect pronunciations, often at the very real threat of being sent to Principal O'Shaughnessy (pronounced "O-Shag-Hennessy" by Garvey) for disrespect. The only student Mr. Garvey seems to trust is an African American boy at the back of the class named Timothy (accent on the "o") (played by Peele), who is implied to be from the inner city and claims to have a daughter. In March 2015, it was announced that Key will reprise the role of Mr. Garvey in a feature-length film Substitute Teacher with Jordan portraying a rival teacher.[16]
  • Meegan – Played by Peele, Meegan is a young woman angry at her boyfriend, Andre, who always pursues her from a club, but she won’t let him near enough to make up. The distance they cover in their pursuit becomes extreme. Meegan is shown to be extremely selfish and unintelligent, and does not seem to acknowledge social norms. She herself rarely ever receives any sort of come-uppance for the flagrant disrespect she shows to others. When not with Andre, Meegan is often seen with another woman who acts exactly like her (played by Key), and they often gossip amongst each other about being shocked by people doing normal acts, and calling them "crazy". They also take many selfies of themselves, but delete the majority of them because they don't like how they look in them, including a picture that had already just been classified as evidence in a crime that they witnessed.
  • Andre - Played by Key, Andre is Meegan's equally loud, but far more intelligent and polite boyfriend who tends to take the fall for the conflicts she starts with others.
  • DeVon – Played by Key, DeVon is the shady and weird landlord who's often suspicious of what goes on in his tenant's apartments,
  • Rafi – Played by Peele, Rafi is a baseball player who makes all his teammates uncomfortable in the locker room, because of his "slap-ass" addiction.
  • Brock Favors – Played by Key, Brock Favors is a news reporter who's always ill-prepared for his assignments such as helicopter traffic reports and reporting on police dog training. He always responds to unexpected and sudden events with loud, excited swearing.
  • Col. Hans Muller – A Nazi Colonel who is ignorant to the truth. He uses "very scientific" methods to find black people (offering them beets, measuring their heads, jingling cat toys). He is played by recurring guest star Ty Burrell.
  • Levi and Cedric – Two inner-city friends who often get in rifts because of Levi (Peele) constantly joining new trends such as going steam-punk or getting his own Ratatouille. Most sketches end with Cedric (Key) getting fed up with Levi and calling off their friendship.
  • Carlito – Played by Peele, Carlito is a Mexican gangster who believes that very normal or minor acts (including sitting in chairs) are "for pussies", and believes himself to be above doing such acts. He believes himself to be "the crazy one" of the gang, which he will go to embarrassing lengths to prove.
  • The Valets – Two valets (who always use unnecessary plurals in names of people, places, or things) who love discussing their favorite movie stars such as "Liam Neesons," "Bruce Willy," "Annie Hathaways," and "Racist-Ass Melly Gibsons". They will usually end the sketch by saying a movie by the star is "MY SHIT!", then disappearing, by ways such as flying into the air like a rocket or exploding.
  • Karim and Jahar – Two lecherous Middle Eastern men on the lookout for beautiful women. Though they claim to dislike homosexuals, they often act in a vaguely exaggerated homosexual manner.
  • LaShawn and Samuel – A gay couple with very differing personalities and views on marriage. Samuel (Key) is very intelligent and well-mannered, and exercises restraint when making important decisions. LaShawn (Peele) is very loud and extremely flamboyant, and is constantly thinking up often nonsensical and impossible ideas for their future.
  • East/West Bowl Football Players – A series of college football players (most of them played by Key and Peele) whose names become increasingly ridiculous as the list progresses, such as "Donkey Teeth," "Hingle McCringleberry", and "Fudge". The last player for the West team is always a white player not played by Key nor Peele. In the third edition of this skit, the fictional athletes were joined by actual players with unusual names like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Ishmaa'ily Kitchen (with the last player for the West team played by "A.A. Ron Rodgers").[18]
  • Metta World News – NBA player Metta World Peace delivers the "news," which usually takes the form of presenting bizarre hypothetical scenarios to the audience and his imagined approach to them. This is the only recurring skit that stars neither Key nor Peele.
  • The Black Republicans – A group of outside-of-the-box thinking black men (one member is played by recurring guest star Malcolm-Jamal Warner) who try to convert other black voters to join the Republican party. They are all shown to be similarly dressed in outdated fashion styles such as leather jackets, braided belts, dad jeans, and wire-rimmed glasses. They will sometimes disguise themselves as Democrats to prevent other black Democrats from voting. Their catchphrase is "I am pissed, ROYALLY pissed!"
  • Joseph – Played by Key, Joseph is a crude conman who attempts to deceive others into helping him financially by making up facetious hardships.



Key (left) and Peele (right) attending the Peabody Awards in 2014

The first two seasons of Key & Peele received positive reviews, maintaining a score 74 of 100 by the review aggregator site Metacritic.[19] The third season of Key & Peele has received critical acclaim, receiving a score of 82 on Metacritic.[20] The series won a Peabody Award in 2013 "for its stars and their creative team’s inspired satirical riffs on our racially divided and racially conjoined culture".[21] On April 24, 2012, during an interview on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, President Barack Obama told the story of how he had watched the Key & Peele sketch on himself with 'Luther, his Anger Translator,' saying that "It's pretty good stuff – It's good stuff."[22] Additionally, on April 25, 2015, during the White House Correspondents Dinner, Key reprised the role of Luther, President Obama's anger translator during the event.[23]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2013 Writers Guild of America Awards Comedy/Variety (Including Talk) Series Rebbeca Drysdale, Colton Dunn, Keegan-Michael Key, Jay Martel, Jordan Peele, Ian Roberts, Alex Rubens, Charlie Sanders, and Rich Talarico Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Makeup for a Multi-Camera Series or Special (Non-Prosthetic) Scott Wheeler, Suzanne Diaz Nominated
2014 Peabody Award Comedy Central Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics Joshua Funk, Rebecca Drysdale for "Les Mis" Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series Jay Martel, Ian Roberts, Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Alex Rubens, Rebecca Drysdale, Colton Dunn, Rich Talarico, Charlie Sanders Nominated
Outstanding Makeup for a Multi-Camera Series or Special (Non-Prosthetic) Scott Wheeler, Suzanne Diaz & Georgia Allen Nominated
2015 People's Choice Awards Favorite Sketch Comedy Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Variety Sketch Series Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Keegan-Michael Key Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series Rebbeca Drysdale, Colton Dunn, Keegan-Michael Key, Jay Martel, Jordan Peele, Ian Roberts, Alex Rubens, Charlie Sanders, and Rich Talarico Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special Brendan Hunt, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele and Rich Talarico for "Key and Peele Super Bowl Special" Nominated[24]
Outstanding Picture Editing for Variety Programming Rich LaBrie, Christian Hoffman, Phil Davis Nominated[25]
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special Amanda Mofield, Raissa Patton Nominated[26]
Outstanding Makeup for a Multi-Camera Series or Special (Non-Prosthetic) Scott Wheeler, Suzy Diaz Nominated[27]


Vandaveon and Mike[edit]

Key & Peele have also created a YouTube commentary of their episodes under their alter-egos Vandaveon Huggins and Mike Taylor.[28] Vandaveon and Mike analyze an episode, and suggest that low brow humor would make it funnier. These videos were also added to On Demand offerings of Key & Peele episodes. The content of the commentary is unrated.[citation needed] On March 12, 2014, Comedy Central announced the network was developing an animated spinoff starring Vandaveon and Mike as 12-year-old hall monitors, in association with Key and Peele.[29]

Home release[edit]

On September 25, 2012, Comedy Central and Paramount Home Entertainment released "Key and Peele – Season 1" on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Both formats feature bloopers, outtakes, a "Poolside Interview," audio commentary with Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, "Backstage," "Split Their Pants," Key & Peele live at the South Beach Comedy Festival, and an easter egg of the show's theme song.[30]


Key & Peele premiered in Australia on The Comedy Channel on August 9, 2012.[31]


  1. ^ a b "06.29.11 | Nick Kroll and Key and Peele Pickup | Comedy Central Press Release". June 28, 2011. Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Key & Peele Television show – Key & Peele TV Show – Yahoo! TV". Yahoo! TV. Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Key & Peele: Season 1 -". Xbox. January 31, 2012. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  4. ^ Owen, Rob (January 14, 2012). "PRESS TOUR: 'Key & Peele' is sketch comedy done right". Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  5. ^ Maus, Derek C.; Donahue, James J. (2014). Post-Soul Satire: Black Identity After Civil Rights. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1-61-703997-3. 
  6. ^ Gorman, Bill (January 4, 2012). "Keegan-Michael Key And Jordan Peele Come To Comedy Central With New Series 'Key & Peele'". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Key & Peele (Comedy Central)". Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  8. ^ Mitchell, Gregg; Strell, Jay (December 6, 2012). "2013 Writers Guild Awards Television, News, Radio, Promotional Writing, and Graphic Animation Nominees Announced". Writers Guild of America
  9. ^ "Key & Peele Launch Obama Anger Translator". January 12, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Key & Peele". Comedy Central. Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  11. ^ "The Comedy Network Shows – Watch Full Episodes | Daily Show, Colbert & Skeet.0". Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  12. ^ Gorman, Bill. ""Tosh.0" Season Premiere Pulls In 3.1 Million Total Viewers & New Series "Key & Peele" Debuts To 2.1 Million Total Viewers For The Biggest Comedy Central Launch Since 2009 – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". TV by The Numbers. Retrieved February 15, 2012. 
  13. ^ Ng, Philiana (February 14, 2012). "Comedy Central Renews 'Key & Peele' for Season 2". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  14. ^ Seat42f. "Key & Peel Renewed For A Third Season". Retrieved November 27, 2012. 
  15. ^ Bibel, Sara. "'Brickleberry,' 'Key & Peele' and 'Drunk History' Renewed by Comedy Central". 
  16. ^ a b Fleming Jr, Mike. "Paramount To Turn Key & Peele’s ‘Substitute Teacher’ Into Feature; Keegan-Michael Key And Jordan Peele To Star". Deadline. Retrieved 26 April 2015. 
  17. ^ "‘Key & Peele’ to End its Comedy Central Run After This Season (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  18. ^ Saraf, Sid (January 28, 2015). "'Key and Peele' gives us 'East/West Bowl' sketch with NFL players". FOX Sports. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Critic Reviews for Key & Peele Season 1 at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Key & Peele : Season 3". Metacritic. January 31, 2012
  21. ^ "Key & Peele (Comedy Central)". Peabody Awards. May 2014. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
  22. ^ Obama on Fallon, April 24, 2012 on YouTube
  23. ^ Staff, Variety. "‘Key and Peele’ Star Acts as Obama’s ‘Anger Translator’ at Correspondents Dinner (VIDEO)". Variety. Retrieved 26 April 2015. 
  24. ^ Outstanding Writing For A Variety Special - 2015
  25. ^ Outstanding Picture Editing for Variety Programming - 2015
  26. ^ Outstanding Hairstyling For A Multi-Camera Series Or Special - 2015
  27. ^ Outstanding Makeup For A Multi-Camera Series Or Special (Non-Prosthetic) - 2015
  28. ^ Siek, Stephanie (February 24, 2012). "'Key & Peele': The color of funny". CNN. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 
  29. ^ Goldberg, Lesley. "Comedy Central Expands 'Key & Peele,' Develops Animated Spinoff". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 20, 2014. 
  30. ^ Lambert, David (June 25, 2012). "Key and Peele – 'Season 1' Coming on Blu-ray and DVD from Comedy Central **UPDATE: Artwork**". TVShowsOnDVD. Retrieved June 28, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Airdate: Key and Peele". TV Tonight. July 19, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2013. 

External links[edit]