Key & Peele
|Key & Peele|
|Directed by||Peter Atencio|
|Theme music composer||Reggie Watts|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||53 (and 1 special) (list of episodes)|
Multi-camera (stage segments)
|Running time||21–22 minutes|
Martel & Roberts Productions
|Original network||Comedy Central|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||January 31, 2012– September 9, 2015|
|Related shows||Mad TV|
Each episode of the show consists mainly of several pre-taped skits 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. Key & Peele premiered on January 31, 2012 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 and two Primetime Emmy Awards and has been nominated for various other awards, including Writers Guild Award, NAACP Image Award and 16 additional Primetime Emmy Awards in various categories.
In the first three seasons, an episode would consist of a cold opening, with a short sketch. After the intro plays, the two hosts would 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 a number of sketches, each varying in time. Not all the segments are introduced by a studio segment.
In the last two seasons, the show eschewed 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. In anticipation of the show, Key and Peele launched a web series in support of the program. The series premiered in January 2012 on Comedy Central in the U.S. and on The Comedy Network in Canada. The first episode drew 2.1 million viewers, making it the most-watched Comedy Central launch since 2009.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||8||January 31, 2012||March 20, 2012|
|2||10||September 26, 2012||November 28, 2012|
|3||13||September 18, 2013||December 18, 2013|
|4||11||September 24, 2014||December 10, 2014|
|Special||January 30, 2015|
|5||11||July 8, 2015||September 9, 2015|
Recurring characters and sketches
- 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. On January 5, 2017, Key debuted an "Obama-Luther" sketch on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
- 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 white suburban students, though he vehemently believes his pronunciations are correct, such as pronouncing the name Jacqueline as "Jay-Quill-Inn" or Blake as "Balakay" or Denise as "Dee-Nice" 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.
- Meegan – Played by Peele, Meegan is a young woman angry at her boyfriend, André, 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 comeuppance for the flagrant disrespect she shows to others. When not with André, Meegan is often seen with another woman who acts exactly like her (played by Key), and they often gossip between one 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.
- André – Played by Key, André 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 Benitez – 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 and characters – despite mangling their names and films – such as "Liam Neesons" from Tooken, "Peter Dinkels" (who plays "Taiwan Lannister"), "Bruce Willies," "Michelle Pa-feiffers," "Timothy Elephants" and "Racist-Ass Melly Gibsons". They end the sketch by saying that something related to the star in question is "MY SHIT!", then disappearing, by ways such as flying into the air like a rocket or exploding. In February 2014, a sponsored sketch with the valets titled "What About Non-Stop?" – in which "Liam Neesons" himself shows up to collect his car – was used to promote the film Non-Stop.
- 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", "Huka'lakanaka Hakanakaheekalucka'hukahakafaka" and "Squeeeeeeeps". The West Team also features players from non-university organizations (such as "Nevada State – Penitentiary" and "Army – Navy Surplus Store"); the last player for the West Team is always a white player not played by Key nor Peele. In the third edition of this sketch, the fictional athletes were joined by actual players with unusual names (such as Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Ishmaa'ily Kitchen); the last player for the West team was played by "A.A. Ron Rodgers", in reference to the Mr. Garvey sketches.
- 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 sketch 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. Their catchphrase is "I am pissed, ROYALLY pissed!"
- Joseph – Played by Key, Joseph is a crude con man who attempts to deceive others into helping him financially by making up facetious hardships. He is misunderstood.
- Dr. Rajeev Gupta – Played by Key, Dr. Gupta is an Indian-American doctor who works at a large hospital.
- The Continental – Played by Peele, a strange, eccentric man who opulently and hedonistically indulges in his hotel's free continental breakfast, and it is implied (in a reference to The Shining) that he supernaturally inhabits the hotel.
The first two seasons of Key & Peele received positive reviews, maintaining a score 74 of 100 by the review aggregator site Metacritic. The third season of Key & Peele received critical acclaim, receiving a score of 82 on Metacritic. 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". 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." 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. Dave Chappelle has accused the show of copying the format he established years prior for Chappelle's Show, but states that he is still a fan of the show.
Awards and nominations
|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|
|65th 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|
|66th Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics||Episode: "Substitute Teacher #3; 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)||Episode: "East/West Bowl Rap||Nominated|
|Outstanding Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special||Episode: "Substitute Teacher #3"||Nominated|
|2015||People's Choice Awards||Favorite Sketch Comedy Series||Comedy Central||Nominated|
|67th Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Variety Sketch Series||Comedy Central||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 & Peele's Super Bowl Special||Nominated|
|Outstanding Picture Editing for Variety Programming||Phil Davis, Christian Hoffman, and Rich LaBrie (Segment: "Scariest Movie Ever")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special||Episode: "Aerobics Meltdown"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Makeup for a Multi-Camera Series or Special (Non-Prosthetic)||Episode: "Episode 406"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program||Key & Peele Presents Van and Mike: The Ascension||Nominated|
|2016||68th Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Variety Sketch Series||Comedy Central||Won|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Keegan-Michael Key||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series||Comedy Central||Nominated|
|Outstanding Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series or Special||Episode: "Y'all Ready for This?"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Make-up for a Multi-Camera Series or Special (Non-Prosthetic)||Episode: "Y'all Ready for This?"||Won|
|Outstanding Picture Editing for Variety Programming||Rich LaBrie, Neil Mahoney, Nicholas Monsour, and Stephen Waichulis for Episode: "The End"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Production Design for a Variety, Nonfiction, Reality, or Reality-Competition Series||Episodes: "Y'all Ready For This?"; "The End"||Nominated|
Vandaveon and Mike
Key & Peele have also created a YouTube commentary of their episodes under their alter-egos Vandaveon Huggins and Mike Taylor. 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. 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.
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.
In March 2017 in a Reddit AMA, Jordan Peele expressed interest in developing a film around his Key & Peele character Wendell Sanders based on the music video "The Power of Wings". The film, titled Wendell Meets Middle-Earth, would follow Wendell's existence in the fantasy world that he likes to see his life in.
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