It’s rare for me to start watching a show from the very beginning. Part of it is a lack of access to premium channels, other times I wait to hear what the community thinks and hope the show continues its momentum.
As of now, there are two (very different) exemptions that come to mind: Breaking Bad and Key & Peele. Breaking Bad intrigued me from the beginning, and being way too into movies at the time, AMC was one of my favorite channels. And naturally, the premise of a chemistry teacher turned meth cook was very appealing.
Key & Peele on the other hand, was something that was just on. Commercials and teases made it look funny enough to give it a chance. But after a couple of episodes, I was hooked. Something that always seemed unfair were Chappelle’s Show comparisons, because this show was more about two comedians/actors who clearly love working together. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele play off each other so well, and even when some of the skits don’t hit, their great acting helps move the things along.
Since the last episode of season two airs tonight, here are the best the duo has to offer so far.
In order this time!
10. LMFAO Non-Stop Party, “Season 2, Episode 7”
A common comedic trend in Key & Peele is repetition. Sometimes, like in the case of the boyfriend chasing his girl home from the bar until literal death, it doesn’t work, but other times, things just get funnier and funnier. Here, Key and Peele discuss how LMFAO must be exhausted from all of their partying. The result is a skit that is the Groundhog Day of music videos, with LMFAO unable to escape from a club.
9. Malcom X vs. Martin Luther King Jr., “Season 1, Episode 2”
An early skit in Key & Peele‘s run pits two of the greatest contributors to the civil rights movement. What is supposed to be an educational, moving play turns into a competition over who can draw the best reaction from the crowd. Watching Key as Malcolm X and Peele as MLK is great, especially when the actors they’re playing start to realize that the crowd is responding to every sentence their character says. They completely break away from their script, including the preaching the slogan of “four more years.” Peele would play the actual MLK in another great sketch, but this one help gave the show some momentum.
8. Bobby McFerrin vs. Michael Winslow, “Season 1, Episode 7”
What an absurd concept. In fact, it’s such a good concept that the half-decent execution is forgotten. The line that makes McFerrin snap, “every sound is like a miniature Mona Lisa,” shows that Key and Peele are not only good actors, but great writers as well. Plus, this skit features one of the many ridiculous wigs that the two have worn throughout the series. In all, the idea is so stupid, yet so memorable that it goes down as one of the greats.
7. Action Heroes – “Season 2, Episode 3”
Frustrated with action stars, specifically Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon, Key & Peele starred in this skit about to valets obsessed with Liam Neeson and Bruce Willis. The reactions here are what really sells this, from the classic “reeling in the fish” mime, or Peele’s screams softening as he runs through two revolving doors. Lines like “Liam Neeson straight killed a robot boat,” also make this a top ten moment.
6. Obama – The College Years – “Season 2, Episode 1”
Peele’s Obama impression is as good as it gets. Forget Saturday Night Live‘s Jay Pharoah, the real deal is on Key & Peele. I decided to leave Obama’s anger translator off the list because there are so many good moments in those that they warrant their own top ten. Here, in a home footage sketch, a fro-ed out Obama gives speeches, smokes weed, and comments on babe diversification to make his party historic. The delivery of the lines is so perfect in the first scene you could almost imagine a young Obama saying it. Almost.
5. The One “Magical Negro” – “Season 1, Episode 5”
Based on movies such as The Green Mile, Key and Peele came up with a brilliant sketch about two, as they call it, “magical negroes” who run into each other while trying to provide wisdom to the same down-on-his luck man. This results in a hilariously low-budget battle between the two in a Harry Potter-meets-Pokemon style battle. The fight gets more and more incredible and when it’s all over, there’s a great little joke that puts into perspective the outdated, insensitive label of the characters.
4. Reality Chef – “Season 1, Episode 1”
For me, this was the sketch that made me continue watching this show from the get-go It was absolutely hilarious and combined smart and ridiculous writing. A perfect parody of reality shows, especially the music accompanying comments from the host, this skit features Key in the role of a tough host, who can’t seem to make up his mind. (P.S. The above clip is a shortened promo and doesn’t get as absurd the one that aired, but it’s still pretty great.)
3. You Can Do Anything – “Season 2, Episode 1”
As aforementioned, Key & Peele is sometimes all about a progression towards complete absurdity. This particular skit, however, ends on a hilariously sobering note, with Peele’s character apologizing while decked out in spot-on Russell Westbrook attire. Only this show would make a whole skit dedicated to an athlete confusing literally and figuratively. A basketball player telling a very specific age group to take their friends out on the freeway and drive them like a car is really the type of insanity you can expect from this show.
2. Das Negros – “Season 2, Episode Three”
Classic Phil Dunphy-Hans Landa mash-up. Ty Burrell more or less plays the nazi version of his Modern Family character while paying homage to Christoph Waltz’s character from Inglorious Basterds. While he does dominate the sketch with his hilarious accent, it’s the play on expectations of stereotypes that drive this skit. The tests that Burrell’s character puts the two white-face-wearing men through are at first just bizarre, but as we learn by the end of the sketch…are they…? This sketch is a fantastic example of Key & Peele taking what we expect as an audience, and then turning us on our heads.
1. East/West Bowl – “Season 2, Episode 2”
As an avid sports fan, this was the perfect sketch. But I found out that this is pretty much a perfect sketch for anyone. I have gotten friends and family into Key & Peele only using this skit, which is a parody of your typical football introductions. With D’Brickashaw Ferguson as their inspiration, the two comedians must have had a blast writing out outrageous names like Hingle McCringleberry and X-Wing @Aliciousness. There’s a lot that works here, from the increasingly silliness of the names, to hearing the announcers comment on the players, to sounds being included in names, to the representative from BYU. In a sport where there’s a Sean, DeSean, LeSean, and Marshawn, this skit is spot-on and whether they knew it or not, something sports fans needed.
The East/West Bowl video has over five million views on YouTube, and hopefully will keep this show running. Thankfully, Comedy Central has already ordered a third season of Key & Peele, so start watching.