Comedy Central recently aired the premier of their new show Key & Peele, starring MADtv alumni Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as…well…themselves. The comedy duo created this new sketch series to explore (among other topical issues) their experiences growing up biracial in a “not quite post-racial” America. Interweaving reflective dialogue with culturally insightful (albeit raunchy) sketches, Key and Peele paint the picture of a multicultural generation forced to reconcile personal politics with upward mobility in a hegemonic society…with varying degrees of success. Ironically, that’s where the humor ensues. In Key & Peele’s world, Obama has an anger translator (@ObamaTranslated), because he’s afraid of displeasing voters; Lil’ Wayne’s prison reality show reveals the rapper to be a faux-gangster; and stereotypes force two guys on their cellphones to change their tone of voice out on the street.
Self-described as “Black nerds,” Key and Peele push at the barriers between pop culture pandering and intellectual criticism. During one part of the show, they talk about being a “White-Sounding Black Guy” and what it means to adjust their blackness on a daily basis. “We sound whiter than Mitt Romney in a snowstorm.” The program has been hailed as a promising replacement for the long-running success of Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show. So far, all signs point to a hit first season.
You can view the full premiere episode online and catch more Key and Peele episodes on Tuesdays at 9:30pm.