Key & Peele: Keegan-Michael Key picks favorite sketches
The complete series is out on DVD Tuesday
Today is a nooice day for Key & Peele fans: The complete series is now available on DVD. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s beloved sketch show only ran for five seasons over three years, but it left a considerable footprint on the comedy world, with so many of the sketches embedding themselves into the culture and becoming classics along the way.
To celebrate the DVD box set’s release on Tuesday, we spoke to Key (who currently stars in Mike Birbiglia’s comedy Don’t Think Twice) and asked him his personal Top 5 favorite Key & Peele sketches ever. To no one’s surprise, he had a lot to say.
KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY: It’s one of those sketches where there has to be like four out of five things that check off of every list. The look is outrageous, it’s perfectly executed. It’s a two-hander or what Jordan and I call peas in a pod, which means that the two main characters in the sketch have the same point of view.
That’s what I like about that, and then also the fact that we…we seldom break on set because we have such quick days, we never have time—but this was the day where our director and us were just like, this one’s going to take as long as it’s going to take. It’s just going to take as long as it’s going to take because we can’t keep it together and Malcolm Barrett, who was in the scene, was a champion, but we all just kept breaking. I mean, it was like…it was crazy.
4. “Alien Imposters”
KEY: I like it because it’s a good standard sketch but it’s a funny sketch. The setup is really nice because the setup happens as a surprise, you know? That’s what I like about the sketch — and also we kind of look like badasses, which is something that Jordan and I always like. We always want to be like badasses carrying guns, which is why we played the Allentown brothers in Keanu — because we wanted to have a situation where we get to have cool-ass guns and be assassins.
KEY: There’s almost like a subcategory here. The Obama-Luther original is No. 1, and then No. 1 is Obama/Hillary, and then No. 3 would be the one where we’re doing the MC Hammer dance after we won the election. Then No. 4, in regard to most fun to do, it never aired [but there was] one where Obama was playing basketball with a bunch of kids in a middle school and Luther was trash-talking poor Obama.
2. “I Said Bitch”
KEY: Some of it’s nostalgia… a lot of it’s nostalgia. It was our first sketch where I felt, I can’t speak for Jordan, but I felt like, oh, great, this is going to be awesome. We finally get to show America what like a well-written Second City sketch would look like. Because I think that a lot of people…you know, we owe so much of our technique and skill and the way we see comedy, so much of that to Second City, and “I Said Bitch” was one of those first things were the comedic game and the scene is so strong and so behavioral, and that’s why I like it. Just a solid, solid evergreen sketch. My prediction is that sketch will be funny in the year 2220. As long as men and women are in relationships with each other, that sketch should be funny.
1. “East/West College Bowl”
KEY: So, once again a confluence of events. I’m going to say it this way, one of the most amazing jobs ever done by a hair and makeup team, ever. The fact that the piece has no plot and yet is still remarkably layered. By the time you get to the twelfth name, you’re going, “There can’t be crazier names. There just can’t be crazier names.” And Jordan always said when we were writing it, “People are going to lose their minds when we say, ‘Now let’s take a look at the team from the West.'”
The viewer in their living room is going to stand up and go, “This is some crazy shit right here, now come on! They got 12 more names!”
We wanted them to have that reaction. You know, it’s just, like, this is just stupid and it worked. We wanted it to work and it worked, and of course shooting it, you have no idea if it’s going to work. My God, it worked just the way we wanted it to work. It just makes me happy. My favorite name from the sketch is L’Carpetron Dookmarriot. It’s inherently silly, but it also could be somebody’s name.
Key’s Honorable Mentions:
3. “White Zombies”
2. “Georgina and Esther and Satan”
1. “Substitute Teacher”
Key & Peele