Key & Peele: "Make Fun of EVERYTHING"


Key & Peele, whose show is huge on Comedy Central, are about the funniest guys around. Like their Comedy Central colleagues, Matt Stone and Trey Parker of South Park, their humor outrages many but entertains even more. In a great piece over at Time, Key & Peele lay out the logic behind their unsparing, unyielding, and ultimately uplifting approach to comedy.


In the most recent season of our TV show, in a sketch titled "Insult Comic," a traditional stand-up comedian professes that he is "going to get everybody" in his set (the guy toward the front with big ears, the fat guy, the women with comically large breasts). [[Note: Click above to watch sketch.] That's the phrase, isn't it, when a critic wants to praise a comedian for the fearless nature of his or her comedy? That he or she "gets everybody"? That "nobody is safe"? One of the club patrons in our sketch, however, is a wheelchair-bound burn victim. "You skipped me," he calls from the audience, with a robotic-sounding artificial larynx. "Go for it," he says, "I can take it." 

But can we, as a society, take it anymore?…

It's amazing to think how popular television shows like All in the Family and Good Times might fare today in a Hollywood pitch meeting. Films like Blazing Saddles and Silver Streak wouldn't make it past the development stage at a studio. Too edgy.

Somewhere along the line, we've forgotten the true purpose of humor: to help people cope with the fears and horrors of the world….

Ask yourself…what's worse: making fun of people or assuming that they're too weak to take it?

The white whale of comedy is still out there. The day we can make fun of a black lesbian dwarf with Down syndrome who's in a wheelchair, and someone who isn't a black lesbian dwarf with Down syndrome is able to laugh–instead of trying to protect the dwarf's feelings–we can pack up our artificial larynxes and retire.

Read the whole thing.

Bonus vid: "Black Republicans"

NEXT: Brian Doherty on Five Gun Rights Cases to Watch

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  1. Is there some reference I’m missing? I really didn’t get the applause all stopping at once joke. It made as much sense to me as a picture of a comedy skit without alt-text.

  2. The stand up comedy skit ios one of my favorites. The MMA one is damn funny too

    God’s lessons are sooo beautiful!

  3. The stand up comedy skit ios one of my favorites. The MMA one is damn funny too

    God’s lessons are sooo beautiful!

  4. You look at the self-described ‘improved’ humanity of civilized states and there exists this whining and remarkably-vocal cabal of hand-wringers for EVERY behavior and activity deemed unsuitable for the ‘good’ society.

    In spite of the fact that the planet has been on an atrocious path of brutality for centuries and somehow we’ve come to the point where at least enough civility now exists to save quite a few from uncertain and terrible futures combined with the reality that most humans live to about 75 there is no end to the proliferation of critical and ‘professional’ opinion on where humanity fails in the most petty ways and why it should be controlled and coddled accordingly.

    In some ways the internet has emboldened the dictatorial and those who defiantly resist individualism and its specific association with choice.

    The trifling and busybody arrogance of modern leadership as they legislate handcuffs and prison bars cripples the human condition in far worse ways than any extra-large soda or backyard weed rolled in a paper and smoked or human expression that pushes ethical boundaries.

  5. I must say I laughed at the “kill me in my sleep” joke. That was pretty good.

  6. That “insult comic” sketch is one of the funniest they’ve ever done. But like most comedians when they try to make a partisan joke as with their Obama sketches or the black Republican sketch, it falls flat.

    1. They def lean liberal and are fanboys to Obama, but they are willing to make fun of any race, religion, etc so the political humor it isn’t as bad as it could be. Plus, the Obama and Obama translator skits are really funny despite the bias.

      Never sleep on Barry O…

  7. Glad to see these guys get it. I look forward to the Jezebel/Salon/ThinkProgress essays on why they’re wrong. After all, they are successful, half-white males. So much privilege!!

    And damn, the squirrels have been out in force.

    1. After all, they are successful, half-white males.

      Which half?

      1. From the waist down.

  8. 2nd try

    1. Got it!

      Now, what’s the deal with portraying black *Republicans* as susceptible to groupthink?

      Do they see Democrats as this rainbow of diverse opinions?

      1. That bonus vid was an odd choice to accompany an article about their desire to avoid the PC trap in comedy. It’s like suggesting Jon Stewart has range then showing his millionth consecutive segment making fun of something stupid said on Fox News.

        1. They’d probably rather make fun of the burnt-face cripple than of an Obama voter.

        2. Here’s a better and far, far funnier example, the slave auction sketch:

          1. That one is damn good.

        3. I didn’t get it at first either, but it’s not making fun of black people for being republicans. It shows how politics is right now. People always bitching about being being mad and angry towards their opponents and always stating how diverse their side is to make themselves feel morally superior. The thing is, people who believe in something are going to group together with people who they agree with. Where in reality it’s just that people use their emotion to obfuscate what I believe really matters, and that is the message and how it adheres to logic.

      2. Democrats of color are a diverse group of black women and men of all ages, who don’t all wear the same jacket and date white people…100% of whom vote for the Borg because racism.

      3. It’s about as original as “I just flew in here, and, boy, are my arms tired!”

        1. That joke is too edgy. It others the victims of restless arms syndrome.

        2. What’s the deal with airline food?

      4. Do they see Democrats as this rainbow of diverse opinions?

        Diversity means agreeing with progressive liberals. Any disagreement is intolerance, and it is the duty of tolerant people to squash intolerance. In the name of diversity and inclusiveness, all who disagree must be destroyed.

  9. Their responses to their own videos are pretty classic. See:…..ion_551317

  10. You may have a peek here for a funny essay. There are some tips to follow.

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