*Comedy Central hopes its viewers are ready for some “biracial humor” via the new sketch comedy series, “Key & Peele,” starring biracial comics Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele.
The show, premiering tonight (Jan. 31) at 10:30 p.m., draws humor from their own experiences growing up as the offspring of both black and white parents in a society that doesn’t always accept who they are.
“We live in this world where we’ve grown up identifying ourselves as African American. Part of sketch is you have to be pushing the boundaries of sketch. You have to have a new voice,” says Peele, 32, the product of a white mother and black father. “You have to be saying something new, so that was our cue to say, ‘Look, man, we have this thing in common, which is the biracial, and we can explore stereotypes or the lack thereof from a new way in sketch altogether. So it was really a cheat to get us to be able to do a show that two other fellas couldn’t pull off.”
The opening skit in tonight’s premiere explores how some blacks raised in the suburbs feel a need to “talk black” when around other black folk. Key is shown on his cell phone talking about tickets to an upcoming symphony, when another brother, Peele, walks past. Suddenly, Key puts bass in his voice and “blackens up” his speech until Key is out of earshot. [See pic above.]
Other bits include a fake ad for Ancestry.com where blacks find out they all come from Thomas Jefferson and a pair of husbands who love to commiserate to each other about their difficult wives, but are terrified – and go to some hilarious extremes – to make sure the wives don’t overhear their husbands calling them the B-word.
Both Key and Peele are veterans of “MADtv” and David Alan Grier’s short-lived “Chocolate News.” In the audio below, they explain how the whole “Key & Peele” concept came together.
While Peele was being raised by his single white mother on New York’s Upper West Side, Key, 40, was being reared with his adoptive parents – black father, white mother – in Utah, of all places.
“My father grew up in Salt Lake City with the other 12 black people,” Key said during the show’s TCA panel last month. “My mother was from a little town in Northern Illinois, and they met in Detroit. That was rough for my dad because it’s just the blackest city in the world.”
Further clarifying his biological background, he explains, “My mom was white. My dad was black. They gave me up for adoption, and I was adopted by a couple where the man was black and the woman was white.”
Tonight’s episode ends with the duo’s infamous “Obama Translator” sketch, which became an instant YouTube hit when it was released online several weeks ago. In it, Peele pulls off a remarkable impersonation of the president, while Key translates his politically-correct words into more colorful, direct language. [Watch below.]
Key & Peele