They've lampooned the president, spoofed slavery, and even came up with a new take on "yo mama" jokes. They're Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, stars of Comedy Central's Key & Peele, a sketch comedy show that pushes the limits in a way that's only fitting for two MADtv alumni. With the show's third season well underway, we asked Key to share his take on 10 of the show's most memorable sketches.
1. Substitute Teacher
"There's two layers: one is that everyone can identify with a substitute teacher getting your name wrong, and another thing you can identify with is when you look at somebody who has a unique name and you see it on a piece of paper you're like, 'Oh boy, how do you pronounce this name?' There's a familiarity about the scene that you can hang your hat on."
2 & 3. East/West Bowl 1 & 2
"There's really not much in the world funnier than a wacky name. I would have to say that one of the biggest things seems to be that people recognize this as a phenomenon that often involves athletes. You're already in it before the joke's even started."
4. Dueling Hats
"People like a competition, and you're not expecting the end. The best thing and the hardest thing about those kinds of scenes is how do we make it crazier and crazier so we can surprise the audience."
5. Fronthand Backhand
"Fronthand Backhand has a really strong improv game in it -- a reverse game, and let's be honest, we all feel good when there's someone in the room who's stupider than we are."
6. Pizza Order
"At first you're giggling at the way Jordan looks. There's a fat guy at the top of the sketch and you think the sketch is going to be about pizza. But once my character starts to ask about Claire, the scene takes a turn and goes down this weird rabbit hole in a completely, completely different direction."
7. Obama's Anger Translator - Meet Luther
"I've never read the YouTube comments, but I'd imagine there's probably a number of comments that say, 'Now see! I wish the President could just say that!' It's cathartic."
8. Obama College Years
"The common sense concept is that you go, 'Well, wait a second, of course! He smoked weed in college, like everyone did in college!' It makes you slap your forehead and think, 'Why didn't I think of that?!?'"
9. Auction Block
"Typically when you see slaves in a sketch, you think it's going to be some kind of wish fulfillment, and the slaves are somehow going to get some kind of retribution on the owners. It's set in slave times but it's not really about slavery. We picked a very strange, kind of edgy, historical frame to do it."
10. Yo Mama Has Health Problems
"Lots of things are familiar in this scene - it's layered with familiarity. It has 'going to the doctor's office,' it has 'being concerned with the mortality of your parents,' it has 'yo mama' jokes. Much like 'Dueling Hats', it has a crazy blow at the end. You can't believe that the thing that happens, happens.