"Key & Peele" is a sketch comedy show starring Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele from the FOX sketch show MADtv. The show premiered on January 31, 2012 on Comedy Central and is in its third season. In terms of format, it brings to mind a mix of Chappelle's Show and the last two seasons of MADtv (seasons 13 and 14, spanning from 2007 to 2009) when the show was moved to the Henry Ford Music Box Theater and most of the sketches shown were low-budget short films and music videos.
The following Tropes are featured in this Live Action TV Show:
Both Key and Peele were born from biracial families (half-black, half-white), but generally Peele tends to just play black characters, while Key has a wider range (mostly if he's not playing a black man, he plays Middle Eastern, Indian [both the Native American Indian and the "from India" Indian], and Hispanic).
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Inner-City Wizard School sketch; the school in question suffers from supposedly stereotypical problems found in typical inner-city public schools (only that they all have to do with magic a la the Harry Potter universe.) It also apparently has rats.
Bald of Awesome: Key. Justified with all the wigs and headwear they need in this show.
Biting-the-Hand Humor: One sketch had a hypothetical meeting between Jordan and his father who refuses to believe Jordan is his son until Jordan reveals that he has his own TV show. The man then tries to get Jordan to stay until Jordan reveals the show is on Comedy Central, then he yells at Jordan to get out.
Black Dude Dies First: Inverted in the "Suburban Zombies" sketch - the duo are introduced as the "sidekicks" to a gun-toting white hero played by Kevin Sorbo. He promises to get them out safely and is immediately chomped. It turns out the zombies are still more afraid of black people than vice versa, to Key and Peele's indignation. "What was that? They seriously wouldn't let her eat us?"
Briefcase Full of Money: One skit had a drug deal where the party receiving the money had a lot of trouble deciding how to count it on-site. One of them reasons that if they look up Google Images for a briefcase with that much money, they can compare it to the one they received, but the resulting picture was one taken by them minutes ago back when they assumed it contained the correct amount.
Broken Aesop: Mr. T doesn't actually teach kids anything about making good life choices, just to not bother him about his own rather strange ones.
The Bully: Peele plays one that openly voices all of his problems to his victim (as does his father), with Key's character asking why he's so open with his issues and yet is a bully.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: One of the players in the East/West Bowl is Sequester Grundleplith M.D. How he was able to obtain a medical doctorate is baffling.
Fail O'Suckyname: The popular "football names" video parodies increasingly complex African-American names.
Fake Nationality: Key is half-black and half-white, but has played a lot of other nationalities, including Pacific Islander, American Indian, Indian (from India), Middle Eastern, and Hispanic (very much like when he was on MADtv. Key on MADtv was praised for being versatile in playing all races and both genders).
This sketch is extremely popular among teachers, for the obvious reason.
Ima Humanitarian: The soul food sketch ends with one of them ordering a human foot.
Innocent Bigot: The new neighbor in this short. He plays country songs that he does not believe to be racist despite their blatantly racist lyrics (and despite how often the old neighbor tells him it is racist).
I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Some MADtv cast members have appeared on this show. Nicole Parkernote known for her Disney Girl character and her celebrity impressions of Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Ashlee Simpson, Jessica Simpson, and Christine Amanpour appeared on the Les Miserables parody and Nicole Randall Johnsonnote known for her character Ka-Son and her celebrity impressions of Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, and Condolezza Rice played Michelle Obama's anger translator.
Large Ham: A prerequisite for this kind of show, of course. Ty Burrell gets special points for his Nazi act.
Luther, who was hired by President Obama as critics felt that Obama was too stoic and aloof.
Also those two valets who are always fanboying over media topics such as 'Liam Neesons'.
The parody of reality shows where Key as not!Gordon Ramsay keeps getting Peele's hopes up, then trashing them back down, over and over and over.
Political Correctness Gone Mad: Mocked in "Offensive Boss", where a boss attempts to ask a gay man, a feminist, and a black man working for him if his speech is offensive. He can't even get a word in edgewise before they start leaping on him for interpreting simple speech as a personal attack... and when he FINALLY gets to his speech, it's an offensive joke against Chinese people, Arabs, and the Polish. The three love offensive Chines, Arab, and Polish jokes.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: A majority of sketches will have Keegan playing the Red while Jordan does the Blue. This is most evident in ones with Obama and his anger translator, Luther. Possibly lampshaded in that in the opening that they wear a red shirt and blue hoodie respectively. Throughout the series it's done straight, exaggerated, inverted and subverted, totally played with in every way.
Refuge in Audacity: The whole show runs on this (mostly of the "Let's see how far we can ramp up the insanity" variety, but they do dabble in the "Let's make light of something serious" variety of Refuge in Audacity), but nowhere more than the East/West Bowl sketch. And it's just a list of names.
Retired Badass: One sketch starts out like an 80s / 90s action flick, with a soldier tracking down a retired super-badass living in isolation. It turns out they don't want him for this mission, they just need him to recommend someone - at which point he claims to have been "talked into it" and starts trying to prove he's still got it.
Reverse Psychology: How Obama (played by Jordan) deals with Republicans that always disagreed with his proposals.
Sophisticated as Hell: The Obama & Luther skits. Especially when the dance was involved for the election celebration.
"Movie Hecklers", where two guys begin loudly criticizing a horror film in the theater for its "inconsistent visual language", among other sins. Even the other patrons silently concede that they have a point.
"I mean, this nigga tryin' to do some homage to the German Expressionists or some shit!"
Wholesome Crossdresser: Peele will commonly play a woman in some sketches, though Key has dressed as a woman too.
Who Names Their Kid "Dude"??: In the East/West Bowl skit, one of the players is named T.J. A.J. R.J. Backslashinfourth V. Five generations must have decided to name their kid T.J. A.J. R.J.
Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Exploited by a character in one sketch. After finding that someone else won't fight him because he's carrying a baby, he takes other babies and wears them as armor.
Your Mom: A kid played by Peele won't stop making these jokes when the Indian doctor played by Key is trying to tell her that her medical condition is terrible. The doctor himself throws one in at the end, giving an "oh, snap" after seeing the boy's shock.
Zombie Apocalypse: Subverted in that the zombies turn out to be racist and leave all the black people alone.