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Key & Peele is a Peabody Award winning 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. In terms of format, it brings to mind a mix of Chappelle's Show and the last two seasons of MADtv.

It ended on September 9, 2015 with a total of five seasons.

Key & Peele provides examples of:

  • Accidental Innuendo: invoked This is featured at the end of the "McCringleberry's Excessive Celebration" sketch. During the replay of Hingle McCringleberry's third excessive celebration penalty, the color commentator inadvertently draws a penis next to the ref's face when he is staring at McCringleberry's crotch. The color commentator apologizes to the viewers watching at home.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • During Liam Neeson's guest appearance, Key and Peele go into such a huge fangasm that they explode - then reappear as Force ghosts.
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    • The referee in "Rap Battle Hype Man" is certainly qualified for it, being a veteran of sorts.
  • Aerith and Bob:
    • The "East/West Bowl" skit has names like Ozamataz Buckshank, Beezer Twelve-Washingbeard, Hingle McCringleberry, X-Wing @Aliciousness, Donkey Teeth, and... Dan Smith.
    • Vandaveon and Mike are a pretty deliberate version. The former is sometimes shortened to "Van" in some cases.
    • The hosts themselves: Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele.
  • Affably Evil: Nazi colonel Hans Muller in "Das Negros". Despite being on the lookout for Jews and negros, he is shown to be polite.
  • Alien Blood: The aliens in "Alien Imposters" have green blood.
  • All Women Are Lustful: They still go for Tha Incredible Mack, despite the fact that he got shot in the dick.
  • Alter-Ego Acting: Vandaveon and Mike, wannabe YouTubers who critique the actual show and give their own interpretation... which can get a little fixated.
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  • Alternate Timeline: The "Family Matters" sketch. Due to Jaleel White being a psychotic, murderous psychic, Family Matters wound up lasting for another six seasons. It's worth pointing out that the sketch takes place in 1997, one year before Family Matters got cancelled in real life.
  • Ambiguously Brown: invoked Key, who is biracial. He uses it to his advantage, just like he did on MADtv. In fact, 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.note 
  • And I Must Scream: Played for dark laughs in "LMFAO's Non-Stop Party", which is about LMFAO singing about partying nonstop. After partying for more than a week, they try to leave the party, only to find that every way out only leads back to the party and they're unable to escape. They eventually kill themselves to escape, only to be revived with the party starting all over again.
  • Angry Black Man:
    • Luther, Barack Obama's anger translator.
    • The substitute teacher Mr. Garvey, also played by Key, who gets angry because he thinks the students are messing with him.
    • Ironically, the Black Republicans behave more like this. Possibly on purpose.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The "Inner-City Wizard School" sketch; the wizard school in question suffers from supposedly stereotypical problems found in typical inner-city public schools. It also apparently has rats.
  • As Himself: Liam Neeson appears in a sketch to promote Non-Stop with the valets.
  • Ascended Meme: Luther finally gets to translate for the real President Obama.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: In a meta-example, a suspiciously high number of comments on the YouTube video of the "Meegan, Come Back" sketch are about how well Peele plays a woman.
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: The entire point of the "East/West Bowl" skits.
  • Ax-Crazy: The fighter in this skit, who crosses over with Soft-Spoken Sadist.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • The "Bros Do It Together" sketch has two sweaty topless guys facing each other as they gyrate their hips, with one of them trying to avoid eye contact. The sketch ends with the reveal that they were trying to break a hula hoop record.
    • The beginning sketch of "Parole Officer Puppet" has a news anchor talking about two men who were arrested for domestic violence. It's revealed at end of it that the anchor is actually the sportscaster.
  • Bald of Awesome: Key is bald. Because of this, he'll occasionally wear a toupee when playing certain characters.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Mr. Mahina was turned into a mop creature by a witch. He's not happy about it.
  • Berserk Button: It's not a good idea to mention the Albanian Cafe across the street to the owner of the Macedonian Cafe and you certainly shouldn't imply the Albanian kebapi is superior.
  • Big Budget Beef-Up: Sketches like the Obama and Luther ones or "Roommate Meeting" only need one set, compared to "White Zombies" and "Alien Impostors", which not only use outdoor sets but have practical and special effects to boot. Some others like "Les Mis" and "Pirate Chantey" may use just one set, but the costumes and makeup are extensive to say the least.
  • Big "NO!": From "Pizza Order" when Carlos believes that "Claire" was shot and kill. In reality, Wendell lied so he could get out of the awkward situation he put himself into when Carlos tried to ask "Claire" out on a date:
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: One sketch has a hypothetical meeting between Jordan and his father who refuses to believe that the former is his son until Jordan lets it drop that he has his own TV show. The man then tries to get Jordan to stay until this exchange happens:
    Jordan: When I first came in here, you wouldn't even acknowledge that I could possibly be your son. But now, only after I tell you that I have my own show on Comedy Central—
    Earl Peele: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Comedy Central? Get the fuck out of my house!
  • Black and Nerdy:
    • Both Key and Peele, as several of their skits references and/or parodies TV shows, movies, etc.
    • Wendell. His sketches are full of pop culture references.
  • Black Best Friend: Discussed in one of the standup bits. Key and Peele apparently try out for this role a lot because neither of them make a convincing Scary Black Man, and thus end up with a set of oft-rehashed lines like "Aw HELL naw!" and "Y'all two clearly like each other!"
  • Black Comedy: All over the place. For example, in "Rap Battle Hype Man", the hype man is so out of control that he has to be put down.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Inverted in the "White Zombies" sketch. The duo is 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, much to the duo's indignation:
    "What was that? They seriously wouldn't let her eat us?"
  • Blessed with Suck: The world is being attacked by a Zombie Apocalypse in "White Zombies", but the zombies are racist. The duo are miffed at first, but then get invited to a party where everyone is happy that they're not being attacked.
  • Bling of War: Invoked. Luther has several chunky rings on both hands so you know he means business.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Purple Falcon and Yellow Falcon are Asian and Native-American respectively, yet have no issue referring to the African-American Green Falcon by the racially insensitive name "Black Falcon". When he turns the tables on them, that`s when they find it racist.
  • Boom, Headshot!: At the end of "Alien Impostors" when Key's character intentionally kills a human after he's given the keys to the latter's Lexus.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Liam Neeson does this after he meets the valets to promote Non-Stop:
    Liam Neeson: "MYY SHIIIIIIIIT" (valets explode)
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: One sketch is about Key's character ending up boarding a plane last, as Peele's character, who is the flight announcer, delays him by going through with every possible combination of old folks, folks in wheelchairs, small children, religious people, military personnel, etc.:
    "Old religious folks with small military children."
  • Breakout Character: Luther has proven to be so popular that he's been briefly revived on Key's talk show guest appearances and even his NFL Honors hosting stint. Oh, and that White House correspondents' dinner alongside the real Barack Obama.
  • Brick Joke: Throughout Seasons 4 and 5, Key and Peele drive through the Mojave Desert having random conversations that lead into the next sketch. In the final scene of the final episode, they stop the car and turn to each other:
    Peele: "Is this the place?"
    Key: "This is the place."
    Together: (Beat) "I said biiitch."
  • Briefcase Full of Money: "Counting the Money" has a drug deal where the party receiving the money has a lot of trouble deciding how to count it on-site. One of them reasons that if they look up Yahoo Answers 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 and posted online to ask if it looked right.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: One sketch has Peele as a gangster claiming he'd soiled himself before they could make their move, and Key as the other gangster claiming that's not normal for an adult. Until the other gang finds them and point guns in their faces.
  • 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 still a bully.note 
  • Call-Back:
    • Obama and Luther have Negraph.
    • In the 2013 East/West Bowl lineup, there a guy named A. A. Ron Balakey.
    • The soccer sketch in Season 3 has a team called the Power Falcons, a nod to the show's Sentai / Tokusatsu parody of the same name.
    • In the I Am Legend parody, Key is jamming to the party song from the "LMFAO's Non-Stop Party" sketch.
    • The bros in "Roomate Meeting" have an Omega Pi Omega banner. Peele also has a Power Falcons T-shirt.
    • The "McCringleberry's Excessive Celebration" sketch reuses names from the "East/West Bowl" sketch, both being conveniently about football.
    • The "Ultimate Cockblock" sketch has a blink and you'll miss it one: the news item being read by the newscaster Peele's character is hitting on is about the Pegasus riot.
    • One sketch has Key and Peele crossdressing as "D-Nice" and "J-Quellin".note 
    • A subtle one in the "Pirate Chantey", which includes the words "We don't say bitch...", a possible reference to the Season 1 sketch, "I Said Bitch".
  • The Cameo:
  • Camp Gay:
    "We gonna rent the moon and fill it with ROSES!"
    • "Office Homophobe" does this with Latrell thinking he's being discriminated against by someone he brands as the titular homophobe, who turns out to be Straight Gay:
    Latrell: Ooohh! I wasn't being persecuted, I was just being an asshole!
    • "Gay Wedding Advice". A family is still in the process of accepting a gay cousin's marriage, and bring in a straight gay man for advice, except all they've learned to expect is a camp gay wedding.
  • Captain Ethnic: Deliberately played with in "Power Falcons" - as Green Falcon notes, despite Key's character being an extremely stereotypical Magical Native American, he's still referred to "Yellow Falcon", while the Asian woman in the group is "Purple Falcon"; only Green Falcon himself is condescendingly referred to as "Black Falcon" by the others.
  • The Chew Toy: Key as the TV reporter, who's either on a disastrous helicopter flight, or getting attacked by a dog that's learned how to get around his protective gear.
  • Children Are Innocent: In the "White Zombies" sketch, the only zombie who actually tries to attack the duo is a little girl, but her parents pull her away.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Samuel to LaShawn, as the former has to constantly deal with the latter's lunacy.
  • The Comically Serious: Legataux in "Les Mis", as he becomes annoyed when everybody interrupts him while he's trying to speak.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The College Bowl Rap Videos (and pretty much all the football-based sketches after that) bring back as many names from the 2013 College Bowl sketch as they can. For that matter, the name "Donkey Teeth" calls back to the "Soul Food" sketch.
    • The "Sexy Vampires" sketch ends with the gothic vampire den remodeled into something more normal, including a TV with the regular "Metta World News" segment playing.
    • The "Tackle and Grapple" coach looks like your regular sex maniac, but is later seen giving actual lessons in another sketch.
    • Ty Burrell returns as "Jew Hunter" Muller in Season 4.
    • Season 5 takes this up to Continuity Cavalcade levels, from the followup to the Retired Badass Wannabe to the return of the Continental Breakfast guy.
  • Crazy Awesome: invoked Deconstructed and parodied in "Loco Gangsters" — when Carlito feels snubbed by the possible induction of Eduardo, an inhumanly fearsome and intense maniac, into the gang, he tries to prove he's the most loco instead; not only are most of his attempts (such as pretending to be a duck or wastefully collecting multiple punch cards for frozen yogurt) acknowledged as outright pathetic, but his efforts make Eduardo seem even more loco in comparison.
  • Creepy Child:
    • The "Baby Forest Whitaker" sketch pretty much hits the nail on the head.
    • Liam, the terminally ill child who says a lot of creepy things:
    "I wish... to take all the prosthetic legs in the hospital... and bind them together... with the dried flesh of the dead... to create a webbed, massive creature..."
  • Demonic Dummy: Although "Little Homie" is technically a Perverse Puppet, he fits many of the criteria: a propensity for violence and manipulative behavior, appealing to the darker side of others, and autonomy over his master.
  • Denser and Wackier:
  • Destination Defenestration: One sketch has Peele portraying a husband who finds his wife Ready for Lovemaking, asking him to request his "deepest desires". He starts talking about calling her friend Erica...
  • Downer Ending: In the fourth "Substitute Teacher" sketch , a math teacher named Mr. Williams has to deal with a rowdy student named Jimmy. The sketch ends with Mr. Williams losing his job when he goes insane, while Jimmy gets everything he ever wanted.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Parodied in one sketch in "Scariest Movie Ever". In it, a creepy man tells another man about a drug that is placed under a eyelid and the effects said drug has. When the man tries it, he screams in horror and asks when does it start to work. The creepy man's responds that he doesn't know since he doesn't do drugs. He then turns to the camera and says that drugs are for losers. This followed by a banner that says, "Don't even try it. You'll poop your mouth."
  • Dude, Not Funny!: invoked The comedian in "Insult Comic" bases his act around making fun of people in the audience. Unfortunately for him, one of them turns out to be a gay paraplegic burn victim with an electrolarynx. The comedian tries to avoid making fun of him. However, when he finally relents after being pressured to do so, the audience turns on him. An outraged audience member even brains him with a liquor bottle, which the crowd applauds.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Can sometimes lead to Surprise Creepy.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Parodied in "Rap Album Confessions", where Gun Rack has recorded an entire cassette tape's worth of Boastful Rap detailing how he killed Darnell Simmons with "a long-ass gun", the exact time and location of the murder, how his alibi is demonstrably false, and the tics he shows when he's lying. Gun Rack claims it's all just a massive coincidence. The "bonus track" even reveals that his side girl is willing to take the fall for him, and predicts his quick re-capture.
  • Everything Is Racist: In "Office Homophobe", Latrell assumes that any problem someone has with him is because they hate gay people, and not because of his obnoxious behavior. When he sees that the titular "homophobe" he had been berating for the entire sketch is actually Straight Gay, he realizes that he was being "an asshole."
  • Extreme Omnivore: The "Soul Food" sketch.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Possibly. One of the earliest Meegan and Andre sketches, "Meegan Your Jacket", ends with Andre following Meegan with her jacket until they collapse in a desolate wasteland where several other boyfriends and their girlfriends have died a long time ago. And the last Meegan and Andre sketch has Meegan guilt Andre out of breaking up with her, so this could still play out.
  • Forced Meme: Discussed in, and ultimately fueling, "Pussy on the Chainwax".
  • Foreign Cuss Word: In the "Macedonian Cafe" sketch, the owner of the eponymous place pulls it off twice.
  • Framing Device: The first three seasons featured Key and Peele setting up the sketches in front of a live audience. Seasons four and five drop this and instead use scenes of Key and Peele taking an extended road trip through the desert, which ends up in the series finale as a Call-Back to the first episode's "I Said Bitch" sketch.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Carlito the proud gangsta. His gang can't ever get rid of him because, really, how do you get rid of someone who God allows to go to heaven but outright refuses it because he thinks heaven is for pussies?
  • Funny Background Event: Of a sort, more like background commentary. During the McCringleberry skits, the sportscasters make some bizarre asides as we watch the antics on the gridiron: one even nostalgically talks about vacationing with his family in Bogata and being kidnapped and tortured by a cartel.
  • Gang Bangers: One sketch is about a Hispanic gang in a secret meeting - which comes after a bit where Key's character claims that one such individual intimidated him into making more material about Hispanics.
  • Gang of Hats:
    • The Tallahassee Black Republicans, who continue to insist, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that they're a diverse group.
    • "Cult Mass Suicide" is about a Cargo Cult with every member in bowl cuts and the same yellow T-shirt with a big eye on it. Key and Peele play two members who chickened out of the ritual suicide, and try to disguise themselves with jackets over said T-shirts. It works, of course.
  • Ghetto Name:
    • All the names in their "East/West Bowl" sketches vary from this to outright being The Unpronouncable. And then there's the craziest one of all. Dan Smith, BYU.
    • In "Substitute Teacher Pt. 1", the titular teacher has spent his entire career teaching in the inner city, so he assumes every name is like this, confusing his new class of suburban white kids when he calls out names like "J-Kwellen" (Jacqueline) and "Balakay" (Blake). When the kids correct his pronunciation, he assumes they're trying to play a joke on him because nobody could ever have such silly-sounding names. With each correction, he becomes increasingly enraged and hostile, demanding that the kids stop screwing around and say their names "correctly", which culminates in him sending a kid to the principal's office. Finally, he calls out one last ghetto-fied name... and the only black kid in class responds immediately, because it actually is his name:
      Mr. Garvy: A-A-Ron! Where are you? Where is A-A-Ron right now? No A-A-Ron, huh? Well, you better be sick, dead, or mute, A-A-Ron!
      Student: Here!
      Mr. Garvy: Why didn't you answer me the first time I said it, huh? I'm just— y'know, I'm just askin', y'know. I said it, like, four times, so why didn't you say it the first time I said "A-A-Ron"?
      Student: ...Because it's pronounced "Aaron"?
      Aaron: ...Who?
      Mr. Garvy: O-SHAG-HENNESEY!
      Aaron: ...Principal O'Shaughnessy?
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: In one sketch, "Congressman Peele" begs the other Founding Fathers not to sign the Second Amendment because of the potential for future massacres. When they laugh at his warnings, he announces he's actually from the future, draws a pair of MAC-10s, and blows away the Amendment and the table it's laying on to make his case. The MAC-10s disappear from Peele's hands in a flash of blue light, but when one of the Founding Fathers audibly expresses his amazement at the destruction wielded by the "muskets" and a second one pulls out a piece of paper to make a sketch of them before he forgets, a pair of nasty high-tech looking weapons appear in place of the MAC-10s.
  • Glove Snap: At the end of this one.
  • Got Me Doing It: At the end of "Power Falcons":
    "That's it! Black Falcon out - GREEN FALCON! GREEN FALCON! DAMMIT!"
  • Groin Attack:
    • The "I Got Shot in the Dick" music video by Tha Incredible Mack.
    • The sketch where a news reporter (Key) gets attacked by a dog.
    • The vast majority of "Dicknanigans" features Key and Peele's characters doing this to each other.
    • The African warlord gets a potful of boiling water poured on his crotch.
    • At the end of the Georgina and Esther sketch, Esther snaps the devil's dick off while she's possessed.
  • Halloween Episode: "Michael Jackson Halloween" and "Scariest Movie Ever".
  • Hardboiled Detective: In "Filling Jimenez's Shoes", Detective Hobbs has a very hard time accepting his new partner, Joshua Taye.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: "Secret Emotions" features an R&B duo singing. During the performance, it becomes abundantly clear that one of the members is in love with his partner. It ends with him awkwardly doing this after he reveals his feelings.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today?: "Sex Addict Wendell" has Wendell attending a sex addicts support group.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: "LaShawn's Insurance Plan" ends with Samuel resorting to this in order to drown out LaShawn's lunacy.
  • Heel Realization: "Oooooooh, I get it... I'm not persecuted, I'm just an asshole."
  • Henpecked Husband: In "I Said Bitch", two husbands brag about the times they called their wives bitches whenever they're being unreasonable...after making sure that their wives are nowhere within earshot. They both get so paranoid that they take the conversation into outer space.
  • High School A.U.: Vincent Clortho Public School for Wizards. It is essentially a poorer, inner city version of Hogwarts.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: The end of Season 5 has a compilation of these.
  • Historical In-Joke:
  • Hurricane of Puns: The Prison Rape sketch has a gangster visiting the victim in prison, having no idea about it and unknowingly leading to a hurricane of double entendres.
  • Hypocrite:
    • In "Movie Hecklers", Key and Peele play two movie hecklers who shout criticisms at the movie as it is playing. A woman finds them annoying, while her husband does not mind as much, finding their criticisms to be insightful. When he briefly tries join in, he is then immediately hassled by a theater employee who tells him to be quiet. Who brought him to the employee's attention? The two hecklers.
    • In the "Bagels are for Sales Associates Only" sketch, Ron is ordered by his boss (Rob Riggle) to make sure only sales associates take in free bagels. However, as Ron interferes with a janitor who tries to eat/steal a bagel, his boss complains to Ron for being too loud!
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The "Soul Food" sketch ends with one of them ordering a human foot.
  • Ignored Epiphany: When Mr. T is lecturing some kids about not making fun of a person's appearance, he never fails to overlook a more pressing issue that was brought up, such as racism or buying drugs.
  • Innocent Bigot: The new neighbor in this sketch. He plays country songs that he does not believe to be racist despite their blatantly racist lyrics which his friend keeps pointing out.
  • Intercourse with You: Discussed in one of the road trip bits:
    Peele: Modern R&B nowadays is literally a description of sexual intercourse...
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Inverted in the "Substitute Teacher Pt. 1" sketch where an Inner City School teacher is substituting at a predominately white suburban High School. He mispronounces all his students' names when calling attendance, and when they correct him, he angrily scolds them for trying to mess with him. Standouts include "Blake" as "Bah-Lak-Kay" and "Aaron" as "Ay-Ay-Ron".
  • Jekyll & Hyde: The plot twist of "Ultimate Cockblocker".
  • Jerkass: Meegan. Passive-Aggressive Kombat is her at her nicest.
  • Karma Houdini: Jimmy the disruptive kid. Not only he manages to get his teacher fired and driven insane, he also succeeds at everything he does in his life.
  • Kent Brockman News: Metta World News, which apparently can't afford a second newsreader. Or a working teleprompter.
  • 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.
    • The two valets who are always fanboying over media topics such as 'Liam Neesons'.
  • Latex Perfection: "Cunnilingus Class" is about two women impersonating Key and Peele's characters this way to lecture men on proper cunnilingus.
  • Literal Metaphor: Levi owns lightning in a bottle, the goose that laid the golden egg, and a pair of the cat's pyjamas; being baked out of his skull, none of them seem quite as important to him as the idea he suddenly has for a smartphone app. He also owns a "high horse" that's just as much of a stoner as he is.
  • Little People Are Surreal: "Shady Landlord" has the apartment manager Devon hunting for a crack smoking, apparently murderous dwarf on the premises, using a sword cane:
    Devon: Okay, y' know what, I'm gon' level wit' y'all — there is a 4'3" nigga with a purple beard named "Gerald" somewhere in this buildin'.
    Tenant: Why does he keep getting smaller every time you mention him?
    Devon: Seriously? Because I didn't want to alarm y'all. H-he is disturbin'ly small.
  • Love Before First Sight: Carlos, the employee from Mario's Pizza, falls in love with Wendell's ex-girlfriend Claire without having met or spoken with her. Too bad she is really a plastic figurine.
  • Magical Negro:
    "Who you callin' 'negro', bitch?"
    • "Auction Block" focuses on a old-timey slave auction where one of the slaves claims that he knows magic.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: The Saw parody. They even explain it as going into shock!
  • Meaningful Name: Luther again.
  • Mic Drop: Barack Obama gives the ultimate reply to a long Boastful Rap in one sentence:
    Obama: I'm the leader of the free world. <mic drop>
  • Mondegreen: The punchline of "Black Ice".
  • Mood Whiplash: The punchline of "Negrotown."
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • "Flicker" and "Dueling Hats".
    • One opening bit has Key lining up an epic high five. "I had my plant foot, I got some torque in my hips, and I went straight Tiger Woods on it..."
    Peele: "It hit so hard my shit became a pink mist!"
    • "TeachingCenter" is about a SportsCenter-like program about teaching.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: About telling off someone at a dance circle, no less.
  • N-Word Privileges:
    • The Negraph app, which tells you when and where it's appropriate to use the N-word. It'll always be rendered invalid if you're white.
    • It's on the list of the things that Obama's Anger Translator is allowed to say (and by extension one of the things Obama is allowed to say).
  • Neck Snap: Parodied mercilessly in the "Strike Force Eagle 3: The Reckoning" sketch.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Esther and Georgina, two church ladies who take on the devil.
  • No Indoor Voice: Luther and the two valet fanboys again.
  • No True Scotsman: The Camp Gay confronting a "office homophobe" who turns out to be Straight Gay contains elements of this.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Invoked at the very end of the Gremlins 2 meeting. While the meeting obviously didn't happen, all the crazy stuff suggested during it is in the movie.
  • Not So Above It All: How several of the Obama/Luther routines end, with Obama joining in.
  • Odd Name Out: In the first "East/West Bowl" skit, where the other players are all played by Key and Peele with increasingly absurd names, the last player is a Token White from Brigham Young University named Dan Smith.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: The Power Falcons sketch uses repainted Quinjet toys from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Oh, Crap!: Latrell when he sees the coworker he had been bullying and calling a homophobe kiss his boyfriend and realizes:
    Latrell: I'm not persecuted...I'm just an asshole.
  • Omnidisciplinary Lawyer: Parodied in "Judge Jessie", where his myriad and varied careers (master surgeon, skilled carpenter, deadly black belt) are all touted as having contributed to his legal expertise. He's also a crackhead, which mean he's openly fiending in court.
  • Once an Episode There is at least one Obama sketch (some of which include his anger translator, Luther).
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: In "Driver Conversation", a businessman jokingly tells his chauffer, who he believes isn't paying attention, that he going to do a lot of terrible things during his presentation. When the businessman arrives at his destination, the chauffer, without a hint of irony, suggests that he should use a serrated blade to cut his victims' faces off. It then revealed that the chauffer is actually a Nazi.
  • The Oner: The Tea Party "Chosen One" sketch.
  • Our Zombies Are Different:
  • Overly Long Gag:
    • In "Gideon's Kitchen", Gideon keeps getting Drew's hopes up, then trashing them back down, over and over and over.
    • The "East/West Bowl" ventures into this territory.
  • Overly Nervous Flop Sweat: The "Clear History" sketch. It's taken Up to Eleven, of course.
  • Pirate Girl: "Pirate Chatney" featuring a (male) pirate crew singing a song that sounds like they're bragging of conquests, but the last line of each verse reveals them to be unusually enlightened in their attitudes towards women. For example, a verse about a woman who gets so drunk she passes out ends "so we took her to bed, and rested her head, and we left 'cause that's what gentlemen do". The last pirate to sing starts in on something that's clearly not going that direction, and he gets out about two lines before being shot dead by the (unseen before this point) female captain, of whom the other pirates are all visibly terrified.
  • Police are Useless: One sketch is about a policeman who pulls a gun on a perp and only keeps telling him to freeze, up until the perp pulls a gun on the cop and gets away pretty much unscathed.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad:
    • Mocked in "Offensive Boss", where a company's vice president calls a gay man, a woman, and a black man into his office to help with a speech he is giving later. He asks them to raise their hands and say something if they find anything in his speech to be offensive. He can't even get a word in edgewise before they start jumping on him for interpreting everything he says as a personal attack. Mind you, this is all before he even gets to start his speech. When he finally does:
      Vice president: Okay, here goes. A Chinaman, a Polak, and an Arab walk into a bar...
      Gay man: I love Arab jokes.
      Woman: Ching-chong, bring it on.
      Black man: You had me at "Polak."
    • The "Pirate Chantey" sketch plays with this a bit towards the end. The third verse on the song has one pirate talking about how his girlfriend was pregnant, making it clear that he wanted a child and using words like "child" and "heir" that suggest he considered the fetus a living person, and yet he still supported her decision to get an abortion. Though this becomes most egregious in the forth verse of the song; another pirate sings a song about a woman getting sick with a terminal illness and donating all her money to charity in an attempt to save herself, and ends the song with "But the scariest part of the story from the start is I bet you assumed the doctor was a man."
  • Politically Correct History: "Pirate Chantey", as it shows a crew of pirates holding some rather enlightened ideas. Though the introduction of the captain at the end might justify/subvert this; her entire (male) crew is so terrified of her that it makes you wonder whether they really held their feminist views or simply pretended to out of fear.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The "Text Message Confusion" sketch shows a text message exchange that is interpreted as insulting by one side and casual on the other, which culminates in the former interpreting a meet-up at a bar as a challenge to a fight. This is subverted at the end. When the aggressor confronts his friend at the bar, he is enlightened when the latter orders a drink for him and no one is brutally murdered that night.
  • Positive Discrimination:
    • "Apologies" has Key and Peele playing two black men in a bar. While there, a couple of white patrons are so inebriated that they approach the duo and start apologizing for the last 200 years and stuff like that. This is subverted at the end when the bartender admits that black people makes him really uncomfortable. The men thanks the bartender for his honesty.
    • "Sex with Black Men" zigzags this one with a vengeance.
    • Done with Asians in "Roommate Meeting".
  • Prison Rape:
    • "Lil Wayne in Prison" is about Lil Wayne, played by Peele, being followed by a film crew while in prison. He's in the showers when he drops the soap; the camera pans down to show that indeed happened; by the time the camera pans back up, everyone else in the showers is already surrounding him.
    • Another sketch is about Peele as an inmate who's apparently gone through so much prison rape that he's pretty much catatonic:
    You do not want to have animal relations with the other inmates... You are not earning anyone's undying respect when you fart and it sounds like a bottle...
  • Rage Breaking Point: Mr. Williams in the fourth "Substitute Teacher" sketch. He starts out acting calm and laid-back. However, when one of his students, Jimmy, keeps misbehaving, Mr. Williams tries to humble him by putting him in front of the class. Jimmy just responds by imitating the sub, upon which Mr. Williams loses it in a furious imitation of Jimmy so over the top that Jimmy and the rest of the class are completely shocked and silent:
  • Real Men Wear Pink: The buccaneers in "Pirate Chantey" might be typical hard-drinking, hard-living scalliwags of the era, but they also sing of anachronistically progressive feminist causes, decoratively whittle, and show genuine concern when members of their crew are injured. As Peele noted on Twitter, even if some of them do it only out of obedience to their fearsome lady captain, it's still a very nice gesture.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: "Everyone gets their turn" is hilariously averted and conversed with the "Les Mis" sketch where Legataux is frustrated at the inability to get his lines in while everyone else drowns him out.
  • Reality Ensues: The "Negrotown" sketch. It's actually Played for Drama.
  • Really Gets Around: invoked Peele tells a story about his estranged father supposedly fathering several children in several states. "He just sticks his penis out the window as the bus keeps moving..."
  • Rearrange the Song: The theme tune for Season 4 has been overhauled completely, from the Reggie Watts jingle to something sounding like the True Detective themes.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: A majority of sketches will have Key playing the Red while Peele 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:
  • Retired Badass: "Retired Military Specialist" 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.
  • Retool: Mild case in Season 4, which replaced the studio audience in favor of short dialogues on a long road trip, and a redone title theme. However, the rest is exactly the same barring the odd Big Budget Beef-Up.
  • Retraux:
  • Reverse Psychology: How Obama deals with Republicans that always disagreed with his proposals.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: From the Obama skits to a Chris Brown and Rihanna one, a lot of their humor runs on this.
  • Rule of Three: You can get flagged for three pumps. Referee calls excessive celebration.
  • Scary Black Man: When Key is on the phone and Peele walks past on his phone, speaking in a very tough gangster voice. Key deepens his voice in order to not come across as a pushover, then when Key is out of earshot, Peel's voice goes up an octave as he says "Oh, my god! I almost got mugged!"
  • Secret Test of Character: In "Little Homie", a parole officer named Daniel Tate is communicating to a parolee named Clive through a puppet named Little Homie. Little Homie appears to have grown sentient, encouraging him to go back into crime, tossing him a weed cigarette (when Clive questions Tate, Tate says "I want you to clean up your act, but you're not talking to me right now, you're talking to Little Homie) and threatening to shoot Tate if he doesn't smoke it. When Clive calls his bluff, Little Homie shoots Tate, who collapses to the ground. Little Homie cleans off his fingerprints, tosses Clive the gun so his fingerprints get on it instead and asks him to be "in together on this" (probably to keep quiet). Clive stutters "Ok, Little Homie, yeah" At that point, Tate climbs up, informs Clive he failed the test and sends him back to prison.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The gang leader in the Latino gang sketches has a surprisingly adept vocabulary in "Loco Gangsters":
    "Carlito, that's just being cavalier with your finances instead of collecting your free dessert. I mean, that's not loco. It's just like... financially irresponsible."
  • Shameless Self-Promotion: This.
  • Shoot Him! He Has a... Wallet: The "He's Got a Gun" sketch.
  • Shout-Out:
    "You been saying some shit that doesn't exist, and you got Thing 1 and Thing 2 corroborating your story like it does!"
  • Shown Their Work: Mr. T PSA, an Affectionate Parody of Be Somebody... Or Be Somebody's Fool!, is almost indistinguishable from the real thing, right down to the incredibly awkward music numbers.
  • Slave Market: The "Auction Block" sketch is about two slaves in a slave auction complaining that no one is bidding on them.
  • Slow "NO!": Used in "Slap-Ass: In Recovery" and "LA Vice". The latter case is lampshaded.
    Key: "Oh, I get it. When I say no, stuff blows up. Cool."
  • Smug Snake: Carter Finley of "Cat Poster" thinks he is a criminal mastermind who can trick the detective interrogating him by making up names based on things in the room. He's really not very good at it, exacerbated by the fact that he doesn't stop even when it makes no sense.
  • Snowball Lie: "Pegasus Sighting", based on the leprechaun of Mobile, Alabama.
  • 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!"
    "Take yo' ass to Mr O-Shag-Hennessy's office RIGHT NOW before I bust a "club" UP IN YO' BUTT!! Mischievous and deceitful! Chicanerous and deplorable!"
    • "Rap Battle Hype Man" ends with a simple black frame that says "Steinbeck, y'all!"
    • Georgina and Esther, the two old church ladies who describe in the most profane terms all the filthy things they'll do to Satan... with their prayers. At the end of the sketch, Esther follows through on her threat to snap Satan's dick off during sex.
  • Southern Belle: Hillary Clinton's Anger Translator Savannah is this. She is hyperactive, with the pronounced twang, and very bold makeup with double lashes!
  • Space Whale Aesop: In "Consequences", former gang member Donnie Herrera talking to an auditorium at a high school. He tells them how he did bad things (stealing, hanging out with tough kids, smoking weed, etc.) followed by him dealing with the consequences of this. The problem though is that the "consequences" are so wild and unconnected with the deeds he is guilty of that nobody takes any of it seriously:
    Donnie: So I got really deep into crime. I did a drive-by at my own daughter's quinceaera! Yeah, shot up everybody— dead, killed! Yeah! Yeah! Then I got sucked into a wormhole.
  • Special Effect Failure: Invoked for laughs in the "Power of Wings" video. As Wendell's budget starts to get low, the effects and production values start to get hilariously cheap.
  • Spiritual Successor: To MADtv and Chappelle's Show. This is even lampshaded in the latest Dave Chappelle special, when he notes how mad he gets "watching Key and Peele doing my show."
  • Spooky Photographs: Continental Breakfast Buffet, 1935.
  • Stepford Snarker: Peele plays one in a sketch and gets majorly dismantled by Key's character, right down to his true pitiful, sorry self.
  • Straight Gay: Peele's character in contrast to Key's Camp Gay character in "Office Homophobe." The realization of this for the latter has this last line:
    "I'm not persecuted, I'm just an asshole."
  • Stupid Evil: Up to Eleven in the "Pawn Shop" episode. For starters, the guy claims to be Christmas shopping in April.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: One sketch is about a Cargo Cult that commits mass suicide in order to be taken away by the mothership. In the end, it turns out that not only is the mothership real, it takes the two living members who'd chickened out earlier!
  • Stylistic Suck:
  • Subverted Punchline: From the sketch "Continental Breakfast":
    "And who are you, my little friend? Not a spoon, not a fork, but something in between...a fpoon!"
  • Surprise Creepy: A notable number of skits racket up the absurdity before the punchline takes it to some kind of horror:
  • Take That!:
    • To dubstep.
    • "Loco Gangsters" has a jab to the British version of The Office, where the gang leader mentions that the show is funny, but "awkward and sad at the same time."
  • Teeny Weenie: In one sketch where a teenaged Peele is about to get laid, but is worried that his white girlfriend would be put off when she sees his biracial-ness caused him to have a white dick. The day after, he complains that his girlfriend was also biracial and has a black vagina.
  • There Can Be Only One: In "A Capella," Troy makes it clear to Mark that there is only room for one popular and non-threatening black guy at this white school.
  • This Loser Is You: The Wendell sketches.
  • Toilet Humor: "Where My Dookie Go":
  • Token White: Always the Odd Name Out at the end of the various East-West Bowl sketches.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Tyrell, who wants to win Fronthand Backhand.
  • Troll: One opening bit has Key and Peele bringing up "one of our writers, James, he's a white guy, and sometimes we put the N-word in the script 20 times just to mess with him."
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible:
    • invokedThis sketch about Key uncovering Peele's audio journal, which sounds like some angsty social commentary with a heaping helping of weird-ass shit.
    • "Dicknanigans", in which men in zentais pummel each others' balls while words like "SOCIETY", "CONSUMERISM", and "LOVE" flash on-screen, ending with the declaration that love can conquer all. The audience is enthralled.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Before becoming a civil rights crusader and a beloved community figure, Otis Carmichael made a Hollywood film career out of playing racist stereotypes.note 
  • Unfortunate Names: The popular "football names" video parodies increasingly complex African American names.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Freddie Wong's appearance in "Roommate Meeting".
  • Vulgar Humor: Desperately lacking, according to Vandaveon and Mike — not a single sketch has ever had enough penis jokes to satisfy them.
  • Wag the Director: invoked Parodied in the "Family Matters" sketch, where it turns out that the reason why the show had increasingly bizarre and Urkel-centric plotlines was because Jaleel White was an evil psychic who kills anyone who goes against what he wants.
  • The Whitest Black Guy: Since both leads are biracial, this winds up being a central element in several sketches:
    • In the "Dating a Biracial Man" sketch, Key plays a biracial man whose (white) date expects him to be able to use his white personanote  and black personanote  on cue depending on the situation. The sketch ends with him being very confused in terms of which persona he should use. He doesn't, however, ever question her right to demand this of him.
    • In the "Soul Food" sketch, the duo has returned to the neighborhood in which they grew up and is ordering lunch at a soul food restaurant. They are drawn into a game of oneupsmanship to see who can make the "blackest" lunch order, culminating in their eating such "soul food" as possum spines, stork ankles, an old cellar door and a human foot. Neither will admit to disliking the fare for fear of losing their street cred.
    • One of the West Coast players introduces himself as "Benedict Cumberbatch - Oxford University" in a high-brow British accent.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: The East/West Bowl skits are loaded with examples, including one player named T.J. A.J. R.J. Backslashinfourth V (that is, "T.J. A.J. R.J. Backslashinfourth the fifth"). Four generations decided to name their kid T.J. A.J. R.J.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Peele will commonly play a woman in some sketches, though Key has dressed as a woman too.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: The lead singers of It's Happenin'! continue to make up lyrics about trains and outer space. The rest of the band just goes with it.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Exploited by a character in the "Fighting a Dad" sketch. After finding out that a guy he bumped into won't fight him because he's carrying a baby, he takes other babies and wears them as armor.
  • Write What You Know: invoked Parodied in the "Stan Lee's Superhero Pitch" sketch, where Lee creates a bunch of characters based on the trials and experiences he faces as an old man. When the writers at Marvel tell him that his ideas are unusable, he comes up with a new idea: a team of people cursed to be forever unemployable due to biting the hand that fed them, which is met with thunderous applause.
  • You Just Told Me: In "Rap Album Confessions", Gun Rack denies murdering Darnell Simmons when his mixtape states otherwise.
  • Your Mom: In the "Yo' Mama Has Health Problems" sketch, a kid, played by Peele, won't stop making these jokes when the Indian doctor, played by Key, is trying to tell the former that his mother's medical condition is terrible. After the doctor rebukes him, the kid sincerely apologizes, admitting he was using humor to deal with the pain. At the end, the doctor himself makes this joke, 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.


Video Example(s):


"Obama's Anger Translator"

One of Key & Peele's most popular series of sketches is "Obama's Anger Translator", where the calm and collected Obama has Luther translate his words through the lens of a more conventional angry and passionate black man. The sketch was so popular, that Obama himself had Keagen reprise his role as Luther in the 2015 White House Correspondents' Dinner

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

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