"What does that mean, you fool?"
"The Key of Awesome!"
"I don't know, but it sounds cool."
The Key of Awesome presents low-budget but funny parodies of current pop hits. The rewritten songs mock their singers, recent movies and TV shows, or other pop culture phenomena. It was created by Barely Productions, which includes such comedians as Mark Douglas, his friend Todd Womack, and Mark's wife Anastasia Douglas.
All things Key of Awesome can be found here. On February 4, 2018, Mark announced that the series was going on hiatus., but said he would return to the show with a more relaxed schedule at a future date.
The Key of Awesome provides examples of:
- Abandon Ship: Space Girl is trying to eject while Coming in Hot, but her ship's computer won't allow this as it has abandonment issues. Les Yay Cargo Ship ensues as Space Girl agrees to get under the control panel and rewire the circuits enough for a crash landing.
- Ambiguous Gender: The Bearded Nun. It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context.
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: Mocked in the "E.T." parody.
- Alternate Character Interpretation:
- One Direction are dark wizards whose only weakness is vaginas.
- Kesha's drunken stupidity is a carefully crafted act by her record label; she often worries about not being "drunk" enough.
- Don't f**k with the Gaga.
- Justin Bieber is actually The Antichrist who will bring about The End of the World as We Know It.
- Eminem is an Armored Closet Gay.
- Adele is actually a Stalker Without A Crush. She doesn't have romantic feelings for (the fictional) Tim Matthews anymore, but is titanically pissed at him for dumping her, so she begins stalking him, hiding under his bed at night, threatens to decapitate his new girlfriend, and manages to rally the entire population of Great Britain (even the Queen!) to help her stalk him and make his life miserable. In "Send My Love". she's cutting off her lover's body parts and sending them to his loved ones.
- And You Were There: The episode centering about the creation of the show ends with Mark saying this to his friends after waking up.
- Applied Phlebotinum: The show's creation was supposedly the result of freaky dreams caused by nachos the creator ate right before bed.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Cookie Muncher will sneak into your house, rape your daughters and steal your cookies.
- According to Taylor Swift, the curse of the Kennedy family gets worse with every century, the progression being "they got shot, his plane got lost, and this one's dating me!"
- Bitch Slap: On the receiving end of one from "Miley Cyrus" in the finale.note
- Bored with Insanity: Lady Gaga, as of the "Bored this Way" video.
- Boyfriend-Blocking Dad: The dad in "As Long As You Love Me", who spells it out in no uncertain terms even before he starts with the violence..."I have an unhealthy obsession with my daughter, so I don't want her to date until she's fifty."
- Butt-Monkey: Poor Katy Perry becomes one at the hands of Executive Meddling and Kanye West during the "ET" video.
- Justin Bieber's girlfriend in the "Mistletoe" parody.
- Casanova Wannabe: Pitbull in the "On the Floor" parody.
- Celebrity Endorsement: Katy Perry loves the show, according to this online interview: .
- Celebrities Hang Out in Heaven: "Some Things Are Still Awesome" shows David Bowie and Prince this way.
- Cloud Cuckoolander:
- Lady Gaga. When Donald Trump asks her opinion of who he should fire from The Celebrity Apprentice, Gaga responds by activating a machine that plays her voice, declaring that "Thermal clouds shatter the dreams of a thousand burrito-makers." The others in the room are absolutely clueless as to what this has to do with Trump's question.
- Carly Rae Jepsen.
- Continuity Nod: Anyone notice some Angry Birds in the "Someone Like You" parody? Lord Gaga who originally appeared in #6 in which he chopped his hand off has a cameo in #36 with a hook hand.
- Creepy Child: Justin Bieber in "Bieber Fever." In fact, the end of the video implies that he may very well be bringing about The End of the World as We Know It.
- Don't Explain the Joke: From "Twilight Sucks":"So wake me up ven the vorld grows a pair... of fangs! Ha, you thought I was going to say balls, didn't you?"
- Driven to Suicide: Katy Perry in "E.T."
- Dude, She's Like in a Coma: Eminem towards Dr. Dre.
- Ear Worm: Invoked when One Direction sings "Na na na na" multiple times.You'll wake up at night screaming, "na na na na!"
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Ke$ha accidentally causes one when she leads her fans in performing several of her songs at once.
- Everyone Has Standards: Frankenstein's monster is shown to be disgusted by how violent and gross modern movie monsters are in "Modern Monster Mash".
- Fan Disservice: Mark is somewhat cute, until he takes his shirt off...which is often.
- Feeling Their Age: Mark lampshades this in the finale video, saying that "compared to most Youtubers, I'm an old geezer!"
- The Four Chords of Pop: Lampshaded in the "Die Young" Ke$ha parodyJust play those four chords in that FloRida song, There used to be different hits now we recycle one.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: In "The Dark Knight Is Confused", the Joker's evil day planner (which contains, among other things, "Riddler's B'Day" and "Practice Pencil Trick").
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Tony in the Somebody That I Used To Know parody, who is kept around for three reasons: 1) he can drive the manual van, 2) he can do the "plinky noise", and 3) they need to keep an eye on him lest he keep stealing and selling their stuff.
- Gory Discretion Shot: In "Modern Monster Mash", most of the violent antics of the modern monsters are off-screen, only showing the classic monster's appalled and horrified reactions, though we do see Michael Meyers behead the Wolf Man.
- Grand Finale: "The Last Key Of Awesome". Frank convinces Mark to make it a big one.
- G-Rated Drug: In “Lady Gaga and Lord Gaga!” instead of being force-fed champagne like in “Bad Romance”, Lord Gaga is fed a brownie.
- Heel Realisation: Mark comedically acknowledges that he's probably pissed off everyone in the music industry in the finale.
- Hypnotic Eyes: The reason behind Justin Bieber's success.
- I'm a Humanitarian: In the "Give Me Everything" parody, Ne-Yo ate the woman he was stuck in the elevator with…in presumably less than a few minutes.
- The Internet Is for Cats: The very first video is "Heavy Metal Cats" poking fun at this trend.
- Kawaiiko: Genderflipped with their version of Justin Bieber. "I'm made of cupcakes, icecream and flowers!"
- Ken Doll Anatomy: Mark is suggested to have this by the Girls of Awesome in the finale video.
- Large Ham: The guy that plays Abuela in "Havana" is called out for overacting, despite calling other people in the video "extra".
- Major Injury Underreaction: A No-Holds-Barred Beatdown doesn't illicit much of a reaction from Justin Bieber, who mostly just keeps singing about his injuries as they happen. The closest it gets to a normal response is instances of quick blows making his singing stutter.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Despite portraying a self-absorbed, distant misogynist, The Weeknd is a part-time pastor and a loving boyfriend who enjoys spending time with his girlfriend's grandmother. He does engage in drug use, though his girlfriend isn't shown to have a problem with it.
- Mondegreen Gag: Invoked: "Da Key of Awesoooome!" is "sung" by a rubber duckie.
- Monster Mash: The Trope Namer song is parodied in the video "Modern Monster Mash", where Frankenstein's monster tries to form a gathering with modern monsters involved, but is appalled by the violent and gross tendencies of Hannibal Lecter, Jigsaw, Michael Meyers, Jason Voorhees, Leatherface, Freddy Krueger, and The Human Centipede. Frankenstein's monster tries to get them to dance instead of being violent after watching Michael Meyers behead the Wolf Man, but that also ends in disaster when he ends up killed by Samara.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Justin Bieber is on the receiving end courtesy of his girlfriend's Boyfriend-Blocking Dad. It opens with a Groin Attack, descends into Car Fu and An Arm and a Leg, gets less conventional with thumb-tacks and a jackhammer, and finally ends with decapitation.
- Older Than They Think: Sometimes, if the song parodied sounds similar to an older tune, the singer lampshades it by singing a part of the older piece. In universe, One Direction couldn't tolerate Mark trying this out with one of their songs.
- Only Sane Man: Will.i.am is the Only Sane Man among The Black Eyed Peas in the parody about them.
- Katy Perry in "E.T". She is Driven to Suicide by her exploitation and the music industry commercialising everything.
- Stasia becomes the only Barely Political member in the "One Thing" parody who doesn't take a shine to any 2010s boy bands.
- Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: A line in their Star Wars-themed parody of "Starboy".Wait is this a long pink lightsaber
Or am I just really happy to see ya?
- Or Was It a Dream?: "The Origin of Awesome"—"Lady Gaga" turns her head around and her eyes dilate, à la "Thriller", complete with the Vincent Price evil laugh.
- Periphery Demographic: In universe, Mark became a fan of One Direction, until he realized their music sounds similar to that of the Backstreet Boys and nearly got killed by One Direction for discovering this. Later, Todd becomes a fan of The Wanted.
- Potty Emergency: Justin Timberlake, along with the cast and crew involved in "Can't Stop the Feeling", suffer this when Pharell puts laxatives in their coffees as revenge for copying his song "Happy".
- Product Placement: Pointed out in their parodies of "Telephone" ("P-p-p-p-p-p-p-product placement!") and "Give Me Everything" ("Capture that with a Polaroid/Just take it and shake it/Wait, they no longer make it?/Then try Preparation H for your hemorrhoids/Just made a million on that").
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Played for laughs in the parody of Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" when the Swift character tries to use Voodoo against her ex, blows up his mom and threatens to dismember her current beau if he ever dumps her.
- Refuge in Audacity: The "Firework" parody has Katy Perry encourage random men not to suppress their Raging Stiffies, but instead proudly show them off to those watching. Pyrotechnics emerge from their crotches as they do so.
- Rule of Cool: At the end of Commissioner Gordon's Title Drop speech: "'What's that even mean, Dad?'" "'I don't know, son, but it sure sounds cool.'" Not to mention, the page quote.
- Also used in the Justin Bieber parody: "Let's go to my dad's car and make the windows steam. I really hope that sounded cool 'cause I dont know what it means."
- Running Gag: Nuns.
- Bearded nuns.
- The Bearded Nun, sadly, is gone, due to the man who played him/her moving to England.
- The Gnomes.
- Bearded nuns.
- Rhyming with Itself: The "Telephone" parody rhymes "bastard" with itself. This is intentional, since Beyoncé was guilty of it in the original song.
- Satellite Character: In The Black Eyed Peas parody, Apl brags that his entire role in the band is to be a clone of Will I. Am.
- Self-Deprecation: The "Moves Like Jagger" parody has Mark sing about his being overweight, and Todd about his lack of muscle.
- Serious Business: "It's Trick-or-Treat or Die!"
- In "Adele PARODY ft. Angry Birds", when Adele starts becoming one of the Angry Birds, there's a reference to Black Swan when she takes a huge black feather out from her back.
- In "Moves Like Jagger - Behind the Awesome," Mark imitates the voice of the Sauce Boss while filming the scene of him pigging out on burritos and nachos. They also throw up a calorie counter on the screen.
- In "My Drunk Kitchen of Awesome! Ho Hey!" the song's lyrics make reference to Freddie Wong (and collaborator Brandon), with each instance accompanied by a picture note .
- Staging an Intervention: Played for Laughs in the parody of Kesha's song Tik-Tok called "Glitter Puke" when it it is revealed that her drunken slut persona is actually just an act enforced by her record contract.
- Starving Artist: The band in the Somebody That I Used To Know parody, who are completely broke and will be splitting a candy bar for dinner.
- Stealth Pun: From the "Dark Horse" parody:You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink
You can lead a horticulture,note but you can't make her think
- Stylistic Suck: Inevitable at times, with the low-budget production values.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion:
- From "The Dark Knight Is Confused": ''Joker, are you busy/Let's call a truce/I need you to help explain the plot to... Batman."
- "California Gurls": 'Nose jobs, tummy tucks/These are the girls I like to—hang out with.'
- "Work": "I went on your wild goose chase, now you need to sit on my-lap."
- Take That!: To an extent, all the spoofs, but the "Emo Vampire Song" does this especially, being sung as a tirade against Twilight by an angry "old-school" vampire.
- The "Telephone" parody heavily lampshades the Surreal Music Video that has next to nothing to do with the lyrics.
- Another notable one is the Glee parody, courtesy of Michael Jackson's ghost.
- There are also plenty of Take Thats at Eminem. "Afraid" calls him out for being a Jerkass, and in the "Love the Way You Lie" spoof, he tells Rihanna "I dressed up as Weasley and you were Hermione...you said you had spells that could make me less whiny!"
- Their Problem parody is another particularly ruthless ones, featuring a lot of ruthless hits on Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea, from mocking their vocal ability to their TV history to their highly divisive personalities (and Ariana's rumored Bitch in Sheep's Clothing persona)
- The Tetris Effect: In "Adele PARODY ft. Angry Birds", when Adele starts seeing the game in Real Life.
- Three-Point Landing: Space Girl does this while playing Portal, looking cool for a second before having an accidental discharge with her portal gun and falling through the floor.
- Timmy in a Well: After Ne-Yo gets trapped in an elevator, Lassie is the one who notifies Pitbull so he can be rescued in the "Give Me Everything" parody.
- Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Carly Rae Jepsen meets a guy named, "Doug" at the club, who makes out with her, then wakes up the next morning and finds out that she was actually a man in drag. He had too much vodka to realize this earlier.
- Viewers Are Morons: Ke$ha's fans perform the careless, drug-heavy behavior promoted in her songs and become dumb.
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Space Girl is presented with a Sadistic Choice by the evil Dr Brain. He's genetically engineered a fluffy animal designed to appeal to Space Girl's Cuteness Proximity, and wired it into the controls of his doomsday weapon. Will Space Girl sacrifice the cute creature to save an entire planet of hideous green farting aliens? To Be Continued...
- Woman Of A Thousand Voices: Tatiana Owens is a regular singer in the parodies, and she's voiced Taylor Swift, Shakira, Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea, and Meghan Trainor. This is highlighted in the BTS for their All About That Bass parody.
- Word Salad Lyrics:
- The "All About That Bass" parody has Meghan Trainor sing random phrases and other songs' titles until she decides what to write about.
- In ”Lady Gaga and Lord Gaga!” The two battle over their completely random antics which they discuss in the song. They even go as far as to Lampshade this in the chorus.If I love you and you love me
Then baby how can we go wrong
This chorus doesn’t have anything
To do with the rest of the song
- YouTuber Apology Parody: Their version of Paula Deen's video apologizing for using a racial slur has her apologizing for using the "n-word" (nutrition), while getting Onion Tears and reading her apology from a Mad Libs script.