“Key & Peele” (the comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele) are considered the next generation of top black comedians (that’s a link to The New York Times endorsement). Their sketch comedy show on the American channel Comedy Central is supposed to take over from where Dave Chappelle left things when he went on vacation to Durban, South Africa. They’ve received the endorsement of Barack Obama (they’ve done sketches about Obama’s “anger translator” Luther which is really funny). In mainstream newspaper profiles they’re described as not treating “social issues with kid gloves,” “send(ing) up race, class and culture while holding the attention of a young, diverse demographic” and skewering black and white characters alike. Not everyone agrees. On Salon.com, Karina Richardson writes that “Key and Peele address (the) tension and frustration (in how the world sees black people and how black people see themselves) by juxtaposing black identities, their own and their characters’, with black caricatures in popular culture.” However, she claims, “the show’s largest flaw is its preoccupation with translating a particular black experience for liberal white sensibilities. Its eagerness to avoid offense hangs over every tepid sketch about race, sketches already laboring under excessive gentleness and lack of imagination. In each sketch black people are impeded by their own blackness, or more specifically black men cling to an idea of black masculinity, one that Key and Peele suggest is a needless performance.” Anyway, they’ve just scored a second season. Which is a good way to introduce the sketch above. Not sure I find this sketch–with its bad accents–funny (my post from a while ago refers). But maybe that’s the point?

Further Reading

No more caricatures

Engaging seriously with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life could help us understand how South Africa got where it is and where it’s going.