It’s been almost a year since Key & Peele went off the air and the show’s impact is still being felt as the show’s stars, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, branch out alone and together toward new challenges, including the team’s first starring feature film venture, Keanu, and the Mike Birbiglia film Don’t Think Twice, in which Key plays a major role. The series, recently collected in the DVD box set Key & Peele: The Complete Series, is still missed, however, particularly in an election year when so many issues seem ripe for commentary. We asked Key about watching this wild campaign from the sidelines, the challenge of working as a part of a comedy duo, his efforts to take on more dramatic work, and whether Key & Peele will ever return as a sketch show.
Do you feel a push to weigh in on everything that’s going on right now through the lens of comedy and satire in the way that Key & Peele did? Did you anticipate that when you decided to end the show?
I did not anticipate it when we decided to end the show. I think people… not in regards to the political realm. When we ended the show, there were people who were like, “What! Oh no, you guys make us laugh!” Recently, there has been a little more, “Boy we really need Luther, we really need Luther,” and I’m going “We really need Luther for what exactly?”
Because, I think some of the behavior we’re seeing is so… It’s so egregious and so obvious, in my opinion, that there’s nothing that you need. Everybody’s outrage is already on Twitter. [Laughs.] We saw Jon Stewart went on a tirade the other night. But we’ve seen all of that already. I’m not sure how Luther would do it better. The general public is doing it already.
So, there has been a little bit of a push, but the thing is also, from a completely comedic standpoint — and I’m not even speaking about the social component — I don’t know that there’s anything Jordan and I could manufacture that would be more ridiculous than what we’re seeing already.
So, I’m not sure how we would go about making it… Though, that of course, would be a delicious challenge. I would be remiss if I said I don’t miss it at all. It would be fun to sit down and put our heads together, maybe say, “Hmmm, what would the take on this be? What would the twist be?” So, yeah there is a little tug, a little pull of saying, “What would we do?” If he and I were to sit down in a room together and discuss it.
Does it concern you that we’re at a point where it is so obvious what’s going on that it’s very hard to satirize? Like you said, it’s so silly right now. Is there a concern that we’re all so aware of it and yet it’s still charging ahead?
It is frustrating. Comedically, where would I find the nuance? In my mind right now, actually in my mind, thinking about would the sketch be? What would it be? From a personal point of view, I’m going, “I don’t understand what…” Because I’m operating from a place, I think quite a few Americans are operating from a place where we’re trying to be rational. We’re trying to be logical. I think it’s not too much to ask a candidate what they’re actually practically thinking about doing.
I think one of the more interesting chapters of this political cycle is going to be the debate. I’m really looking forward to the debate. Maybe you should call me back, and ask me the first question again after the debates are done. Probably then I’ll really get into it. Then I’ll be able to weigh in other than via Twitter. It’s just… I really am baffled. But if you were to ask somebody who was all the way to the right, they might say that they’re baffled that anybody would vote for Hillary. So, you know, comme ci, comme ça.