Key and Peele has been off the air since September of last year and I haven’t quite accepted it yet. It’s still in re-runs on Comedy Central and I can watch the vast majority of their sketches online but it’s a hard pill to swallow that no more full episodes of Key and Peele will be forthcoming.
In the absence of new episodes, I’ve had the opportunity to watch, re-watch, memorize, and, most importantly, categorize all of my favorite Key and Peele sketches. Since their movie Keanu is coming out this Friday, I wanted to dedicate some posts this week to Key and Peele. I’ll probably repeat some sketches but, well, just deal with it.
Keegan-Michael Key is slightly older than I am but Jordan Peele and I are pretty close in age, in that generational no-man’s land at the tail end of Generation X. A few of their sketches nail some of the weird pop culture phenomena from my childhood.
Mr. T PSA
Mr. T occupies an odd space in my memory in that – pop-culturally – he has no beginning and no end. He just sort of existed in the eighties. Apparently Sylvester Stallone thought he’d be a good fit for Rocky III. In that movie he said, “I pity the fool” and the rest is history. B.A Baracus in the A-Team, Diff’rent Strokes, that “You Look Mahvelous” sketch on SNL, sometime pal of Nancy Reagan, but above all, he was a deliverer of important messages.
Voltron was my first exposure to the primary colored team of futuristic crime fighting superheroes which then gave way to Power Rangers. Perhaps this one isn’t a generational thing but it gives me that Saturday Morning cartoon vibe from childhood, complete with the screeching Power Falcons theme song.
Strike Force Eagle 3
This, kids, is a parody of what is known as a Skinemax flick. In a world before ubiquitous porn, the Skinemax flick aired on Cinemax on weekend nights, after parents went to bed, giving its viewers the illusion that they were getting away with something. The Skinemax movie is essentially a delivery method for boob scenes. This particular variety of Skinemax was the dressed up cheesy action flick that often featured Shannon Tweed as the protagonist’s love interest with whom he would have a steamy love scene in the first fifteen minutes of the movie. My hat is off to the genius who originated the technique of the early love scene that then hooked pubescent boys into watching the whole movie. This sketch is eerily accurate.
I never really thought much about the artistic integrity of Reginald VelJohnson. (Did he really do True West with Sherman Helmsley?) I just figured he liked playing cops. I remember Family Matters, a linchpin in ABC’s Friday Night that also included, at times, Mr. Belvederem, Perfect Strangers, and Step by Step, ostensibly a vehicle for Suzanne Summers and Patrick Duffy but really only held my interest because of Staci Keanan from My Two Dads (there is far too much knowledge of crap television occupying my brain). And yes, it’s true, Family Matters disintegrated into an Urkle-fest. I don’t remember half of these plots but I don’t doubt they exist. Sometimes all you need for comedy is a literal list of what happened (see below). I’ll always love this sketch for turning one of the lightest sitcoms in history into a Lynchian nightmare and for Jordan Peele’s delivery of the line, “Gene, Gene, Gene, what’s become of you, Gene?”
“Gremlins 2” Brainstorm
This one. This one right here. I rode my bike to Pittsford Plaza twice to see Gremlins 2 in the theater (and I bought tickets for it to sneak into R rated movies two more times). Who on earth remembers Gremlins 2 besides me and a few of my friends? Key and Peele, apparently. I loved all the different gremlins when I was thirteen but not having thought about this movie in twenty-five years makes me realize that, yeah, you have to be thirteen to like them… or a flamboyant sequel doctor. There’s something that warms my heart about picturing a writer’s pitch meeting where they just say, “guys, remember how dumb all of the gremlins in Gremlins 2 were?”