We caught up with the boundary-pushing comedy duo Key and Peele at the Salute to Comedy Central at this year’s Paleyfest. They had a lot to say about women in comedy and why political satire is important.
You may remember Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele from their years on Mad TV, but now they’re starring in the fifth season of their hit sketch show Key and Peele. Both comedians are highly intelligent and love to break the rules every chance they get. It’s their sharp wit and willingness to tackle controversial topics such as President Obama and jihadists that make them stand out.
We spoke to the duo on the red carpet of Paleyfest’s Salute to Comedy Central in Hollywood. We asked the pair why Dakota Johnson got called out for doing an SNL sketch about joining ISIS when Key and Peele satirize terrorism all the time. Though they’re not sure why Johnson got so battered in the media, Key commended Johnson’s bravery and thinks addressing these difficult topics through comedy is very important — but it can also be tricky.
“Everybody processes information differently. Some people need that kind of edgy comedy as a salve, and other people are never going to get the joke. Some people still say, ‘You can’t tell a joke about Kennedy.’ That’s one of the comedy rules — no jokes about Kennedy, ever.”
But Key also thinks that some audiences really appreciate looking at such an intense topic from another point of view. “Some people can say, ‘Oh, I never thought about looking at it that other way. The terrorists are misled, deranged, but what’s weird is that they are humans,'” said Key, before making a quick aside about how he’s probably going to get grief for calling terrorists “human.” He clarified his statement.
“Well, they do have an endocrine system and cerebellums, so they’re actually humans, but that’s not anything anyone’s thinking about. My hope would be that the people who can get something from [this type of comedy] do — other people, the moment they’re being offended, they should just walk away and find another way to deal with this scourge that’s come into our world.”
With their comedy career on the rise, we had to ask Key and Peele when they think we’ll see a woman host a late-night talk show.
“If it were up to me, it would be yesterday,” said Key. He continued, “I think somehow, and I hate to say it, but it’s monetary. When networks stop saying women don’t make them as much money — but they are making them as much money! The networks just aren’t paying them as much money. But someone has got to figure out women are making them as much money. So, it’s prejudice.”
We can only say that we wholeheartedly agree.
You can catch Key and Peele on Comedy Central.