6 Reasons 'Key & Peele' Deserves To Win The Emmy For Outstanding Variety Series
When Key & Peele got canceled in late July, I was deeply saddened. The Comedy Central sketch show from Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele is one of the best, most biting, and most creative programs on TV, and it looks like the world just wasn't ready to fully appreciate their genius. The duo told The Wrap that ultimately, the end of Key & Peele didn't mean the end of their partnership in their career, and they were happy for the chance to move on: "It was just time for us to explore other things, together and apart. I compare it to Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. We might make a movie and then do our own thing for three years and then come back and do another movie," Key said. But that's POPPYCOCK, because a show like Key & Peele is as rare as they come, and I feel betrayed by its going off the air. A small consolation, though: Key & Peele is nominated for several total Emmy awards, among them the big prize for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series, and they more than deserve to win.
Their nominations also include nods for Key in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category (though oddly, Peele was not nominated, but he wasn't too bummed). I can't say exactly why Key & Peele's show has been so underrated in its five seasons, but they've been steadily pushing the envelope for years. Here are six reasons why Key & Peele deserves the big win for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series at the 2015 Emmy Awards.
1. They Take Risks
Key & Peele is a show that has gone places no show could go before. The duo tackles issues of race relations in America especially deftly, and their most notorious and arguably most genius example of that is "Obama's anger translator" Luther, who voices the president's stream-of-consciousness when he just gets fed up but has to reign it in for his public image. Luther, played by Key, even made an appearance with the POTUS himself at the 2015 White House Correspondents Dinner. It's this kind of subversive comedy — that is not only hilarious, but encapsulates so uniquely the problem with respectability politics for an African-American president — that deserves an Emmy Award.
2. Their Comedy Is Not Only Genius, It's Smart
Though they are great in all of their sketches, Key and Peele really shine in their topical, more political bits. One of the best was their recent bit from Season 5, celebrating teachers in a spoof on SportsCenter called TeachingCenter, and asking, "What would it be like if we treated our educators with the same idolatry and heroism that we do our athletes?" And making the audience wonder, "Why DON'T we do that?" The conversation about the state of public American education needs help from all sides, and Key and Peele did a service by offering such a prescient parody and engaging awareness of the problems with underpaid and overworked teachers. We need more political, comedic mouthpieces, especially now with the chasm Jon Stewart has left in the satirical, political news world.
3. It's Their Last Chance
Tragically, the current season of Key & Peele the show's last. Season 5 ends in September, which is NEXT MONTH. Emmys, don't let Key & Peele become another amazingly underrated comedy show that never got the recognition it deserved — especially since you've nominated them for seven total awards this year.
4. It Would Be Good For The Duo and For The Emmys
It's no secret that the Emmys have an image problem. In fact, in giving grades to all of the major awards show for how they recognize diversity, the Emmys came in last. Not only is Key & Peele a show that deserves all the awards it's up for because of what it has done to open conversations about race, but the Emmys needs five more awards to actors, writers, and others in the industry that are people of color.
5. They've Got Plenty Of Awards In The Past
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele's show is highly critically acclaimed, even though they haven't won an Emmy thus far. But honestly, Emmy Schmemmy — the two of them have racked up some impressive nominations, and won a Peabody Award in 2013 "for its stars and their creative team’s inspired satirical riffs on our racially divided and racially conjoined culture." An Emmy is well-deserved, and the sketch show has so far garnered in its five seasons a total of 10 nominations. This best be their year.
6. They Are Hilarious
Even in some zany, alternate reality where there might be a possibility that comedy existed in a vacuum, Key & Peele would still be the funniest show in the Outstanding Sketch Program category. Regardless of their contributions to a conversation about the difference between white and black culture in America, Key & Peele is tight, smartly written, creative, and surprising. With so many outlets now for new programming, namely streaming services, Key & Peele continues to deliver, on a cable network, a show that is controversial and hilarious. And if you don't believe me, have you seen the Family Matters sketch?
But, really, Key & Peele deserves the Emmy for being truly outstanding, simple as that. When accepting their Peabody Award, Key gave a shoutout to their network: "We'd like to thank Comedy Central for allowing us to show the African-American experience as not a monolith." It's high time the Emmys recognize the gravity and importance of that contribution to comedy and to television.