Key & Peele Master Texting Gone Wrong

The Key & Peele web series is the best thing to have ever happened to the Internet, and yes I’ve heard of online shopping and of course I know what Nick Reboot is. If you’re unfamiliar: Keegan Key and Jordan Peele, who used to rule MADtv once upon a time, have their own show on Comedy Central called Key & Peele. To accompany their show, Key and Peele upload three to five minute webisodes, and they’re awesome. Key and Peele have covered topics such as: the ghost of the continental breakfast, homophobia in the office, aliens, Hitler (guest starring the endlessly wonderful Ty Burrell as Hitler), and a bunch more you should totally check them out immediately.

Their latest sketch, “Text Conversation,” is brilliant and hilarious per usual. The scene opens with a very flustered Key, who is anger-texting Peele: “I’ve been trying to reach out to you all day. Are we on for tonight?” Peele, who has been playing video games all day, is very blasé about the text, not realizing his unresponsiveness has been driving Key insane. “Sorry dude. Missed your texts. I assumed we’d meet at the bar. Whatever, I don’t care,” Peele types back, nonchalantly. Since our words sometimes don’t translate very well over text, Key receives this message, and is profoundly hurt. "‘WHATEVER I DON’T CARE?’” Key says, reciting the text message aloud in a totally different tone than Peele intended. This hysterically goes on, with Peele sending seemingly innocuous texts, and Key taking them the wrong way.

This sort of text messages lost in translation is obviously painfully relatable. Until technology allows us to imbed our voices into text messages (wait – voicemail? Whatever, not doing it), we will all continue to experience needless texting drama. There are just some moods which do not translate over text, such as:

1. Sleepiness

Example: “Hi, can you just grab me coffee?”

The lack of punctuation and the word choice of “hi” instead of a more amiable “hey!” makes it seem like this texter is being rude. When in fact they just have not consumed coffee.

2. Sarcasm

Example: “I hate you.”

I don't. But you will wonder.

3. Being really pissed, but trying to be cool about it so that the person you’re texting still gets that you’re pissed

Example: “I guess you can just go out with your friends, that’s okay.”

Like, clearly you are PISSED OFF that this person is flaking out on your plans, but you don’t want to be overly zealous with your feelings, because maybe this is a new relationship or whatever. This message does come off as sounding like you don’t really care. “I guess” is the only hint that you may actually not be okay with the subject going out with his friends, but it's very tricky.

4. Being professional

Example: "Please be here by 8am."

This sounds terribly alarming, doesn’t it? I would not want this message from my boss, because the “please” almost implies that they assume you will be late, and therefore already think less of your work ethic. The sentence is curt and void of any emotion or flowery adjectives. In reality, your boss really just wants you there by 8am and maybe they just don’t have the time to send a more verbose text.

5. Being busy

Example: "k"

If there is a more maddening text to receive, I've yet to encounter it. There is something very daunting about this brevity. Maybe this person is pissed, too furious to even type out "okay". Or maybe they've just got a lot going on and doing feel like spending more than two seconds sending a text message.

I think we can all agree that texting is hard and invites overanalyzing, anxiety, and stress. You could just do what our ancestors did: call them.

Image: Getty Images