Key & Peele has had many sketches over the years that comment on professional sports and how bizarre that world is, whether it's the commentators, the locker room culture, or the names of the players themselves. Season 5 premiered on Wednesday and they're at it again. The Key & Peele NFL sketch "Pre-Game Pump Up" is a fantastic look at sports fantasies and how we over-glorify sports figures.
In the sketch, two players get a little too excited during a huddle in the locker room. They start pushing each other around, and it gets progressively more violent. The scene quickly turns into a carousel of action movie tropes as the players don samurai swords and decoys with disposable phones to get the job done. Of course, while all of this is happening, they're repeating positive mantras about loving one another, "leaving it all on the field," and failure not being an option. It's an onslaught of catchphrases about teamwork juxtaposed with brutal violence. "We do what we was trained to do," Key's character says as he prepares to stab his teammate.
It's so great, because the way violence is seamlessly incorporated in the NFL and other professional sports leagues would make you believe that athletes are trained fighters on some kind of epic quest who are just doing what they've been programmed. With all the horrors that go on off the field, you would get the impression that this is life in the NFL. But, in reality, they're not fantastical action heroes. They're human beings like anyone else.
That said, this is a sketch comedy show, so the Key & Peele take is also very, very funny.
Image: Comedy Central (screengrab)