Biracial Comedy Central Stars Struggle to Find Humor in Obama's Calm, Smooth 'Competence'

Comedy Central is wrapping up the third season of “Key & Peele,” a sketch comedy show with Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, both veterans of “Mad TV” on Fox. Marisa Guthrie at The Hollywood Reporter asked about how they came up with their skit about Obama and “Luther the Anger Translator,” who expresses the anger Obama’s suppressing.

Key explained “We were trying to solve a comedic problem: How do you make fun of this man who is calm, reasonable, smooth, levelheaded, competent? Of course, we hoped it would be successful, but I don't know that we ever thought that he'd ever see it. What a gift for us to have actual confirmation.”

Obama has told them he’s a fan and he needs his own Luther. The two biracial comedians come by their sympathy for Obama in part because of similar family backgrounds with black fathers and white mothers:

“We both had similar experiences of going to school and having other students be like, 'That's not your mom,' " recalls Peele. Adds Key: "Being biracial, we have been acting since we were born to fit in in any given situation. That's our story. And for the president of the United States to share our story, it's kind of amazing."

PS: Guthrie also asked about how they get risque material past the Comedy Central censors. (Wait. Comedy Central has censors? That rein people in? Who would know?)

Peele answered: "The standards and practices, like anywhere, are sort of arbitrary and weird. We can get away with certain super-edgy things, and then if we have a little bit of butt crack, you know, they'll scrutinize that butt crack until we finally blur it. One of the joys of working with Comedy Central is at this point, they've had enough shows that have pushed the boundaries, so that now they're like, 'Go for it, fellas.'"

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis