It’s been quite some time since The Chappelle Show went off the air, and it would appear Comedy Central has finally found its replacement. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the two shows are on the same par, but what Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele bring to the small screen is something that has peaked my interest and shows some potential. Both Key and Peele got their big breaks from working on the sketch comedy show MADtv, and it would seem they are taking their talents and what they learned to bring us something that is a little familiar but still fresh, and keeps its audience laughing.
To be fair, though, the only endorsement the pair will ever take notice of is that of President Obama, who has actually seen their show and has publicly given it his approval. Not many sketch comedians can put that in their resume.
The bi-racial pair takes chances with their show, which is a hybrid of live bits in front of an audience and filmed sketches. Whether they are poking fun at slave trades, being hunted by the Nazis, or gangsters pooping their pants, Key and Peele manage to keep it entertaining.
Season One consists of eight episodes, each running a little over 20 minutes. As it expected there are some high and low points, but for the most part as the season progresses the sketches become funnier and more polished. The character of Luther, Obama’s anger translator, is easily their standout character. If the guys did an episode with nothing but Obama and Luther, I’m sure fans wouldn’t complain. My favorite bit, though, was a fake commercial about an app you can use to find out if you fit the criteria to use a certain offensive word. It’s short and simple, but this is just one of the many moments that showed me these guys are worth following.
The only real complaint I have with the show rests on the points where they are with the live audience. On the commentaries they discuss how a lot of this is unscripted, and it shows. Sure, they go out with a vague idea what they want to say and do, but it just doesn’t flow as nicely as we’ve seen before when Dave Chappelle would do his show. The bright side is that the guys have time to hopefully work on this, and with time maybe things will jell better.
Key & Peele is presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC MPEG-4 codec at an average of 28 MBPS. For a sketch comedy show this doesn’t look bad, but great wouldn’t be a word I’d ever use to describe this. When they are up on stage in front of the audience, the image is sharp and clear where we get a lot of detail. But as this gets into sketches, it seems the darker it gets the flatter the image gets. Not much shadow definition, and there are some banding issues, but nothing major. The image serves for what they are trying to accomplish and nothing more.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is nice here, if not a little more than needed. For the moments where they are live with the audience, we are given clear audio. The audience applause and cheers are there, but it never gets distracting. During the sketches we get a few moments where we might catch some ambient noise, but everything is relatively minimal and serves the Blu-Ray release nicely.
Audio Commentaries: There are four commentaries on the disc, and each of them are filled with extra bits of information about where they filmed certain sketches to the actors and extras we see throughout the episodes. They have a good rapport, as you would expect the duo to have, and there is never a dull moment.
Outtakes: (6:57) a collection of moments as Key and Peele flub their lines and break character. It’s amusing but could have been a little shorter.
Poolside Interview: (4:34) A staged interview where Comedy Central used to help promote the film to help give audiences a little taste of what to expect from them.
More from Luther, Obama’s Anger Translator: A collection of clips that unfortunately there is no play-all button for. The highlight of the bonus section is my personal favorite involving Obama receiving a call from Michelle and Luther “helping” Obama out.
Live at the South Beach Comedy Festival: (4:08) Two segments. Backstage gives us a glimpse of the duo and how they prepare for their act moments before going on stage. Split Their Pants is a interview the pair do with Jeff Ross discussing a moment in their performance when the two simultaneously had their pants rip on stage during a bit.
I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I first put this Blu-ray in, but it was a welcomed surprise how much I enjoyed this. It might get offensive at times, but nothing too bad. It’s good for more than a few laughs and easily has some bits worth re-watching. Definitely something to check out.
Film:***1/2 Video:*** Audio:*** Over All:***1/2