Key & Peele and Charged Humor

From this weeks Key & Peele viewings, I would like to think about the concept of charged humor. Key & Peele use charged humor to point out the absurdity in politics. For example, in the “Obama’s Anger Translator” clip, what appeared as simple jokes (and was taken as such) was, for the most part, harsh realities. Yes, climate change is a huge issue. Why is this group of affluent white people just chuckling about it, rather than being horrified by the realities that are being laid in front of them?

I’m concerned that, when it comes to Key & Peele (as well as SNL and other groups who participate in charge humor) and their handling of politics and humor, the jokes are taken as merely that: just jokes. That, when standing in front of a crowd like the Correspondents dinner, they go over the crowds head. If it did work, I think it is only because the moment is unsuspecting, when the audience has no idea what is coming.

We have discussed multiple times of comedy “preaching to the choir” when the audience is those who already “get it.” I think Key & Peele are especially significant in comedy, because of their ability to point out the obvious. However, the people who should be witnessing this aren’t. Clips like “Hoodie” could be a teaching moment, rather than just being a grim reminder to those of us who understand the significance of the joke.


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