The Best Joint Key & Peele Appearances That Weren’t in ‘Key & Peele’
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s friendship transcends genres, mediums and even this mortal realm, considering they play stop-motion demons in their latest collaboration. That said, their collaborations have become more infrequent due to one of them being an acclaimed horror director and the other having the supreme honor of playing Mario’s talking mushroom friend. So let's look back at joint appearances that weren’t in Key & Peele and rate them by Key & Peele-ness. Starting with...
Get Out (2017)
As a psychological horror movie, Get Out is very good. As social commentary on 21st-century race relations in the U.S., it might be even better. But as a Key and Peele product? 0/10, sorry. They aren’t even in the same scene. Peele voices a dying deer (see above) while Keegan supposedly appears as one of the Black people who show up in Rose’s laptop when she Bings “NCAA prospects,” according to IMDb, although this cameo has never been confirmed by either of them. (Side note: the protagonist probably should have realized his girlfriend was a dangerous psychopath when he learned she’s the one person on the planet using Bing.)
Once again, they don’t even interact in this movie: Peele plays a member of a hippie commune while Key is an HBO exec who rejects Jennifer Aniston’s R-rated penguin documentary. (Explicit language aimed at penguins in the clip below.)
However, I’m ranking this above Get Out because that car pond scene is pretty funny. I honestly wouldn’t have minded if Key & Peele had stretched that one joke into a five-minute bit.
Toy Story 4 (2019)
The duo joined the wholesome world of Pixar as adorable stuffed animals who beat up Buzz Lightyear for no reason (it’s not like they know he’s played by Tim Allen), who later reveal their elaborate plan to stalk and terrorize an old woman. So, while they’re finally together on screen at the same time, I’m giving this one a relatively low ranking because it’s just too nasty.
Wendell & Wild (2022)
If Key & Peele was about demon siblings trying to manipulate an orphaned juvenile delinquent into Beetlejuice-ing their way into the land of the living and was done using stop-motion animation by the guy from The Nightmare Before Christmas, it would look a lot like this. It’s not, though, so I’m ranking this inventive film at #7.
Key is the alpha, while Peele is the beta in a pack of wolves who decide they can’t eat a baby because it’s just too adorable. Instead, they downgrade their intended crime from baby murder to simple kidnapping. They’re still planning to kill the baby’s friends, though. It’s much funnier than it sounds, and I could see it as a Key & Peele sketch if they’d done it in furry costumes instead of via animation.
Key and Peele have some pretty Key & Peele-esque moments when they play FBI Agents Key and Peele in the first season of Fargo. (Okay, those aren’t really their names in the show, but they might as well be.) For starters, they let Billy Bob Thornton kill like 20 people because they were distracted while arguing about lunch. I have to admit, however, that “Key and Peele get shot in the head and die in the snow without a punchline” would be a pretty weak idea for a sketch.
Still, it’s a huge missed opportunity that this show didn’t cast them as different Keys and Peeles from across the decades in each season, let alone go through the effort of deepfaking them into the original Coen Brothers movie. A shame.
Rick and Morty’s ‘A Rickle in Time’ (2015)
The Season Two episode “A Rickle in Time” (the one with the splitting timelines) features Key and Peele as giant-testicle-shaped time cops from the fourth dimension who try to arrest Rick for messing with time crystals. Rick, of course, evades them, and when they try to get their revenge on him, they end up beating Albert Einstein’s ass instead. Honestly, I’m surprised there wasn’t a “beating Albert Einstein’s ass” sketch in Key & Peele already.
At its best, MADtv was actually Key & Peele & A Bunch of Other People. At its worst, it was Saturday Night Live with Crappier Production Values. Key and Peele’s sketches in MADtv are much more hit-and-miss than in their own show, and some of them have a distinct “Hey, the episode’s running short, can anyone do whatever for six minutes?” feel to them, but as the Good Morning, Miss Bliss to Key & Peele’s Saved by the Bell it still deserves a spot in the top three.
Epic Rap Battles of History (2013)
Key & Peele had a number of rap battle-themed sketches, and they helped write their ERB appearances while actively working on the show, so these are pretty much honorary webisodes. They haven’t appeared in the series since 2013, but it would be cool if they returned one day for the ultimate rap battle: Key (played by Peele) versus Peele (played by Key).
Keanu, the story of two suburban cousins posing as gangsters in order to retrieve their adorable kitty cat, is basically one long Key & Peele sketch with no ad breaks. Being longer means it actually has room for stuff like character development, dramatic stakes, and of course, George Michael appreciation. The three keys to any successful narrative, according to Aristotle.
Keanu’s greatest achievement is that it makes us wonder about the lives and hidden dramatic potential of some of their sketch characters. Does Star Magic Jackson Jr. from the Gremlins 2 sketch do anything outside of being a sequel doctor? What would their “President Obama” character be like if he was real? The possibilities are endless.
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