Explore ‘Key & Peele’ duo Keegan-Michael Key and wife Elle Key’s award-winning podcast turned captivating book!
Keegan-Michael Key’s New Book, ‘The History of Sketch Comedy’
Keegan-Michael Key and Elle Key are well-versed in the key characteristics of successful sketch comedy, and they wouldn’t hesitate to point out that lines like the one mentioned don’t meet the standards.
Keegan-Michael Key, known as one half of the renowned “Key & Peele” comedy duo, and his wife Elle Key, a writer, director, and producer, have skillfully transformed their award-winning podcast, “The History of Sketch Comedy,” into an entertaining and enlightening new book.
“The History of Sketch Comedy: A Journey Through the Art and Craft of Humor” delves into the evolution of this comedic art form, tracing its roots back hundreds of years to its contemporary expressions, including iconic shows like “Saturday Night Live” and “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” among others.
Within the book, the authors skillfully deconstruct some of the most notable examples in the medium of sketch comedy. The Keys offer transcripts of these classics, including “The Argument” from the “Monty Python” troupe. In the midst of the banter between Michael Palin and John Cleese, Keegan-Michael Key interjects from time to time, humorously remarking, “It’s so stupid,” with the term “stupid” here meaning genuinely awesome.
This is where the book truly shines because it’s evident that the Keys possess a deep love and appreciation for the art and science behind a well-executed sketch. They emphasize that a good sketch requires key elements: well-defined characters, a solid premise, and some form of comedic escalation or heightening.
One particular highlight is Keegan-Michael Key’s analysis of the renowned “Substitute Teacher” sketch from “Key & Peele,” which has amassed over 215 million views on YouTube. Reading about Key’s portrayal of Mr. Garvey and his comical struggles with names (A-A-Ron!) is downright hilarious. Discovering how he and Jordan Peele brought those three minutes of comedic brilliance to life is equally delightful.
“The History of Sketch Comedy” doesn’t just rely on the insights of its authors; it also includes essays from comedic giants and, in some instances, well-known fans of the genre. These luminaries include Jordan Peele, Mel Brooks, Carol Burnett, Jim Carrey, Stephen Colbert, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ken Jeong, Mike Myers, Gary Oldman, and many more.
Readers of this book are likely to come away with a sense of having gained knowledge about the art of sketch comedy. Moreover, they can expect to find themselves laughing heartily as they delve into the content.