Where There Ain’t No Pain, Ain’t No Sorrow
May 7, 2015 5:48 AM   Subscribe

"Negrotown" In the last forty-eight hours, American television comedy may have just delivered the greatest one-two punch of satire ever. First, we had Amy Shumer's brilliant sketch, "I2 Angry Men Inside Amy Shumer" on Tuesday night (previously, on Metafilter). And now, Key and Peele bring "Negrotown".

Key & Peele won’t return until July, but thankfully, the comedic duo known for their sharp takes on race have brought us some especially timely humor. Taking a cue from black-cast Hollywood musicals of the 1940s, they bring us a pristine, glorious world where “No white folks to cross the street in fear / No trigger-happy cops, or scared cashiers!” among many other small but not insignificant benefits.

The insane attention to detail in the choreography and lyrics makes this a particularly strong Key & Peele sketch.
posted by magstheaxe (42 comments total) 63 users marked this as a favorite


 
Holy shit - that was awesome. and sad. and sad...

Its like watching a beautiful train wreck. Social commentary shouldn't have to be so funny and uplifting and simultaneously reaffirm that justice doesn't exist because the farce people want to tell themselves isn't real.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:50 AM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


(text via)
posted by ChuraChura at 6:52 AM on May 7, 2015


"You mean Atlanta?"
posted by resurrexit at 6:55 AM on May 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


It made me sad (after making me laugh) but I want more of this. And of stuff like Schumer. More of these conversations happening, more changing the terms of the discussion, everywhere. Comedy is so good when it speaks truth to power.
posted by emjaybee at 6:56 AM on May 7, 2015 [23 favorites]


Damn.
posted by allthinky at 6:59 AM on May 7, 2015


Oh, you are.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:05 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Would be 1000% better with perfect rhymes and things that aren't misaccented. It's a cute idea, though, and poignant.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:12 AM on May 7, 2015


Oof. That was brutal.
posted by schmod at 7:26 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


The link to Cabin in the Sky was terrific. Thanks for that bit of history!
posted by not that girl at 7:29 AM on May 7, 2015


Jesus. The sketch is great, but even with 100% knowledge it was fiction, those first few minutes were a horrible punch in the gut. The plausibility, the inevitability, the routineness of the cop's actions - it wasn't real, but it might as well have been. It's chilling that no effort is required for the grimdark part of this satire. All you need is to show a minute or two of truth.
posted by synapse at 7:30 AM on May 7, 2015 [16 favorites]


Would be 1000% better with perfect rhymes and things that aren't misaccented. It's a cute idea, though, and poignant.

Yeah guys, shape up!
posted by shakespeherian at 7:35 AM on May 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


Would be 1000% better with perfect rhymes and things that aren't misaccented.

Disagree. And "cute idea" hit me as trivializing, I think.

I felt like those added to the hokey-corny optimism of the dream sequence, and thus the gut-punch of the frame.
posted by allthinky at 8:02 AM on May 7, 2015 [10 favorites]




What a powerful and heartbreaking piece. That the slavery-era dream of escape is still so prevalent speaks volumes.

Would be 1000% better with perfect rhymes and things that aren't misaccented. It's a cute idea, though, and poignant.

It makes me sad that this comment showed up.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:10 AM on May 7, 2015 [26 favorites]


MILITANT POETS CHASE KEY AND PEELE OFF OF TWITTER
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:14 AM on May 7, 2015 [27 favorites]


This song, in style and delivery, sounds to me like The Music Man and Oklahoma, where it's not about perfect rhymes necessarily but about an enthusiastic and welcoming folksiness. Like here we are, regular and mostly plain-spoken people, who love this place and happen to be singing in a musical.

I think it's awesome.
posted by zippy at 8:22 AM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


This is great; thanks for posting it.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:23 AM on May 7, 2015


It makes me sad that this comment showed up.

Well, okay, but if you're going to parody The Music Man, parody it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:41 AM on May 7, 2015


Well, okay, but if you're going to parody The Music Man, parody it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:41 AM on May 7

Whoosh.
posted by Chrischris at 9:07 AM on May 7, 2015 [27 favorites]


That was excellent. I just wish Comedy Central UK would start showing Key & Peele over here so I could watch the full shows in comfort from my sofa on a proper television screen. Come on, guys, if you can devote twelve hours a day to Friends re-runs and Two & A Half Men promos, you can find a hour for work of this quality.
posted by Paul Slade at 9:28 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


MILITANT POETS CHASE KEY AND PEELE OFF OF TWITTER

#ALL SCANSION AND RHYME SCHEMES MATTER
posted by resurrexit at 9:29 AM on May 7, 2015 [16 favorites]


This was absolutely brilliant work by K&P. Fantastic production values.

Thank you for FPPing this. When I saw it earlier elsewhere and wanted to bring it here but couldn't figure out how to frame it.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:30 AM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Are you seriously saying that the songwriting in this sketch is ruining it for you? I'm not a huge music theater fan but I daresay that some of the classic, untouchable works use some pretty sketchy slant pronunciation in service of the songs and no one complains. Its part of the charm. In this sketch, where the meaning is clearly the primary focus (rather than the music), I'd say it even helps to make the words stand out instead of having perfect rhymes that glide by unnoticed.

I usually cringe at comedy music (Like the two recent Amy Schumer song pastiches, which I couldn't finish because of the on-the-nose rhymes) but this is fucking amazing.
posted by kittensofthenight at 9:31 AM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I mean #notallmusictheater
posted by kittensofthenight at 9:31 AM on May 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


Wow, this was amazing and sad and funny and mind-blowing.

The "Oh, you are..." at the end was devastating.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:09 AM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


I think what's trivializing is acting like the only purpose of this comedy sketch is to give people their pat on the back for being on the right side of an issue, barring any discussion of its actual comedic or parodic execution

I'll bet K&P were hoping people would laugh, not just solemnly throw their hands to sky and wail "when will it end?!"
posted by anazgnos at 10:13 AM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Golden age of sketch comedy.

The thing about both Schumer and Key and Peele is their sketches land. Most of the time, the endings are perfect. Not always funny, but always on point and earned.

The ending of this sketch lands like Kerri Strug at the Olympics. It hurts to watch but it wins the gold. It's just brilliant.

In terms of quality, this is easily the best musical theater sketch since Porcupine Racetrack. Typically of Key and Peele, every shot is meticulously thought out and choreographed. They and their team are experts at world building and telling the story through pictures. It's not just that last line that is crushing. Watch those final few images.

Really we're so lucky to be alive while Key and Peele and Inside Amy Schumer are being made. I don't think that's hyperbole.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:23 AM on May 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


The STFU lines were a really nice touch.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:32 AM on May 7, 2015


Wow, that was excellent. NOICE, even!

(Speaking of Porcupine Racetrack, Wil Wheaton tweeted those words the other day and I was so depressed how many people missed the reference. What are you people doing with your lives that you don't recognize what is possibly the best The State sketch ever?!?!)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:38 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am engaged in monkey torture in honor of the real best State sketch.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:06 AM on May 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


The "Oh, you are..." at the end was devastating.

Not only that, but it demonstrates what genius comedians K&P are. Lesser comedians would have made that last line, "Oh, you are... It's called the city penitentiary," but K&P trust their audience to get the joke without having to be hit over the head. Bravo.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:19 AM on May 7, 2015 [14 favorites]


I knew the ending before it came. And I wish didn't.
posted by tommasz at 12:38 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


"I thoroughly enjoyed 'Here Comes the Boom'."
posted by Fizz at 12:59 PM on May 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think what's trivializing is acting like the only purpose of this comedy sketch is to give people their pat on the back for being on the right side of an issue, barring any discussion of its actual comedic or parodic execution

Fortunately, nobody has acted like that. In fact, they have offered a series of solid critical reasons for preferring the somewhat imperfect rhythms of the sketch.
posted by maxsparber at 1:05 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Exactly. And the pushback to the initial comment had more to do with its hyperbole (1000x better) and trivialization (cute) than any valid criticism of the piece as it pertained to the craft of musical theater. It was offensively dismissive.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:26 PM on May 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


I am engaged in monkey torture in honor of the real best State sketch.

Hey you can't talk to us like that I wanna see the manager. MAN-A-GER.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:27 PM on May 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Nick Searcy? Nick Searcy?
posted by Public Corruption? at 4:08 PM on May 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Man. I'm kinda relieved the reveal wasn't that it was his final moments, but.

Maybe no fists shaking into the sky screaming "When will it end?!" but definitely some grim, bitter laughter...
posted by qcubed at 6:52 PM on May 7, 2015


Part of Key & Peele's success is that their sketches always drop you into what seems like just a scene in an on-going film or episode of something. The world building and production values, as mentioned above, are always top notch.

Add to that that they're both surprisingly good (and versatile) actors, and you have a recipe for success.
posted by flippant at 7:09 PM on May 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


I've been laid up in bed for weeks with a weird medical situation, and haven't really been able to think straight for a while, so I'm glad to read that it wasn't just me. I watched this sketch and thought it was brilliant and then just cried and cried and cried.
posted by mothershock at 8:32 PM on May 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm amazed that they can afford to produce something as big as that - that's a huge set plus about fifty actors.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:55 PM on May 7, 2015


"This is a show tune, but the show hasn't been written for it, yet"
posted by iotic at 5:48 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


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