“East/West Bowl” has been continuously growing in popularity since its initial airing back in October, as it has been linked to and discussed (often as it were a real thing) on football fan forums. This sketch takes one of the simplest, but also one of the most reliable, comedy premises around – a list of silly names – and makes it so much more brilliant than one would think such a thing could ever possibly be. Clearly it is more than just a silly list. It has caught on because there are a lot of actual football players whose names are hardly any less ridiculous than the ones in the sketch. It was just a matter of time before they would be called out on their ridiculousness. Unlike most silly list-based sketches, “East/West Bowl” is filled with details. It is quite intricate despite how simple it appears to be on first viewing. Not only are the names silly, but so are the hairstyles, the voices, and the background photos. Each member of the silly list gets his own unique characterization. You don’t get all that out of most silly lists.
Runner-Up: “LMFAO’s Non-Stop Party”
The lyrics of this parody LMFAO dance-pop ditty are hilarious (and rhythmic) enough on their own without the sketch needing anything more. At one point, the song just becomes a list of random crap (iPad, Facebook, party time, skintight jeans…) and the roll call of cities where the party is taking place eventually grow to include more unusual options such as Newark, Plano, Lincoln, and Lubbock until ultimately it could be any destination as they simply repeat “city, city, city, city.” That would all be good enough, but this sketch is also about the existential crisis that LMFAO face when they realize the party they are at is a Groundhog Day-style endless loop. This is why we have Key and Peele – they give us scenes inspired by Sartre featuring today’s biggest pop stars.
Season Analysis: Key & Peele betrayed a little bit of exhaustion in its second batch of episodes – it’s hard to continually pull off the unexpected in comedy. But it was never really bad, and the best of Season 2 reached even greater heights than that of Season 1.
Most episodes of Key & Peele do not have an overarching theme (at least not one that is much different than the overall theme of the series), so one excellent sketch can make the difference in an episode being the best of the season. This was the case with Episode 2 of Season 2, which featured the already iconic “East/West Bowl” sketch. I’ll get to my explanation of that bit’s greatness in my Best Sketch of the Season post, but for now I’ll mention Keegan and Jordan’s stand-up segment that immediately followed. Keegan’s physical reaction to D’Brickashaw Ferguson’s mother explanation that “D’Brickashaw” is a family name was a thing of beauty. Although the sketch seemed surreal, the actual people they mentioned with names like “L–a” underscored just how much it was in actuality too real.
Here’s the funniest thing I saw in 2012 (also the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while):
In case you were wondering, here are the lineups for the 2012 Annual East/West Collegiate Bowl:
D’Marcus Williums, University of Georgia
T.J. Juckson, Wayne State University
T’Variuness King, Merrimack College
Tyroil Smoochie-Wallace, University of Miami
D’Squarius Green, Jr., University of Notre Dame
Ibrahim Moizoos, University of Tennessee at Chatanooga
Jackmerius Tacktheratrix, Michigan State University
D’Isiah T. Billings-Clyde, Coastal Carolina University
D’Jasper Probincrux III, South Carolina State University
Leoz Maxwell Jilliumz, East Carolina University
Javaris Jamar Javarison-Lamar, University of Middle Tennessee
Davoin Shower-Handel, University of Southern Mississippi
Hingle McCringleberry, Penn State University
L’Carpetron Dookmarriot, Florida Atlantic University
J’Dinkalage Morgoone, University of South Florida
Xmus Jaxon Flaxon-Waxon, California University of Pennsylvania
Saggitariutt Jefferspin, Texas A&M
D’Glester Hardunkichud, University of Wisconsin
Swirvithan L’Goodling-Splatt, Saskatchewan University
Quatro Quatro, San Jose State University
Ozamataz Buckshank, Stanford University
Beezer Twelve Washingbeard, Jones College
Shakiraquan T.G.I.F. Carter, University of Northern Arizona
X-Wing @Aliciousness, Missouri Western State University
Sequester Grundelplith M.D., Adams State
Scoish Velociraptor Maloish, South Dakota State University
T.J. A.J. R.J. Backslashinfourth V, Albion College
EEEEE EEEEEEEEE, San Diego State University
Donkey Teeth, Boise State University
Torque [Construction Noise] Lewith, Nevada State Penitentiary
[The Player Formerly Known As Mousecop], University of Missouri-Columbia
Dan Smith, BYU
“Obama’s Anger Translator”
Like many classic comedy sketches, Obama’s Anger Translator germinated from a simple seed of an observation: Barack Obama practically never betrays a hint of heated anger, even though his job has given him plenty to get worked up over. Jordan Peele’s virtuosic Obama impression and Keegan-Michael Key’s talent for portraying the unrepressed id were the perfect combination for illustrating this point. One could argue that this was a partisan bit tailor-made for Obama supporters, but whenever your opinion of the President or the job he has done, it ought to be admitted that he has faced an intense amount of disagreement, enough that it would be understandable if he started nonsensically spouting out random Michael Jackson lyrics.
Season Analysis: Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, with their astute social and personal insights inspired by their biracial backgrounds, delivered the best new sketch comedy series since Chapelle’s Show.
Key & Peele’s first season included an impressive number of sketches that were instant classics or at least very amusing. However, there was no episode among the first eight that was made up entirely of those sketches that fit those categories; on the other hand, there was also no episode in which it felt like Key and Peele had taken the week off. Thus, we ended up with a collection of good-to-great episodes, in which none stood out much more than any other, except for the first episode, thanks to its novelty. Their targets and routines were established quickly and decisively: the roles black/biracial people take on depending on the situation (two black men on their phones toughening up their demeanors as they walk by each other), gender politics (husbands going to great lengths to make sure their wives are out of earshot when they call them bitches), their friendship-based stand-up interstitials, the pop culture parodies for the hell of it (the parody reality cooking show Gideon’s Kitchen), and of course, their take on our first black – but actually, like them, half-black/half-white – president (Obama’s anger translator). Key and Peele’s comedic voice is practically required listening for members of the American present day.