Photo: Illustration: Maya Robinson and Photos by Comedy Central
Key & Peele will go down in history as one of the greatest sketch shows of all time, one that redefined the “filmic” sketch and established such a strong viral presence that many people didn’t even know it was a show that aired on actual television. Truly an internet juggernaut, K&P sketches racked up more than a billion views on YouTube over the course of five seasons, which culminated last week with a two-episode series finale. A billion views. Insane, right?
But also not that surprising, considering the level of care and attention that seemed to go into every sketch from the top down — from the subversive, racially aware sketches that gave the show its edge, to the many others about farts. What Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key accomplished as comedic performers will be recognized for years to come, as will the directing talents of Peter Atencio, who turned even the silliest ideas into memorable short films; and the writers, who picked through both the absurd and the topical (oftentimes simultaneously) with a fine-tooth comb. (And speaking of combs, we can’t forget hair and makeup; with K&P ending, The Americans and Drag Race are left to hold down TV’s wig game. Also, while we’re here: The props and production design and costumes were consistently at the toppest notch, too.)
Before our rankings begin, let’s get this out of the way: Ranking every Key & Peele sketch is a ridiculous, near-futile endeavor. Not only because so many K&P bits were stunningly shot, hilariously funny, utterly prescient, or all of the above (even the least-successful sketches still hold up better than most on other shows), but also because comedy is completely subjective in every way, and what I, a single person in this crazy world, find funny is bound to differ from what you, a different person, find funny. But, hey, this is the internet: a sea of lists and rankings that pepper our lives with opinions we didn’t even know we wanted! To settle on a ranking, I tried to combine multiple factors — subversive qualities, good, old-fashioned LOLs, and viral success — into each decision. I probably failed, in some capacity.
So, with that: Let’s set off on a journey that spanned well over 10,000 words!
298. “Karim and Jahar at the Gym” (Season 3, Episode 11)
Unfortunately, K&P’s Middle Eastern catcalling guys always rubbed me the wrong way. Here they try their hand at picking up ladies at the gym.
297. “Paint Titties” (Season 3, Episode 12)
Paint splotches can also look like titties.
296. “Biological Dad” (Season 2, Episode 10)
Peele meets his real father (Key), who at first is dismissive, but when Peele says he “has his own show,” this gets Dad more interested. Ends with a Comedy Central zinger.
295. “Murder Laughs” (Season 1, Episode 8)
A profoundly dark sketch that asks the question: What’s funny about shooting someone?
294. “Army Recruiters” (Season 1, Episode 7)
They’re army recruiters — at a gay bar! An early dip into gay jokes that don’t quite work. K&P would stumble into a few of these over the run of the show.
293. “Mary Magdalene’s Pimp” (Season 2, Episode 1)
Jesus is not a pimp. He’s a carpenter.
292. “Pawn Shop” (Season 3, Episode 11)
Here, Key plays a crazy bearded man who wants to buy weird shit at a pawnshop. He’s definitely not going to murder anyone.
291. “Crosswalk Button” (Season 3, Episode 9)
I never really liked the sketches that played out as long arguments, but this is certainly something we’ve all faced. “Did you press the button?”
290. “Macedonian Cafe” (Season 4, Episode 5)
A good chance to focus on an oft-unseen group of American immigrant — the Macedonian — ends up being just okay.
289. “Lion King Flirting” (Season 5, Episode 8)
Tatiana Ali makes a cameo in this confusing bit about a guy trying to one-up his friend by discussing The Lion King.
288. “Bank Robbers Can’t Open a Car Door” (Season 4, Episode 1)
It’s harder than it looks.
287. “Baby Prudence” (Season 1, Episode 5)
A short and sweet look at a lost baby named Pru.
286. “Biracial Engagement” (Season 5, Episode 4)
Key is engaged to Melanie Lynskey, but her parents just don’t approve. But also, the parents are aliens? Weird twist.
285. “Dental Insurance” (Season 3, Episode 10)
No real jokes here, aside from a lot of yelling from Peele’s LaShawn character about various things. This is the low point of LaShawn’s otherwise memorable and enjoyable journey on K&P.
284. “Cult Guys” (Season 3, Episode 12)
A funny setup, but the ultimate premise of this sketch eluded me. They’re two guys who just really don’t want people to know they were in a cult?
283. “Makin’ It Rain” (Season 3, Episode 9)
You can’t fling coins at a strip club. You just can’t.
282. “Laughing at the Wrong Time” (Season 4, Episode 3)
Peele’s character reveals his “famous joke” to his co-worker in the office break room, but he laughs at all the wrong things.
281. “Guy in Horrible Pain” (Season 4, Episode 2)
Key plays a guy in — you guessed it — horrible pain, who can barely move and often screams out. Some delicious Key physical bits, as per usual, but the sketch drags on a bit too long.
280. “Phone Call” (Season 1, Episode 1)
In the opening sketch of the very first episode (with laugh track!), K&P turn up their “black voices” on their respective phone calls, each fearing the other one will mug him.
279. “Brothers” (Season 3, Episode 13)
We gonna be brothers now.
278. “Obama’s Anger Translator: Victory” (Season 2, Episode 7)
The Anger Translator sketches came to define K&P, though it’s safe to say nothing was ever as strong as the first Luther meeting. This is the point where they started getting more yell-y and less jokey, though the concept remained strong.
277. “Nerd in Jail” (Season 2, Episode 8)
I wasn’t sure what to call this one. Peele’s a nerd, stuck in jail! Bite his dick off?
276. “Obama Raps” (Season 1, Episode 2)
Obama drops the mic in a street rap simply by being the president.
275. “1990s MTV Show” (Season 4, Episode 1)
Key plays a lady singer named Majesty who’s all about girl power, and Peele is interviewing her for an MTV-style ’90s video show. Majesty tells Peele about the “herpes in her butt.” The button reveal — Majesty removing her wig and facing her/himself in the mirror — was a fun surprise, and something K&P generally excel at.
274. “Racist Dog” (Season 2, Episode 2)
Let this be a lesson: Do not adopt racist dogs.
273. “Two British Explorers” (Season 5, Episode 2)
K&P play two old explorer-men with taxidermied animals on their walls. This was just pure madness, and honestly, I couldn’t tell you what this sketch was, but you’ve gotta appreciate that low-angle shot.
272. “Massage” (Season 4, Episode 4)
Erections are normal during a massage. Even from the masseuse.
271. “Rap Back and Forth” (Season 2, Episode 4)
Unoffensive. Short. I have nothing to say about this!
270. “Baby Forest” (Season 1, Episode 8)
I imagine the writer’s room pitch for this was: “How ’bout we do something where Peele plays a three-foot-tall Forest Whitaker?” Well, my friends, that’s exactly what this provides.
269. “Old-Timers Talk Drake” (Season 5, Episode 2)
Two old guys at the bar rhyming lots of things with “Drake.” A lot of words rhyme with Drake, as it turns out.
268. “Human Centipede Reunion” (Season 2, Episode 6)
Wayne Brady shit in Peele’s mouth, Peele shit in Key’s mouth, and Key… well, he’s still bitter about being on the wrong end of a human-centipede torture experiment. The visualizations are a little much.
267. “Obama’s Anger Translator: Campaign Trail” (Season 2, Episode 6)
“I ain’t trying to kiss no poop” is a line from this sketch. That’s all you need to know.
266. “Cheating Wife (With a Twist)” (Season 4, Episode 5)
We can see the truth from a mile away, but Key’s outrage at his wife cheating on him with a dog still draws a few choice laughs.
265. “ESPN Classic” (Season 3, Episode 4)
“Deal with me, dawg.”
264. “Creepy Movie Musical” (Season 2, Episode 9)
Well-shot parody of a classic movie-musical, with Peele as an uncomfortably domineering leading man.
263. “Orgy Jacket Guy” (Season 3, Episode 5)
He’s just an ordinary man looking for a jacket in the middle of an orgy. One note: Peele’s voice in this weirdly mirrors Eddie Murphy’s in Dr. Doolittle almost exactly.
262. “Overly Offended Co-workers” (Season 3, Episode 9)
A black man, a woman, and a gay man are offended by everything at work.
261. “Karim and Jahar” (Season 2, Episode 9)
As mentioned earlier, a lot of people loved this sketch, but I guess I never quite got in line with these guys. They’re Middle Eastern catcallers — an act they take to quite subversive heights in this sketch while salivating over women wearing burkas. I do, however, enjoy their fun grindy dance.
260. “Fro-Yo Brain Freeze” (Season 4, Episode 9)
Key and Peele are eating frozen yogurt when Peele gets terrible brain-freeze and starts acting crazy.
259. “Fighting Meegan’s Battles” (Season 3, Episode 9)
A sketch that proves, yet again, that Meegan is basically a demon spawn, though her insults to a typical club bouncer are creative enough to warrant laughs. Also, we learn here that her favorite film is The Green Mile.
258. “Tackle & Grapple” (Season 3, Episode 9)
A good, old-school kung-fu video about the essential difference between tackle and grapple. Sensei Doug Duggart is mostly a pervert.
257. “Jimenez” (Season 3, Episode 10)
Jimenez was a great cop. It’s a shame he’s gone.
256. “Gangster Actors” (Season 3, Episode 11)
Colin Hanks can’t buy Peele as a “real” gang member, but he loves Key’s British actor. The joke stays the same throughout the sketch, though Hanks and Key’s rapport is enjoyable.
255. “Key Takes an Emotional Pee” (Season 4, Episode 8)
K&P are next to each other at a public urinal. Key laughs, then sobs, then screams, all before taking the fastest pee ever and leaving.
254. “Diametrically Opposed” (Season 4, Episode 11)
A Crossfire-type show accidentally books two Republicans. Oops! It’s funny because you can see it actually happening.
253. “Lil Wayne” (Season 1, Episode 1)
Lil Wayne coming to you straight from Rikers! A good runner for the first show, this played out over multiple sketches and finished with an unfortunate “gay scare” bit at the end.
252. “Trigger-Happy Cop” (Season 3, Episode 13)
Obviously hugely topical, this sketch follows Key’s white cop who just can’t stop shooting black people. Designed to be shared on sites like Salon and Slate, this sketch was more “mmhmm” than funny, but it still has a clear effect.
251. “Little Homie” (Season 4, Episode 1)
A lawyer’s puppet friend, named Little Homie, helps him relate to people of the streets. Homie doesn’t always have the best advice, though. Have to admire K&P’s determination here, all the way up to the final twist.
250. “Bad Prison Guard” (Season 5, Episode 4)
Key is a dumb — very, very dumb — prison guard. He’s dumb!
249. “Fro-Yo Samples” (Season 4, Episode 7)
Key is an employee of a fro-yo shop whose indulgence of “free samples” proves her downfall.
248. “Terrible Henchman” (Season 4, Episode 8)
Peele plays the world’s worst henchman to Key’s evil mastermind. He opens crinkly candy and takes all suggestions literally. This is mostly a classic straight-man/crazy-man bit, but Peele standing “like a statue” will make anyone laugh.
247. “A Grown-Ass Man” (Season 4, Episode 8)
Don’t let his size and voice confuse you: Peele has Benjamin Button’s disease.
246. “Oil Is the Key to Democracy” (Season 4, Episode 10)
Key and Peele are African leaders seeking help, but there are strings attached. Richard Schiff guest-stars as a U.S. government official who is unable to help until they mention having oil. Suddenly, he pulls out a satellite phone, loads of planes appear in the sky, and he welcomes them to democracy. Too real.
245. “Country Music” (Season 2, Episode 3)
A black guy who loves country music? Madness. This is an example of a game that the audience gets too early, which doesn’t really go anywhere you don’t predict from the outset.
244. “FaceTime” (Season 3, Episode 3)
FaceTime can be annoying! (And in turn, so can this sketch.)
243. “Jealous Brother” (Season 4, Episode 11)
Key’s character is engaged to a Price Is Right model, and Peele — decked out in a truly wondrous comb-over — is very jealous.
242. “Bible Study” (Season 5, Episode 2)
Jesus’ personal advice that a Bible-study group sell all their earthly belongings sparks them to flee.
241. “Levi and Cedric: Lightning in a Bottle” (Season 5, Episode 5)
This is our first sight of K&P’s Levi and Cedric characters, two local guys who tend to philosophize on the stranger things in life, but you’ll certainly be hearing more from them down the list. Here, Levi literally has lightning in a bottle. Literally.
240. “Tell That to the Guy’s Wife” (Season 5, Episode 5)
An example of how the phrase “tell that to the guy’s wife” can be taken far too literally.
239. “OK” (Season 5, Episode 4)
K&P are two women at a bar. Key discusses a problem with his (her) man, while Peele can only say “okay” in various ways.
238. “Moving Help” (Season 5, Episode 8)
“It’s a weird coincidence that you need space when I’m about to move.”
237. “Let Me Hit That” (Season 3, Episode 5)
We’ve had this conversation before.
236. “Obama’s Anger Translator: Michelle’s Translator” (Season 3, Episode 5)
A fun twist on a sketch that was getting a bit stale.
235. “Second Amendment” (Season 3, Episode 5)
This is a great idea, about two guys from the future who go back in time to stop the Second Amendment from being signed, but the big moment at the end doesn’t quite pay off.
234. “White DJ” (Season 3, Episode 10)
K&P want to hate the white “urban” DJ, but it’s tough when he loves them.
233. “Keep It Real” (Season 1, Episode 4)
When you get a record deal, everyone wants a piece of you.
232. “Obama’s Anger Translator: Debates Are Over” (Season 2, Episode 5)
This was another anger translator sketch. That’s all there really is to say about that.
231. “Delete It” (Season 1, Episode 2)
K&P are two women who hate their own selfies so much, they can’t live normal lives.
230. “Bar Bump” (Season 5, Episode 10)
A simple bump at a bar becomes much more when Peele aggressively and tentatively picks a fight with a giant dude.
229. “Jaden Smith” (Season 1, Episode 5)
Peele is Jaden Smith, who just wants to be a normal boy but clearly cannot be one. This one doesn’t hold up quite as well because we now know that Jaden Smith is actually a philosophical GENIUS. But a house is a tiny mansion. A supermarket is a tiny mansion that has food in it.
228. “Rednecks Defying Stereotypes” (Season 4, Episode 1)
The scene is set: K&P are in a redneck bar, Peele wears a confederate-flag baseball cap. They say nice things about Mexicans, Asians, blacks, and Indians in big southern accents in the tone of racist dickheads. But what they’re saying is actually nice. Get it?
227. “Les Mis” (Season 3, Episode 1)
One joke here: Why is everyone in Les Misérables always singing over each other? Praise the high production values in this sketch.
226. “Wendell: Tech Support” (Season 3, Episode 6)
This Wendell sketch drags a bit and certainly doesn’t have quite the same impact as the sad, grounded undertones of “Pizza Order,” but it follows the same beats.
225. “Obama and Malia” (Season 1, Episode 8)
A runner sketch with Obama trying to teach Malia to do “normal people” things. It’s not as easy as it looks.
224. “Chris Brown and Rihanna Video” (Season 2, Episode 3)
A good message here, but this parody of a new Chris Brown video is almost (scarily) too on-the-nose to have any comedic effect.
223. “Catcalling Dudes” (Season 1, Episode 3)
One of what has to be tens of catcalling sketches in K&P’s arsenal, but you gotta love that rhino cameo at the end.
222. “Lando” (Season 3, Episode 10)
No doubt about it: Lando was cool as fuck.
221. “Fraternity Branding” (Season 1, Episode 4)
A fraternity branding goes horribly wrong when one member of the frat is branded with a straight-up dick on his chest.
220. “Dueling Trumpet Solos” (Season 3, Episode 10)
The reverse trumpet at the end is a joy.
219. “Hitler Mustache” (Season 5, Episode 10)
Key’s “Hitler” mustache is not a Hitler mustache, no, it’s a Charlie Chaplin mustache. And that swastika is just a movie prop, like a rubber chicken.
218. “Adoption Meeting” (Season 2, Episode 10)
Jordan’s super-gay LaShawn character returns, this time to adopt a baby. He really wants to have a fun baby, like a “special-needs kid with white eyes that can tell the future.” These sketches always threaten to devolve into all kinds of offensive, but it’s a testament to the actors that it doesn’t tip into the cringeworthy.
217. “Biracial Penis” (Season 2, Episode 4)
It’s like a bite-size Snickers.
216. “Obama’s Anger Translator: Addressing the Critics” (Season 4, Episode 7)
The Luther sketches diminished in quality as time went on, unfortunately, and the joke became just Key “yelling.” However, this one had a drone strike, and for that, it transcended the sketch’s repetitiveness.
215. “Blind Guy in the Morgue” (Season 4, Episode 6)
Peele is not actually blind, Key is not actually a mortician, and the dead guy isn’t actually dead.
214. “Celebrity Game” (Season 2, Episode 5)
A game of celebrity with a gay climax (Peele is gay).
213. “Pre-Game Pump-Up” (Season 5, Episode 1)
No team can have two pump-up guys. A game of one-upsmanship sends K&P on an epic action quest inside each other’s minds. The surrealism mostly works.
212. “Wendell: The Power of Wings” (Season 3, Episode 11)
Poor Wendell’s music video runs out of money halfway through production.
211. “Grass-Fed Beef” (Season 1, Episode 6)
It’s fancy meat from the Pacific Ocean.
210. “Satanic Flatulence” (Season 5, Episode 9
One of those sketches where a tailor is sizing up a client and the client has the devil in his ass. This was the final appearance of Peele’s “California douchebag” character, and it’s somehow fitting that it involves a demonic fart.
209. “Black Hawk Up” (Season 1, Episode 2)
Helicopters: They’re terrifying. Even for traffic reporters.
208. “Money in Your Ear” (Season 5, Episode 2)
An old man finds a lot of (literal) things in a child’s ear.
207. “Black Republicans” (Season 3, Episode 3)
They’re nothing if not diverse. A funny idea that doesn’t elicit genuine laughs until the man pokes his head in and announces that “someone’s white wife is here to pick them up,” prompting a mass exodus to the parking lot.
206. “Soldier Comes Home” (Season 4, Episode 2)
A smart play on the “soldier comes home and plays with dog” vids. Key is a soldier who goes straight for the dog, ignoring the kids. Under a minute, gets the job done.
205. “Obama’s Anger Translator: Debate Response” (Season 2, Episode 3)
This message brought to you by the letter “suck my” and the number “dick.”
204. “Morning Photo” (Season 1, Episode 7)
Do NOT take a photo of your girlfriend in the morning. Just don’t do it.
203. “Terrorist Food Truck” (Season 5, Episode 3)
One of a number of K&P “terrorist” bits, this one poses the question: Is a food truck more lucrative than terrorist-ing? A solid premise that doesn’t quite build on the initial joke.
202. “Gospel Choir” (Season 5, Episode 4)
“This is your note.”
201. “Hula Hoop Friends” (Season 2, Episode 3)
They’re not double-penetrating a woman together, they’re hula-hooping!
200. “Shot in the Dick” (Season 1, Episode 4)
This was a hip-hop music video about a rapper being shot in the dick.
199. “Obama’s Anger Translator: I Sunk Your Battleship, Bitch” (Season 2, Episode 2)
Obama’s post-debate message to Romney, and about the point when all the anger translator bits started to run together.
198. “Valets: Game of Thrones Recap” (Season 5, Episode 9)
The valets work best when they’re getting pumped about cultural icons or more specific actors (Liam Neesons, what up), but this one seemed too logical. Everyone’s already going nuts for Game of Thrones. Still, the inflection on their “Khaleesseez” is a joy.
197. “Save the Children” (Season 4, Episode 3)
Only $5, and you can literally save the children. From a van. That they’re trapped in.
196. “Undercover Boss” (Season 5, Episode 7)
An Undercover Boss spoof. Peele reveals himself as the secret president of the company after initially posing as an employee and getting tons of shit from Key’s disgruntled employee during his time there. When the truth is revealed, Key tries to repent.
195. “White Guys Watching Amistad” (Season 1, Episode 6)
Lots of white guys want to talk about Amistad with black people.
194. “Little Zachary” (Season 4, Episode 9)
Peele is dating Little Zachary’s mom (Key), and they have a picnic where Peele explains he will never spank Zachary, unlike his own father. But when Zachary reveals himself to be an evil, evil child … what are you gonna do?
193.“Bald Brotherhood” (Season 2, Episode 4)
Key plays a character who can’t find his people in prison, so he joins the Bald Guys Gang, which may or may not be a group of skinheads. This sketch was basically an excuse to watch Key get his ass kicked in different, exciting ways. BGG 4EVER.
192. “Terrior-ist” (Season 3, Episode 3)
The difference between a terrorist and a terrior-ist? Semantics.
191.“Limo Driver” (Season 1, Episode 5)
Key is a limo driver who may or may not be listening to all the insane stuff Peele is saying. This sketch basically builds toward its diabolical final line.
190. “Awkward Convo” (Season 5, Episode 5)
Peele’s face in this is a hotbed of emotions.
189. “Menstruation Orientation” (Season 5, Episode 2)
The second appearance of K&P’s men who are actually women. This time, they’re giving a TED Talk about periods.
188. “Awesome Hitler Story” (Season 4, Episode 2)
Key tries to play dead while Ty Burrell’s Nazi character from “Das Negroes” tells his favorite Hitler story. The fun of this bit lies entirely in Key’s physical comedy.
187. “Gangster With Poop in His Pants” (Season 1, Episode 3)
“How you want me to smoke somebody when I got poop in my pants?”
186. “Tim Cook Meltdown at iPhone 5 Launch” (Season 2, Episode 3)
Tim Cook is crazy, and won’t have it any other way.
185. “Turbulence” (Season 5, Episode 2)
It’s not against the law to use the bathroom when the seatbelt sign is on? IS IT AGAINST THE LAW? Extra points for Peele’s neutral demon face as the flight attendant who’s watching Key flail around the plane after disobeying the sign.
184. “Ancestry.com” (Season 1, Episode 1)
A memorable sketch from the series premiere that, at the time, set the tone for K&P’s humor. In this parody commercial, the white people find out they’re all related to people like Aristotle and Alexander the Great, while all the African-Americans are related to Thomas Jefferson.
183. “Dueling Magical Negroes” (Season 1, Episode 5)
So many magical negroes, just one troubled white businessman. This was a super-funny idea that sort of devolved into chaos, but had a lovely button at the end.
182. “Sexting Scandal” (Season 5, Episode 5)
Politician can’t stop sending dick pics.
181. “Sex Addict Wendell” (Season 4, Episode 10)
The culmination of Peele’s wonderfully uncomfortable Wendell character. Here, he joins a sex-addict support group.
180. “Crackheads” (Season 1, Episode 8)
This is the first appearance of Key’s pimp-esque landlord character, who really doesn’t like crackheads.This sketch essentially works as a build to its button, when it turns out Peele and his nice girlfriend are crackheads (because of course they are).
179. Killing an African Warlord” (Season 2, Episode 7)
He just can’t kill his boss!
178. “Hell’s Kitchen Parody” (Season 1, Episode 1)
The very first of what would be litany of TV and film parodies for K&P, this sketch is a comment on every reality show, really — a host that builds to praise with a critique and then praises again, just to bait and switch the audience — but does so with aplomb. (Let it be known: I will use the word aplomb once again on this list.)
177. “Obama’s Anger Translator — Reelection” (Season 1, Episode 4)
Does your World Trade Center hurt? Then why don’t you take two bin Ladens and feel better in the morning. Luther was speaking for all of us here. Good callback to “The Negraph” sketch at the end.
176. “The Telemarketer” (Season 5, Episode 9)
How does it feel when the telemarketer hangs up on you? Not good is the answer. Not good at all.
175. “Ultimate Fighting Match Preview” (Season 1, Episode 6)
The chosen fighter will win.
174. “Andre and Meegan’s First Date” (Season 5, Episode 3)
One of the darkest Meegan sketches, this season-five sketch reveals her to be even more of a heinous, horrible person than originally suspected. She spends her first date with Andre berating a waiter with condescending lines like, “Don’t be sorry … be better.” I’ve never quite understood Key’s Andre character in these bits — like Keanu circa 1996? — but I still like him.
173. “Mattress Shopping” (Season 4, Episode 3)
Peele’s oversexed, dweeby character goes to buy a mattress from a store. He tries out each bed using highly sexual physical gestures. The reveal: It’s his neighbors doing the fucking; he’s just trying to get a good night’s sleep. Actually one of several characters that involves Peele performing a sexual act by himself, to great comic effect.
172. “Obama’s College Years” (Season 2, Episode 1)
A fun runner sketch about how Obama smoked a lot of pot in college, especially while publicly pontificating.
171. “Canine Unit” (Season 2, Episode 5)
Key is a reporter in a bite suit, getting bitten by a dog over and over. The physical humor is exactly as funny as it sounds.
170. “Valets: Valley Kilmers” (Season 5, Episode 6)
“What about Valley Kilmers in The Willows, though?” In this one, the valets get on imaginary horses and gallop.They also do pretty delectable Kilmer impressions.
169. “Old School” (Season 1, Episode 6)
An old guy at the club wants it real old-school from the DJ. Like real old-school. Like pre–old school old-school.
168. “Bachelor Party” (Season 2, Episode 4)
“Bup bup bup bup” is K&P’s version of “yadda yadda yadda.”
167. “Text Message Confusion” (Season 4, Episode 3)
Confusion about text tones reaches a fever pitch. This was a huge viral hit before season four began, and rightfully so: It’s a solid concept about something we all deal with on a near-daily basis.
166. “Levi and Cedric: Foghorn Dickhorn” (Season 3, Episode 8)
All you really need to know is that this sketch includes the name Foghorn Dickhorn.
165. “Futbol Flops” (Season 3, Episode 5)
Peele is a soccer player who will do anything to draw that red card. Even … die?
164. “Guys With Guns” (Season 2, Episode 1)
Two cool guys with guns find themselves facing serious street obstacles in slow-motion.
163. “Obamacare” (Season 4, Episode 6)
An old man who hates Obama so much, he refuses to benefit from Obamacare, even if it means removing his heart from his surgeried chest. K&P’s timely political stuff could sometimes be too on-the-nose to have any effect beyond its obvious intention, but this one (literally!) strikes a nerve.
162. “Black Theatre” (Season 3, Episode 8)
“How they gonna kill Othello?” This is basically the valets sketch in Shakespearean England. The final creation of “Shafte” was wonderous.
161. “Slave Fight” (Season 3, Episode 3)
Jack McBrayer is a slave owner who pits K&P against each other in a Django Unchained–style slave fight.
160. “Sex With Black Guys” (Season 3, Episode 11)
Slightly racist white girls debate the merits of sleeping with black guys. Just gets more and more racist, but the guys can’t decide their breaking point and still make a play for action. The button is perfect.
159. “Ultimate Cock-Blocker” (Season 1, Episode 7)
Peele is the ultimate cock-blocker, even in stick-figure land. The end of this sketch elicited smiles from everyone in the room I first watched this in, in case that kind of thing appeals to you.
158. “Obama Meets With Republicans” (Season 1, Episode 5)
Paul F. Tompkins shoves paper in his mouth and tapes it to his face in this ode to political reverse psychology.
157. “Flash Mob” (Season 1, Episode 6)
Oh, no: Is this a race war or a flash mob?
156. “Pirate Chantey” (Season 5, Episode 1)
“We say ‘yo ho’ but we don’t say ‘ho’ ’cause ‘ho’ is disrespectful.” A delightful tune about sexism that grows a little obvious by the end.
155. “Prepared for Terries” (Season 5, Episode 1)
A classic K&P “two crazy people being crazy” bit, with our heroes playing two weirdos on an airplane. They call terrorists “terries.” Favorite line: “If any terries come up in here, we gonna get our Bergeron.”
154. “French Restaurant” (Season 4, Episode 5)
Peele is flustered over the confusing dishes at a French restaurant. Bless Key’s French-waiter character’s pronunciations and Peele’s attempt to speak French. Nobody is better than K&P at funny sounds.
153. “Job Interview” (Season 5, Episode 6)
Peele, while waiting for a job interview in the 1970s, hears the interview before him going way, way too well. Way. Way too well.
152. “Black Republicans Drive to the Polls” (Season 4, Episode 7)
The black Republicans pretend they’re Democrats and drive a bunch of black people to the polls. K&P’s escape at the end bumps this up a notch.
151. “Drug Side Effects” (Season 4, Episode 6)
Peele is a drug dealer peddling a new drug with truly horrible side-effects, including pooping out of your mouth.
150. “Otis Carmichael Acting Reel” (Season 3, Episode 13)
While delivering a eulogy for his father, Key decides to play a reel of his dad’s old acting clips. Turns out he was only in horribly racist old Hollywood movies.
149. “Spoiler Alert” (Season 5, Episode 2)
Two couples’ aversion to spoilers — of all stripes — devolves into madness. This sketch could have been about a minute shorter, but all the actors turn in solid performances. It’s always fun to see K&P and Co. find new ways to make weird noises.
148. “Coffee and Explosions” (Season 4, Episode 8)
Literally minuscule in length, but powerful — a moment of appreciation for the finer things in life, like switching from Sweet’N Low to sugar when you find out the world is ending.
147. “Sports Injuries” (Season 4, Episode 2)
A news anchor on the local news lists women who have recently been sexually assaulted. The button: “That’s it for sports!” This sketch does its job, gets in and gets out, and makes its statement.
146. “Old-Timer” (Season 3, Episode 9)
In light of Cosby’s lifelong tsk-tsk-ing being revealed as profoundly and darkly ironic, this seemed to have greater effect. Peele is an “old-timer” trying to moralize with everyone he sees. Good cameo by the office guy with Benjamin Button disease (the first of two Benjamin Button refs!).
145. “Bling Benzy and Da Struggle” (Season 2, Episode 4)
Key’s Common-esque rapper, Da Struggle, tries to sling poetic truths while Peele’s, uh, less poetic rapper discusses the places he will shoot his sperm while flinging bills around.
144. “Valets: Anne Hathaways” (Season 3, Episode 13)
Somehow, I didn’t believe these guys had the same love of Hathaway as they had for Neesons, but Key’s defense — “She’s a confident woman in Hollywood whose sole flaw is that she cares too MUCH” — was a gem.
143. “Biracial Penis” (Season 1, Episode 3)
Never forget: There’s two sides — and two races — to every biracial guy you date. Hope for the best of both worlds.
142. “The Shining” (Season 2, Episode 6)
This sketch reminds us that all black people can do The Shining with each other. But don’t forget: That shit can get overwhelming. Extra points for a bevy of (mostly) realistic celebrity impersonations, including Lil Jon (Morgan Freeman could use some work, though).
141. “Funky Nonsense” (Season 3, Episode 9)
Another sketch that’s truly impressive in its execution. A classic ’70s funk band live video once again enables K&P to fit as many nonsense words as they can into a single sketch.
140. “Retired Military Specialist Part 2” (Season 5, Episode 6)
The retired military specialist returns for one final mission in the military, but unfortunately, new technology confuses and terrifies him. It’s not a laser, it’s a hologram.
139. “Con Man Meet-Up” (Season 5, Episode 7)
Two con men of different stripes get together to con one another simultaneously. As someone who was successfully conned in real life in an eerily similar situation, this got personal.
138. “Following MLK Jr.” (Season 2, Episode 2)
Key is the pastor who had to follow MLK after his “I Have a Dream” speech. Who put the running order together?
137. “Cunnilingus Class” (Season 3, Episode 6)
Two men dressed as pimps and/or Dumb and Dumber–era Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in tuxedos teach a class on cunnilingus, with a big final reveal: They’re actually women in disguise.
136. “Puppy Dog Ice-T” (Season 2, Episode 3)
One of a few sketches that feature Peele’s head on a much smaller body, but this is a damn fine impression. Extra points for Coco the Dog’s appearance.
135. “Helpful Dad” (Season 3, Episode 12)
This was a sweet sketch, with Peele’s father character tucking his son (Key) into bed while trying his best to answer some complicated questions. Unfortunately, he keeps digging a hole he can’t explain.
134. “Meegan Looks for Her Seat” (Season 4, Episode 11)
There is something endlessly entertaining about watching Meegan look for her seat in a dark movie theater using everything at her disposal, including Siri and FaceTime.
133. “Dubstep” (Season 2, Episode 2)
A timely and beautifully shot exploration of dubstep’s extreme powers, impressive in its technical prowess. Another huge YouTube hit for the show.
132. “Baby Fight” (Season 2, Episode 8)
You can’t fight a guy while he’s holding a baby. This sketch goes just the way you think it will, but it doesn’t matter because babies.
131. “The Negraph” (Season 1, Episode 4)
Who’s technically allowed to say the N-word? This app can help. Rob Delaney, unfortunately, cannot.
130. “Economy Plus” (Season 5, Episode 10)
What a treat. Peele’s blithely ignorant “Continental Breakfast” character returns to partake in the joys of a very slightly upgraded “economy plus” seat on an airplane. Ends with a welcomed Twilight Zone reference.
129. “Dicknanigans” (Season 4, Episode 10)
The performance-art group Dicknanigans take the art of a simple “kick to the groin” to another aesthetic plane. Cheers to the button of this sketch, when a doctor tells them the physical results of Dicknanigans have not been good for their balls.
128. “I’m a Leftie” (Season 1, Episode 7)
Short and sweet: The accidental handshake/hug-kiss from two friends is a simple bit of delicious physical comedy. Delicious? Delicious.
127. “Pussy on the Chainwax” (Season 3, Episode 13)
Silly and innocuous, this sketch nonetheless inspired a dynamic K&P catchphrase. “Pussy on the Chainwax” means nothing, but yet … it means something.
126. “L.A. Vice” (Season 3, Episode 4)
When he says “no,” stuff blows up.
125. “Final Promises” (Season 4, Episode 5)
Rashida Jones guests as a dying woman with a few final requests from her husband, Peele, who has a few issues with a couple of them — including no porn, no masturbating, and never being with another woman again. This does involve Peele making weird noises and weird voices, which I always enjoy.
124. “Michael Jackson” (Season 2, Episode 6)
Recommended for those of you who want to see Keegan’s half-wonderful/half-terrible Michael Jackson impression over and over and over again!
123. “Yo Mama Has Health Problems” (Season 1, Episode 2)
Your mother’s health is not a joke.
122. “911 Call” (Season 5, Episode 11)
Key sees a woman faint, calls 911, then gradually falls in love with her over the course of the call. Infused with a frenetic 24-style sense of drama, and wrapped in a classic K&P bait-and-switch.
121. “Make-a-Wish” (Season 4, Episode 6)
One of many horror tropes explored in this episode, Peele plays Liam, a dying boy with one last wish: to murder people in a variety of ways. Peele nails the devil-child thing, just as he nailed the hall-of-mirrors psychopath earlier in this same episode (and later on down this list).
120. “Dentist S&M” (Season 4, Episode 4)
Probably the best reveal among the brief K&P opening sketches: Key’s dentist character puts Peele under gas and then gets decked out in S&Mwear. When he is discovered: “Well. It was fun being a dentist.”
119. “Levi and Cedric: Steampunk” (Season 4, Episode 2)
Peele’s Levi goes steampunk, or just an “ill-ass Lemony Snicket.” I don’t know why I enjoy this as much as I do, but the Casio watch on the chain and putting the “piece of pipe” up to his eye to use as a telescope probably have something to do with it.
118. “Black Panthers” (Season 2, Episode 10)
This is a very noble excuse for Peele to make dumb faces from different locations onscreen.
117. “Civil War Reenactors” (Season 2, Episode 1)
K&P’s slave characters disturb a Civil War reenactment with some harsh truths, followed by a mugging.
116. “East/West Bowl Rap” (Season 3, Episode 2)
Another fun, filmic capitalization on that East/West Coast Bowl magic, and you can’t blame them.
115. “Power Falcons” (Season 2, Episode 8)
He’s actually Green Falcon.
114. “The Morty Jebson Show Goes Off the Rails” (Season 5, Episode 10)
A young rapper wants to leave Key’s Charlie Rose–esque show, but he can’t get his lav mic off. A wondrous bit of physical nonsense that lasts a welcomed eternity.
113. “Drug Trade” (Season 3, Episode 3)
Don’t be weird and secretive when you’re looking for drugs. Simply high-five and say, “Drugs.”
112. “Gay Wedding Advice” (Season 4, Episode 1)
This one starts off smart and honest, with a religious black family asking questions about how a gay wedding works, but then devolves into more obvious stereotypical questions, like, “How long do we do jazz hands?” Still, it’s a highly shareable sketch that people still talk about. Extra points to one of the family member’s questions about whether the priest will dress as a “sexy boat captain” and the rest of the family murmuring in approval.
111. “Weed Prescription” (Season 1, Episode 1)
Key wants to buy weed but can’t think of a disease from this century to pretend that he has.
110. “Meegan and Andre Break Up” (Season 5, Episode 10)
Well, the inevitable finally happens here, but somehow, miraculously, Meegan is NOT angry. Not at all! Not even slightly. She’s totaaaaaaally good. So good, in fact, that she manages to completely reverse the whole thing.
109. “Outkast Reunion” (Season 5, Episode 7)
Big Boi and André 3000 reunite at a coffee shop. André 3000 wears a Peter Pan hat and a bow tie and does a lot of voices that bother Big Boi. He also has a magical pinwheel. Big Boi himself recently commented that though the dynamic K&P imagined between the two of them wasn’t quite accurate, it was still “funny as hell.” Ah, the coveted Big Boi Approval Seal!
108. “Post-Game Interview” (Season 3, Episode 6)
A sequel to “You Can Do Anything” and a solid take on how all post-game interviews are the exact same. “Execute” and “give 100 percent,” and so on.
107. “Morning DJs” (Season 5, Episode 2)
In their commercial downtime, an obnoxious morning-DJ crew indulges in their real artistic passions.
106. “Darius Rucker” (Season 2, Episode 9)
One of the best sketches about semantics in band names ever created. “I’m not Hootie, I’m Darius Rucker.”
105. “Return of the Substitute Teacher” (Season 3, Episode 1)
Another example of the follow-up to the big hit sketch not being quite as fulfilling. Still, Mr. Garby is such a delightful character, one could listen to him mispronounce names all day.
104. “Magician Cop” (Season 2, Episode 8)
This is not just your everyday unfair pullover of a black person. He’s a magician cop!
103. “Farts for Names” (Season 2, Episode 8)
Sometimes a premise is so stupid, you just can’t stop it from coming to fruition. This came out of a Peele tweet — “What if names were farts?” — and boy, does it deliver on that exact premise.
102. “SWAT Team” (Season 2, Episode 9)
SWAT Team members proves they’re not always “ready to go.”
101. “LMFAO’s Nonstop Party” (Season 2, Episode 7)
Oh, no. The members of LMFAO are locked in their own continuous party loop. Forever. Is this hell?
100. “Substitute Teacher Part 2” (Season 2, Episode 9)
The lesser-known substitute-teacher sketch, but worthy all the same. Peele’s proper sub is no-nonsense until he farts, magnificently. Then leaves. Easy, breezy, beautiful: fart as joke button.
99. “McFerrin vs. Winslow” (Season 1, Episode 7)
This sketch, about Bobby McFerrin and the guy from the Police Academy movies (Michael Winslow) squaring off in an epic battle of mouth noise, is physical dumbness at its best, and deftly showcases K&P’s prowess for such things (and weird noises, of course).
98. “Gay R&B Group” (Season 1, Episode 2)
Some lovely production values in this sketch about one member of an R&B duo coming out to his partner through song.
97. “Judge Jessie” (Season 5, Episode 6)
Not only a judge, but also a surgeon, karate master, cop, trial lawyer, crack ho, and announcer. And, yes, he will share all his expertise with you.
96. “Metta World News” (Season 3, Various Episodes)
There wasn’t really one better than the other, but this strange exercise in absurdity lasted over the entire third season. K&P and Metta’s steadfast commitment to this bit warrant it a place in the top 100.
95. “Ghost Friend” (Season 5, Episode 5)
“Did you get that LinkedIn I sent you before I died?” A nice underbelly of melancholy in this sketch, which is one of a large handful of K&P sketches about ghosts.
94. “Mr. Mahina” (Season 3, Episode 13)
This was a surreal, vaguely Monty Python–esque kind of sketch. Is Mr. Mahina a real man at the office, or is he a living mop in a suit?
93. “Beards 4 Kids” (Season 5, Episode 3)
If you really want to protect children from ravaging warlords, give them fake beards. This is silly K&P at their best here. Extra points to those kids for keeping straight faces the whole time.
92. “Stan Lee’s Superhero Pitch” (Season 4, Episode 9)
Stan Lee visits Marvel headquarters to pitch some new Superhero characters, which prove to be a little too personal and depressing in his old age. Balance Man and Thermastatro, whose power is to control any thermostat so he’s never cold, are among them.
91. “White Zombies” (Season 2, Episode 6)
In a world of racist zombies, all you can do is have a party.
90. “MC Mom” (Season 5, Episode 7)
Like some slightly less-demented version of that Old Spice overbearing-parents commercial, Peele plays a mom who raps a note to her son in college. What starts as deeply embarrassing actually becomes half-good, as it turns out she’s got a pretty sick flow. Also a good callback to “Pussy on the Chainwax.”
89. “Urban Camouflage” (Season 3, Episode 1)
How does a black man avoid getting suspicious glances in a white neighborhood? The new “white guy face on the side of a hoodie” hoodie will do the trick. Simple and effective, and all too real. Again, K&P excel at pointing out the crucial injustices of our time without sacrificing one iota of humor.
88. “Laundromat” (Season 2, Episode 10)
For some reason, every time Peele’s laundromat owner says “the ’Mat” with his giddy smile, I laugh. “We got our own assortment of colorful characters right here at the ‘Mat!” The sketch also featuring Billy Dee Williams, so that’s a plus.
87. “High on Potenuse” (Season 3, Episode 8)
A simple stolen joke gets so out of hand that it drives a boy to madness, and comedian Gabriel Iglesias loves it! Side note: Props to the woman who played the teacher in this sketch. She really goes full-throttle. Also, a great button at end of episode with Obama calling Key’s joke-stealer personally.
86. “Valets: Melly Gibsons” (Season 3, Episode 6)
“Remember when racist-ass Melly Gibsons was chopping up some Blue Man Groups in Braveheart?” Points for this phrase alone: “racist-ass Melly Gibsons.”
85. “Harriet Tubman” (Season 2, Episode 5)
You keep waiting for this sketch to “say something,” but it doesn’t, and that’s absolutely fine. All you need to know is: Tubman was the original master of parkour.
84. “Old Timey Catcalling” (Season 5, Episode 5)
You gotta be subtle if you wanna talk to the ladies. Peele’s “Mm, mm, mm, vagina” will always hold up, forever and ever, amen.
83. “Dance Show” (Season 2, Episode 1)
Peele’s British judge on Who Thinks They Can Dance remains one of my favorite Peele characters, and helps push this sketch higher up the list than perhaps it would have been. Key’s renting his body out as a “heroin suitcase” is highly enjoyable as well.
82. “Severed Head Showcase” (Season 5, Episode 4)
There are no actual words spoken in this sketch about two marauding tribes celebrating a decapitation. This proudly falls into the “deliriously insane” camp of K&P sketches.
81. “People Park” (Season 3, Episode 13)
A highly enjoyable, cameo-filled bit that imagines what a dog park for humans would be like. (Hint: It’s the basically the same.)
80. “Retired Military Specialist” (Season 2, Episode 4)
K&P ended up being one of the premier outlets for parodies of classic movie tropes, and this is one of the pinnacles in that style. Peele plays a grizzled specialist, retired to the woods, who could once catch a bullet with his face, but has gotten too old to keep up.
79. “Dunk the Vote” (Season 2, Episode 5)
A commercial parody in the vein of those ’90s “Rock the Vote” videos that asks an important question that many of us still struggle to answer: “Hold the fuck on, who’s the electoral college?”
78. “Damn, Check That Shit Out” (Season 2, Episode 10)
Key teaches his friend an important lesson in what’s actually “underneath” a woman’s clothes. Among the best of K&P’s many “catcalling” sketches. Also ends up as a fun parody of ’80s films with its alien-tastic ending.
77. “’70s Mob Movie” (Season 4, Episode 4)
In this parody of ’70s drug/mob movies, à la Blow, Key does increasingly weird things to a guy sitting across from Peele, dressed as the New York mob boss who narrates the proceedings, before finally deciding to make him look good again. The silliness of this one is riveting.
76. “MLK vs. Malcolm X at the Theatre” (Season 1, Episode 2)
Two black icons square off for the love of a community-theater audience. K&P excel at taking the “game” of a scene to an extreme, and then rocketing it to the moon at the end. This was no exception.
75. “Slap-Ass Rehab” (Season 4, Episode 4)
A beautiful callback to one of the best sketches of the show. Rafi (Peele)’s sad speech is glorious, as is the moment of tension when Key reaches for the glove. Then the new guy’s highly slappable ass. Then a nice “I’m so excited” Saved by the Bell reference for good measure. Then the new guy’s inevitable death by slap-ass.
74. “Gangsta Standoff” (Season 2, Episode 8)
Sometimes the most popular book/film franchises can bring the most villainous gang members together. This sketch provides one of the best K&P montages — our gang members holding guns while splashing each other in the pool — followed by a stark ending.
73. “Scat Duel” (Season 3, Episode 9)
Scat jazz can contain the harshest of insults. One of a number of K&P sketches examining oft-unseen musical genres, and done with true panache.
72. “One Hundred Thousand Dollars” (Season 2, Episode 9)
This sketch answers a simple question: When you get a briefcase full of money, don’t you have to count it? The answer is never.
71. “Strike Force Eagle 3: The Reckoning” (Season 4, Episode 7)
Bless Peter Atencio and his crew for this one, a near-perfect remake of shitty B-action films, about an action hero who can’t stop snapping necks. An homage to the highest degree.
70. “School Bully” (Season 2, Episode 7)
A deeply self-aware school bully comes to terms with himself — a bully breakthrough, if you will — and spouts his honest feelings.
69. “Truthful Army Call and Response” (Season 4, Episode 1)
Key is a sergeant in the Army leading a call-and-response run with soldiers in training (Peele among them), which starts to get a little too real. “From poor families so far we roam / So the rich kids can just stay at home,” then more about how they’ll probably come home with PTSD and the VA hospital won’t care for them, then they’ll end up homeless. Hits close to the bone, as the best of K&P often does.
68. “Boxing Press Conference” (Season 3, Episode 4)
I struggle with sketches that toe the county line in Homophobic Land, but knowing that K&P are obviously not that way, this one stays planted in the top 100. Two boxers’ gay trash-talk becomes much more than that, as they realize they’re actually in love with each other.
67. “Proud Thug” (Season 3, Episode 3)
Peele’s Carlito is so proud that he definitely doesn’t need a chair, even though everyone else is sitting in chairs. He also definitely doesn’t care that the shards of the table he was leaning on, instead of sitting on, are stabbing him, or that he may be dying. “Heaven is for pussies,” he clarifies. Carlito’s return in “Loco Gangsters” is actually my fave Carlito sketch, so you’ll be hearing from him later.
66. “Hall of Mirrors” (Season 4, Episode 6)
Two horror-movie comments run back to back in this episode. This one is a parody of the “hall of mirrors” in so many horror/thrillers. But what happens when the detective solves the hall of mirrors and finds the psycho? This sketch answers that question. One of those sketches where I wonder how the concept progressed in the writers’ room, and another example of K&P’s brilliance in parodying movie tropes.
65. “Put Your Hands Up” (Season 4, Episode 3)
Proof that you don’t always want to put your hands up at the club arbitrarily.
64. “Nooice” (Season 3, Episode 4)
Two guys who say “nooice” a lot find their soul mates in one another. Quite possibly the finest costumed sketch in K&P history, “Nooice” also manages to play as genuinely moving.
63. “Consequences” (Season 4, Episode 8)
Donnie Herera (Peele) talks about consequences to a group of high-school kids — but it becomes clearer and clearer that he’s embellishing. OR IS HE?
62. “Deez Nuts” (Season 5, Episode 11)
A man cannot stop making various “deez nuts” retorts in the boardroom, even after hearing horrible news. When the music kicks in and the deez nuts guy makes it to the hospital to visit his dying father, I almost got misty-eyed knowing that this would be the last insane cinematic buildup to a button in K&P’s journey.
61. “Car Accident” (Season 5, Episode 7)
This one’s a wild card, but it made me laugh a lot, and I cannot explain to you the reason, which is probably a good thing. Here, Peele’s recurring surfer-douche-in-sunglasses character crashes into Key’s car and then doesn’t understand what the next steps are supposed to be. In the end, the final line, a gleeful “I am a sociopath!” proves worthy of the top 100.
60. “Bagels Are for Sales Associates” (Season 5, Episode 8)
Rob Riggle guests as the head of a sales team who entrusts Key with the simple task of making sure nobody but “sales associates” eats the bagels on the table. Peele’s grizzled janitor does not understand, creating a delicious comic scenario. This sketch provides another one of Peele’s calm, subtle, unnerving characters that I love so much.
59. “Alien Imposters” (Season 4, Episode 1)
This takes the question, “Would a real alien ever want to join up with two black guys in the apocalypse?” to the extreme. Funny, and extremely well-shot.
58. “Dungeons and Dragons and Bitches” (Season 1, Episode 4)
Probably K&P’s first straight-up nerdy sketch, though many would follow. Peele’s Kanye the Giant begins a quest for some bitches in Key’s D&D game, to his chagrin, and the others latch on to Peele’s more dubious quests. Great performances from both in this one.
57. “Terrorist Meeting” (Season 4, Episode 11)
A group of terrorists meet to complain about the “genius” of the TSA, which keeps thwarting them at every turn. Obviously, terrorists cannot do any damage in the sky with “four-inch scissors” or “less than 3.5 ounces of liquid.”
56. “Rap Album Confessions” (Season 5, Episode 5)
A rapper’s new album reveals a complex murder, but there’s no way Key’s officer can prove it, even though it’s right there in the damn lyrics. The more specific the song gets, the more hilarious, followed by a classic K&P twist-ending.
55. “Cat Poster” (Season 3, Episode 5)
This Usual Suspects homage is worthy if only for the names that Peele’s Keyser Söze character invents based on a simple cat poster on the wall. Cat Branchman, Mr. Meow, Hangman Justin Cats, and then, based on Key’s detective character, Baldy Tallman Coffee Cop.
54. “Snitch” (Season 5, Episode 8)
Even though it seems as though Peele’s character is a snitch, he most definitely is not. Even if he is receiving pizza from the cops, and a tiny motorized car. How many times can I praise the production-design team in this list? Not enough. Bless that tiny motorized car.
53. “The Silent Killer” (Season 2, Episode 7)
This is a rather brilliant sketch parodying “that guy in movies whom you fear because he’s doing something completely innocuous,” like silently eating his lunch. A perfect ending when Peele’s character’s actual voice is revealed.
52. “Zombie Extras” (Season 3, Episode 5)
Gotta get that “lunge” bump. Sometimes you’re just not a good zombie, but then again: What is a good zombie? Amazing button in Peele’s “What do we do if we gotta go to the bathroom?”
51. “Rap Battle Hype Man” (Season 3, Episode 1)
Peele’s Lil Jon–esque hype man thinks he’s a horse and becomes a liability to Key’s freestyle rapper. Sometimes liabilities have to be … taken care of.
50. “Quarterback Concussion” (Season 4, Episode 5)
A sad-funny look at a quarterback with a concussion trying to give a motivational huddle speech to his team without all his brain cells intact. He’s not sure if he’s playing football. And his helmet is an apple pie. And that cartoon squirrel says you need medical attention.
49. “Fronthand/Backhand” (Season 2, Episode 5)
Masterful silliness in this sketch where Peele wants to keep playing the fake “fronthand/backhand” game, which involves finding new, creative ways for Peele to get slapped.
48. “Boarding Group One” (Season 3, Episode 4)
Literally everyone is allowed to board before group one, including “old religious people with military babies” and Jason Schwartzman.
47. “Neil deGrasse Tyson” (Season 5, Episode 9)
A very special impression, and an extremely well-executed bit, about Tyson using a “Cosmos-esque” approach to deal with his domestic problems. This was a runner in their third-to-last show, and makes you wonder how many things like this K&P still have in their arsenal. From the music to the spot-on graphics, this sketch is gold.
46. “Auction Block” (Season 1, Episode 3)
At some point, we all want to be on Lot A. One of a few impeccably done sketches from K&P’s catalogue that mines real humor out of slave-era characters, this was one of the first and strongest.
45. “Clear History” (Season 3, Episode 1)
K&P often rely on the “game” school of sketch, where a simple bit is played to the extreme. Here is no exception, as Peele plays a man whose anxiety increases with every question his lady-friend poses about his online search history and why it keeps mysteriously getting deleted. A solid build, and a lovely button to cap it off.
44. “Valets: The Batmans” (Season 3, Episode 2)
A quality entrance into the Valets canon, a highlight being the various impressions of all the Batman villains over the years.
43. “Sexy Vampires” (Season 3, Episode 5)
I got bit on purpose so I could live forever and see future cars.” Key’s straight man is actually the hero of this sketch, as he questions the clothing choices and general lifestyle of Peele and Co.’s Anne Rice–style vampires.
42. “Flicker” (Season 1, Episode 6)
Who wins the most dimension-spanning “What’s on your shirt” game of all time? An epic, truly cinematic story that highlighted Peter Atencio’s attention to detail and talent behind the camera.
41. “Sex Crimes Investigator” (Season 4, Episode 7)
By putting himself in the perp’s mindset, Peele’s procedural-style investigator is able to solve crimes nobody else could. This also means occasionally pulling his dick out and jerking off on things.
40. “Shady Landlord” (Season 3, Episode 12)
This is one of the more legit insane K&P sketches out of quite a few, but Key’s landlord character is just so much fun, and the reveal at the end — of the questionably sized man in the colorful beard — is a most memorable climax.
39. “Georgina and Esther and Satan” (Season 4, Episode 3)
Two old women talk about all the things they’re going to do to Satan, since he’s got his claws in their friends and grandchildren. Culminating in an epic, exorcism-style battle between the two women and Satan himself, this sketch turns it up to 11 and keeps going. Side note: I enjoy how much K&P are perspiring in the heavy wool clothes. That’s effort, folks.
38. “Movie Hecklers” (Season 1, Episode 3)
This was one of the first sketches I remember people posting nonstop on social media: the highly informative black movie hecklers. “Has this dude ever heard of mise-en-scène?”
37. “Levi and Cedric: Where My Dookie Go?” (Season 2, Episode 2)
Good God, this stupid thing makes me laugh. A simple question from Peele’s Levi character on the stoop about where his poop goes sets off a chain of questions and answers both ludicrous and tender. Never forget: Everybody’s dookie goes up in the cloud. Then it rains down.
36. “Mafia Hit” (Season 3, Episode 2)
Have I shouted out Peter Atencio enough on this list? What’s left to say? He’s probably the best comedy director in the game. A beautifully shot scene of a mafia surprise party that goes horribly, murderously wrong.
35. “Meegan, Come Back” (Season 2, Episode 7)
The best and the most cinematic of the Meegan/Andre sketches, this sketch finds Key trying to get Meegan to stop walking away because he has the jacket she left behind when she stormed out of the club. Props to Peter Atencio for the final shot of the skeletons holding jackets in the desert wasteland, and props to Peele for nailing Meegan’s chirpy, defiant “no!”
34. “Mr. T PSA” (Season 3, Episode 6)
“I pity the fool who makes fun of another person’s name, even if they got the name via business choices.” A delicious parody of the infamous Mr. T rap PSA of yesteryear culminates with quite the reveal: Mr. T’s haircut isn’t a haircut, but rather a rare form of male-pattern baldness.
33. “McCringleberry’s Excessive Celebration” (Season 3, Episode 8)
This sketch is a celebration of Peele’s resting “serious face,” which is always somehow hilarious. Another phenomenal K&P sports sketch on a list of many.
32. “Gay Marriage Legalized” (Season 1, Episode 5)
The inaugural appearance of K&P’s gay couple, LaShawn and Samuel, also ended up being the most prescient. LaShawn’s “We’re gonna get married everywhere — over here, and over there, and in the sky, and on a cloud” remains one of my favorite lines of the series.
31. “I Said Bitch” (Season 1, Episode 1)
In this sketch that established the Key & Peele style of continuing game-y bits past what would be other shows’ logical conclusions, the simple line “I said ‘bitch’” becomes an epic journey through space and time.
30. “You Can Do Anything” (Season 2, Episode 1)
Yes, literally, kids, young kids, you can fly. You can do anything. Boys and girls ages 8 through 12, listen to my voice: You are immortal.”
29. “A Cappella” (Season 5, Episode 2)
You can’t help but imagine that K&P found themselves in a similar situation to this sketch quite often, being the only black guys in groups of white people, especially given their propensity for improv comedy (a predominantly white world). This sketch was passed around quickly and often, and it’s easy to see why. Plus: Who can resist a good “improv group” joke?
28. “Office Homophobe” (Season 3, Episode 12)
One of a number of sketches with a stereotypically gay character, but Key’s Latrell is just so memorable — and not simply because he describes a dick as a “baby arm holding onto a apple.” More kudos to the props team for their dick lollipop and scrotum cozies. Plus, this sketch includes one of the best buttons in the show’s history of stellar joke buttons: “I’m not persecuted … I’m just an asshole.”
27. “Das Negroes” (Season 1, Episode 3)
God bless Heinrich Leroy Henrich and Baron Harold SchnitzelNazi, the two clearly black men in whiteface who are visited by Ty Burrell’s ridiculous Nazi character in this sketch and proceed to convince him they are definitely not black.
26. “Urkel’s Revenge” (Season 4, Episode 4)
How do you stop a phenomenon? One of the most-shared sketches on social media at the time of its airing, this K&P classic imagines Carl Winslow’s complaints to Family Matters producers that Urkel is getting too much screen time. Peele’s Carl Winslow is spot-on. “How many times are we gonna use that transformation machine?” The darkness of this sketch is palpable, and goes farther than we imagine, all the way up to Key’s producer character’s bloody suicide and Winslow’s attempt to murder his rival.
25. “Inner City Wizard School” (Season 2, Episode 6)
The budget may be lower at Clortho Wizard School — their Quidditch games are on Swiffers, after all — but they’re doing their best. A perfectly executed mockumentary about an inner-city Hogwarts.
24. “Soul Food” (Season 1, Episode 7)
K&P one-up each other’s orders at a soul-food restaurant, from a bowl of mosquitoes, to a rusty bucket full of fish heads wrapped in razor wire, to a “dog face wrapped in an Ebony magazine.” More props go to the props team for making those final platters? Yes, more props to the props team.
23. “Teaching Center” (Season 5, Episode 4)
Shareable concept, done without a wink, played completely straight, imagining SportsCenter as a celebration of teachers. From the teacher draft, to the grades scrolling along the bottom, to the overserious car commercial, to the final highlight, this bit kills.
22. “Ray Parker Jr.’s Other Hits” (Season 5, Episode 11)
Sweet mother of God, this slayed me. Honestly, I’d put this in the top ten if I could, but I feel like it hasn’t gotten the proper “gestation” time to fully kick in, seeing as it only aired this week. Still, this faux-infomercial about Ghostbusters theme singer Ray Parker Jr. performing his previously unreleased movie theme songs — Pelican Brief and Jumanji among them — is a true highlight of the finale, and one I am currently laughing about as I type these sentences. Also, side note: Has there ever been a better summation of Apt Pupil through song? “Down in the basement, what’s going on? It’s a Apt Pupil! There’s a kid and a Nazi down there.”
21. “Levi and Cedric: Ratatouille” (Season 3, Episode 2)
Arguably the best of the Cedric and Levi sketches, in which Peele’s Levi finds a stray rat and treats him as a chef even though he shits on his own sandwiches. “I gots myself a Ratatouille, that’s all I know.”
20. “Black Ice” (Season 3, Episode 1)
Two white anchors on a local-news report keep hammering home the dangers of black ice: “It’s even more dangerous than regular ice”; “a tricky, ruthless ice.” K&P’s reactions are priceless and spot-on in this subversive bit that grows funnier with every viewing.
19. “Loco Gangsters” (Season 4, Episode 11)
Eduardo, the new guy in the Latino gang, is, like, crazy, but Carlito (Peele) wants to be the crazy one. However, his definition of crazy involves pulling his pants down and collecting multiple punch cards from the same fro-yo place. As Key’s character says, watching Carlito is similar to watching the British version of The Office, “like, funny, but sad at the same time.”
18. “Dueling Hats” (Season 2, Episode 10)
A near-perfect sketch parodying “urban hat culture,” and another chance to throw props to the K&P props team. The final winning hat is a lesson in sketch-button perfection.
17. “Town Hall Meeting” (Online Exclusive)
This list focuses on the best sketches that appeared in episodes, but for some reason I can’t fathom, this one never appeared on-air. We’ll make an exception because what Peele does with a simple eye movement in this sketch is a testament to the power of his physical-comedy prowess. Nothing made me laugh harder than his first subtle look to the camera. Comedy students should study this for years to come. Simple, beautiful, repeatable.
16. “Wendell: Pizza Order” (Season 2, Episode 5)
According to the writers, this was one of the best Peele performances in the show’s history, and it’s hard to argue with a sketch this funny and unpredictable. Wendell’s first appearance is also his best and most enduring, especially when the sketch takes its dark and warranted turn.
15. “Slap-Ass” (Season 3, Episode 3)
Peele’s Rafi character is addicted to slap-ass in the locker room, but it’s becoming an issue for his team. This became an instant K&P catchphrase, leading up to a sequel for the character in a later season (see: No. 71). We’ll never hear the phrase “slap-ass” — or look at those weird necklace things that professional baseball players wear — the same way again.
14. “Jacqueline and Denise” (Season 3, Episode 2)
Bless this sketch. Another one that is so deceptively simple, but pulled off gloriously with perfectly slow-building direction and K&P’s dedication to absurd characters. Jacqueline and Denise are two women about to fight, but first they have to remove their jewelry, their nails, their contacts, their bras, their Spanx, and their actual bodies, revealing two little girls stacked on top of each other. Key’s final line: “Y’all just saw that lady turn into two little girls, right?”
13. “Party Motivators” (Season 1, Episode 8)
As a sucker for bar mitzvah jokes of all stripes, Dr. Dreidel and Gefilte Fresh were welcome characters in the K&P lexicon. Hat tip to Peter Grosz’s character, who states, “You can’t put a price on the look on your child’s face when they see a black person for the first time.”
12. “Laron Can’t Laugh” (Season 4, Episode 5)
Peele plays Laron, a man who cannot laugh; this ends up being one of the best Peele characters on a list of many. Watching him find new ways to not-laugh like an insane person is a thing of beauty. Then that horrifying alien sound …
11. “Manly Tears” (Season 2, Episode 9)
It takes a big man to cry in front of his crew, so you shouldn’t laugh. Peele’s character voice in this destroys me, but equal points to Key for figuring out new and exciting ways not to lose his shit.
10. “Obama’s Anger Translator: Meet Luther” (Season 1, Episode 1)
The first, and still the strongest, of the anger translator bits. So young! So new! So exciting! The world was their oyster, and this sketch established K&P as a show and a brand, though subsequent revisits to Luther didn’t elicit as much of an impact, in my opinion. Still, this remains K&P’s signature sketch for many.
9. “Aerobics Meltdown” (Season 4, Episode 9)
Peele is Flash and Key is Lightning, two competitors in an ’80s-style fitness video that quickly turns into a nightmare. This was late-period K&P at their finest, thanks to the sheer bravado in which they tackle this situation, the terrifying smile on Peele’s face as we — and Key — learn the truth, and their commitment to keeping the movement flowing.
8. “Video Game Sensors” (Season 2, Episode 7)
A Wii-style game with attached sensors becomes the downfall of Key’s character, who keeps retreating to his room to break down over his ex-girlfriend while his emotional state plays out through his video-game avatar. Props to the graphics/animation team for creating hilarious avatar sadness in more ways than one. A novel idea turned into a truly wonderful sketch.
7. “Substitute Teacher” (Season 2, Episode 4)
A K&P institution that may soon be a feature film, and probably the show’s greatest use of Key’s skill at playing “exasperation,” Mr. Garvey’s introduction of A-A-Ron and De-nice will go down forever in sketch lore.
6. “Negrotown” (Season 5, Episode 11)
Prereleased online months earlier, “Negrotown” served as a climax for the finale, episode and a perfect emblem of the series as a whole. When Key is arrested by a white cop for doing nothing, he bumps his head and is transported by a magical homeless man to Negrotown, a world where black people can wear hoodies, hail cabs, and get their loans approved. With bright production values and a Music Man–style sing-along, the sketch manages to be both cutting and joyous, a tone that K&P perfected by the end of their run. The final beat — where the cop tells Key the truth about Negrotown — is aptly stark and, somehow, exactly the ending required.
5. “Insult Comic” (Season 3, Episode 6)
New sections of this sketch make me laugh every single time. Maybe it’s the way Peele says “paaaaain medication,” for instance, or “make fun of the burrrrns,” or his final devastating cry of pain. A look at hecklers through a new lens, and one of the straight-up funniest sketches the show ever gave us.
4. “Valet Guys: What About Non-Stop,Though?” (Season 2, Episode 3)
Welcome to the world, Valet Guys. Two characters K&P clearly loved to play, and another example of how a recurring sketch’s introduction often stays its prime example. Liam Neesons forever. Bruce Willises forever.
3. “Gremlins 2 Brainstorm” (Season 5, Episode 9)
K&P dropped some of their finest sketches into the final episodes, leaving us all on a wistful high note. Here, Peele is “Star Magic Jackson Jr.” — which, in a series that gave us countless incredible made-up names, is one of the all-time finest — who has arrived at the film studio to pitch ideas for Gremlins 2. Further proof positive that nobody did movie-related bits better than K&P, whether simply chatting onstage, in the car, or in sketch format. This one is just wonderfully funny and unpredictable, and left us with another classic character just in time for the finale.
2. “Continental Breakfast” (Season 3, Episode 7)
“Aren’t you a tiny plum?” As long as I live, I will never forget the way Peele gleefully bites into that damn banana. Nor will I forget combining the words fork and spoon into fpoon. This glorious exploration of one man’s ecstatic excitement for a simple hotel continental breakfast leads all the way up to a triumphant Shining button that wraps it all in a crazy bow. From the costumes to Peele’s haircut to the extras, this ridiculous premise kept notching up until it finally reached No. 2 on this very list.
1. “East/West College Bowl” (Season 2, Episode 2)
I tried not to let it come to this, I really did. Because it seemed like you were expecting it, and if nothing else, internet lists should subvert expectations, but sometimes you just can’t ignore the champion. Davoin Shower Handel. Beezer Twelve Washingbeard. The player formerly known as Mousecop. This sketch never stops being funny, never stops being shared, and at the end of K&P’s run, is still the most repeatable and everlasting of all K&P sketches. Long live the king.