Key & Peele

When you watch TV today, it seems like they will just give anyone their own TV show — Remember that Caveman TV show? Me either. When a show lasts more than two seasons, they might be on to something. Once they get the third season, they get a little more respect, and by the time you hit four seasons, you’re undeniable. Key & Peele are premiering the fourth season of their sketch comedy show on Comedy Central on Wednesday (Sept. 24). The original season aired in 2012, and since then, each season has gotten more sketches. Season 1 had 8 and this newest season has a total of 20 episodes.

We spoke to the duo recently, who talked to us about Comedy Central believing in them, working on MAD TV together, and their upcoming Police Academy remake.

This is your fourth season f Key & Peele. You have done three seasons, which is at least 30 episodes of different characters. How do you keep it going?

Peele: That was a concern that we had: how do you not only keep the quality, but also take it up a notch? One thing we are very fortunate about is we have a great group of writers. We all sit down and we come up with enough material where we have to cut some really great sketches. What you end up with is 20% of actual material that we came up with. This season, also we are getting more episodes than any other season. This season, we up the episodes to 20 in total.

A big part of it is going to places we haven’t been to before and different genres we haven’t been to before.

You mentioned this season will have more episodes than ever before. Does that mean Comedy Central really believes in you and is pushing the show?

Key: You could certainly say that, it’s been building steady with each season. The first season was 8 episodes then 12, 16 and now 20. They have confidence in us and we have a great relationship with them. We have a mutual respect for each other and it makes smooth sailing for everyone involved.

I read that originally you guys were competing against each other for your own show?

Peele: We independently had interest from the network for our own shows individually. We both worked on MAD TV together and we thought we would become an undeniable force together. We felt the fans haven’t seen a comedy duo in a long time, so we wanted to bring a certain energy that’s not out there right now. We are big fans of each other’s work, so this was just a force multiplier.

Key: We did about five seasons together [on MAD TV], and within that time, we wrote tons of sketches together. Like Jordan said, it was like just picking back up where we left off.

What’s up with MAD TV? It seems like a lot of the people that worked on their show never go on to do other things. It seems like if you compare Saturday Night Live to MAD TV, the people from MAD TV do not have as much success?

Peele: MAD TV had a big turnover over the years, but a lot of our of former cast mates are on big shows. Ike Barinholtz is on The Mindy Project and he is helping us write the Police Academy remake movie. Mike McDonald directs a lot as well.

Key: Alex Bornstein is on Family Guy, and she also writes for the show. There is no way to deny Saturday Night Live, because it’s been around for 40 years. It has a history of making careers. Most shows aren’t on the air for 14 years like MAD TV was.

Peele: MAD TV always had amazing talent. At the same time, it’s not a credit that people use for a new gig. I felt like we had to convince Comedy Central we weren’t doing the same stuff we did in the past. We had to show them we were bringing something different. MAD TV is an interesting hurdle.

You mentioned a Police Academy remake?

Key: Jordan and I are going to be producing it. We aren’t sure [if we will star in it], but it’s possible. We are shepherding the project, which means we are bringing some creative choice making. When it comes down to the time to make the decision, we will see what is best for the movie.

It would be funny if you both played Steve Guttenberg, where one scene it’s Key and another scene it’s Peele.

Key: (Laughs) That would be good, that is a good idea.

Do you have favorite sketches from the show?

Key: The best sketches are where we get to screw around together. I don’t have one specific sketch, but when we just get to let it rip is my favorite.

Peele: The Liam Neeson sketch that we did is probably my favorite.

I loved the new Fargo show and I was curious, how you guys got on the show?

Peele: The producer of the show had us in mind and he just straight up asked us and we were honored.