Comedians Are Whiffing On Obama

Yelling doesn't make the words you're yelling any funnier. This is especially the case when the yeller is a black man. That's the black comedian crutch, right? Don't have anything smart or clever to say — yell something and bug your eyes.

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are actually resonating on a cultural and comedic level with their Comedy Central sketch show Key & Peele — it's a smart and provocative show that has a chance to begin filling the gaping void left by the departed Dave Chapelle. But, they're whiffing on Obama. One of the recurring skits features Peele as a low-key, calculated and diplomatic Barack Obama and Key as Luther, his angry translator. Luther yells and bug his eyes a lot, uses a lot of profanity — it's simple-minded stuff. In the most recent skit, they do the M.C. Hammer to celebrate Obama's win. Seriously, who would even chuckle at this?

We're going on about six years of Obama as a national figure and canvas for skewering and parody. Attempts have been made, but everyone is falling short. Jay Pharoah has all of Obama's mannerisms and physical/vocal quirks down pat — it's just that the dude isn't that funny. The Key & Peele sketch is a circus. James Davis has had his moments, but he's hit-or-miss, too. Nothing's reached the Tina Fey-Sarah Palin/Will Ferrell-Dubya levels; and none seem to be on the horizon.

We only have four years left, comedians. Do better.


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