Comedy Central duo Key and Peele are on a roll. After landing on the cover of New York Times Sunday Magazine last year, this week they are cover boys for national weekly news magazine Time. It’s the Ideas Issue, and Key and Peele offer an opinion piece about comedy that may or may not make you laugh, but at the very least will make you think. Check it out below:
Would you make fun of a burn victim? Well, we did. Sort of… We’re comics. In the most recent season of our TV show, in a sketch titled “Insult Comic,” a traditional stand-up comedian professes that he is “going to get everybody” in his set (the guy toward the front with big ears, the fat guy, the woman with comically large breasts). That’s the phrase, isn’t it, when a critic wants to praise a comedian for the fearless nature of his or her comedy? That he or she “gets everybody”? That “nobody is safe”? One of the club patrons in our sketch, however, is a wheelchair-bound burn victim. “You skipped me,” he calls from the audience, with a robotic-sounding artificial larynx. “Go for it,” he says, “I can take it.”
But can we, as a society, take it anymore?
Today it seems that we live in a world of extremes. On one end of the spectrum, we have anonymous Internet trolls looking for opportunities to dole out cruelty with impunity. But in mainstream culture, it often seems we’re drowning in a sea of political correctness that lapped up on our shores a couple of decades ago and has yet to recede.
It’s amazing to think how popular television shows like All in the Family and Good Times might fare today in a Hollywood pitch meeting. Films like Blazing Saddles and Silver Streak wouldn’t make it past the development stage at a studio. Too edgy.