TV Club: Key & Peele’s Super Bowl Special

Making fun of professional football isn’t hard to do. I love football—but the ethical contradictions, hyperbole, and all-consuming self-seriousness of the enterprise must be acknowledged by any fan not blind (and/or blind drunk) with Super Bowl fever. Fashioning a sketch show around those contradictions, however, risks falling into cliché—dumb jock jokes, topical impressions, the looming specter this year of people solemnly saying the word “balls” a lot. A lot of comedy landmines there.

Enter Key & Peele (and Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele), reteaming after the end of a solid fourth season to give us an hour of consistently funny and surprising football sketches in preparation for the big game. Not all of them hit big, but, as is to be expected from two of the best sketch comedy writer-performers on television, the thematic experiment was a mostly rousing success. (I’d say “touchdown,” but, in …

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