Key & Peele wrapped up their third season last night and the Comedy Central sketch show is stronger than ever. Some highlights from the finale that I aren’t on this list (because they’re not available online yet) include “Pussy On The Chainwax” and “Anne Hathaways.” In fact, the “Anne Hathaways” sketch featuring the recurring characters of two valets who get very excited about their favorite actors, is the perfect example of what Key & Peele does so well. In addition to delivering hilarious, energetic character work, the sketch touched on the weird and pervasive Anne Hathaway hate that’s gripping our nation. Why do we hate someone whose biggest crime is caring too much? Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele always manage to work in great social commentary into a show already packed with solid comedy. Of course, as you’ll see from this list, usually the social commentary is a little more sophisticated than “why do we hate this skinny white actress and love this one?” They touch on race, politics, gender and sexuality. They do so skillfully, incisively and sometimes without us even noticing. Between the excellent wig and facial hair work, the astonishingly great accents and dialects and the unmatchable energy of both Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, this somehow became the best sketch comedy show on television. I know they have an advantage over “SNL” in that they’re not recording live or working around stiff or inexperienced guest hosts, but that doesn’t change the fact that sketch for sketch they blow “SNL” and all other comers out of the water. If you’re not watching yet, catch up. They’ll be back for Season 4 in 2014 and, in the meantime, here are the highlights from Season 3.
15. Gangsta Acting Scene: I’m not saying this is directed at Idris Elba, but it’s definitely directed at Idris Elba. Apologies for the quality.
14. Fighting Meegan’s Battles: I’m including this sketch so we can pay homage to how willing and eager the guys are to dress in drag. Makes me nostalgic for The Kids In The Hall.
13. Continental Breakfast: Part of Key & Peele’s Halloween episode, this sketch didn’t really grab me until the movie reference at the end.
12. East West Conference Bowl 2: One of the most popular sketches from the previous seasons is back. This one ranked low because I thought the sketch was so great the first time and there was no way a sequel could live up. But it ranked at all because of Benedict Cumberbatch.
11. Cat Poster: Fun Usual Suspects spoof with an added twist at the end. What would it be without that extra twist?
10. Obama Shutdown: One of the best Key & Peele sketches, the one that first got them really noticed, featured Luther, Barack Obama’s anger translator. Here’s a sketch introducing Michelle’s anger translator. If you don’t lose it at the cave/heat seeking missile part, then I don’t want to know you.
9. Les Mis: It’s harder than you’d think to pull off a successful musical spoof. You have to a) be a good singer b) understand the music you’re spoofing and c) have something interesting to say. They nail all three criteria here and achieve extra credit for the Anne Hathaway nod and the excellent Colm Wilkinson impression.
8. Second Amendment: I love this bewigged take on the gun control problem with a Terminator/Skynet twist.
7. Mr. T PSAs: This ranks so high not because it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, but because it absolutely nails the doofiness of 80s era PSAs. Who better to teach you valuable life lessons than Mr. T? Besides, Jordan must have had so much fun with his Mr. T experience.
6. Lando Fan: Mr. T is all well and good, but we know who the coolest black dude of the 80s was and Keegan-Michael gets to play him here as a swaggering asshole who’s complicit in keeping other intergalactic black dudes down.
5. Walking Dead Extras This should look familiar to those of us who watch AMC’s zombie show. Bet you never thought of it from the zombie extra’s perspective, did you? DID YOU?
4. Office Homophobe: This show plays with homosexual characters in a way that other shows are either too inept or too afraid to. K & P skate the line of offensive but, as this sketch and the LaShawn and Samuel sketches show, they know what they’re doing and it always comes back around.
3. Othello Is My Shite: Key and Peele are self-professed nerds so the casting of Gaius Baltar (James Callis) as Shakespeare is an extra little geeky delight. The best part, of course, is the literal translation of modern idioms into Elizabethan English. I doth not purchase it, indeed.
2. Sex With Black Guys: When this sketch started I thought it was going to be all about the guys talking Game Of Thrones at the bar. I want that sketch, please. Make that sketch next. But once the real premise reveals itself, Key and Peele accomplish so much with just their facial expressions. Do you think that’s because, as black actors-no I can’t pull that joke off. Africa!
1. Cunnilingus Class: No doubt the best sketch of the season. Is that my female bias talking? Maybe. I’m not sure it needed the reveal at the end, I already had tears streaming down my face. Practice on a peach, boys.