"Quarterback Concussion" - Key & Peele Review

Key & Peele
“Quarterback Concussion”
Season 4, Episode 5

Chad White, Rating: Oh I See

Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele write some of the funniest, smartest and most thought provoking sketches in recent memory. But the two are not safe from using slapstick. Enter the cold open of tonight’s episode. It’s not so much that they went blue, it’s just that penis and fart jokes are just so easy to make. What really makes it interesting is the way a comedian is able to turn the tides of the tired joke to make it funny again. That’s something that they didn’t do here but maybe next time.

The following sketch is tonight’s titular sketch. It begins with one of the most cinematic shots of the series. Shot in wide screen, there are dark colors with an intense rain storm. Two football teams are facing off against each other. Music that belongs in a movie even takes over the soundtrack. I actually thought it was a trailer for a movie or something. Then I realized that I was watching a press copy and suddenly realized I’m an idiot. So a player gets hit hard and comes up seemingly okay. It turns out that he has a concussion but we only get that notion during his conversation with his team. He mixes up his teammates names with cartoon characters and says other dumb things. It’s pretty obvious that this is a commentary on football injuries. There’s nothing more here than a one note joke, however.

In the next sketch, Rashida Jones plays Jordan Peele’s dying wife. He wakes to hear her say her final words. But when she asks him to not sleep with another woman, he won’t say yes or anything like it. “Your request has been filed” he says to her after several indistinct words. This is a demanding task to ask any man. Peele is a young guy, he’s got to move on at some point. She then asks him not to look at porn or masturbate. His answers that follow are vague. He only makes strange noises while maybe mumbling some words. It’s what every man would do in this situation. Don’t even try and lie to yourself.

The next scene opens with four guys in a living room with Key telling stories. Once a punchline is told, Peele’s character can’t laugh like a normal human being. He keeps his face as straight as possible with his mouth agape and kind of just squirms his body around. It looks as though he’s a mannequin with no ability to make sounds. Or it looks like some sort of seizure. He really needs help. Key and the other two men tell him his laugh is weird but he disregards it. The ending is strange, as though they couldn’t find a proper one. He finally lets out a laugh but it’s an incessant noise that makes ears bleed.

Finally, a stand out sketch follows after a set of strangely unfunny ones. The duo play Macedonian restaurateurs (with Key in the lead and Peele taking second) that are passionate about their food. A couple comes in and swears that kebapi from across the street at the Albanian restaurant is the same as the one here (There is actually a difference, I’ve learned. One is pronounced “kebapi” and the other is cevapi. That couple was ignorant). Like any self-respecting restaurant owner, Key flips out. His over the top voice comes in handy as he tries to explain the difference between the pronunciations of the dish. Ultimately, the couple runs across the street to the Albanian eatery where Peele is the owner and Key is the underling. This was by far the best sketch of the night although it’s not saying much.

Finally, the last sketch is as disappointing as the rest of the episode. Key comes home to accuse his wife of cheating. He foolishly says that she is sleeping with a dog. Enter: a small white dog. The two go at it but, just as the fight erupts, a dread headed and naked Peele opens the bedroom door. He picks up his dog and Key is still clueless. It didn’t really elicit laughs but it was clever.

Like most of tonight’s episode, endings are proving to be tough. The quarterback sketch just seem to drift off much like the wife cheating sketch. The middle three (wife dying, not laughing and Macedonian restaurateurs) are the only ones that got enough attention to get some sort of resolution. Even then the laughing sketch had a sort of limp ending.

Should you watch “Quarterback Concussion?”

You could miss this episode entirely. That being said, there were a few good jokes in here. I’m not entirely hip to all of the sketches however. The dying wife could’ve ended better and the same can be said of almost all of them. That sketch is the only one I will probably remember though.