Google the words ‘substitute teacher’ and you’ll learn quickly why the sketch comedy show ‘Key and Peele‘ is entering its third season on Comedy Central.
Comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have earned a near cult-following both online and on-air with their humorous take on everything from a simple doctor’s visit gone wrong to a day in high school with a substitute teacher who’s unaware of pretty much everything.
“You wanna go to war Balaky?” Mr. Garvey (Key) questions a student actually named Blake in the popular sketch from the show’s second season.
The ‘Substitute Teacher’ sketch alone has more than 30 million views on YouTube. Another sketch, ‘East/West College Bowl’ boasts more than 17 million views.
The duo owns the internet and the show itself averaged some 1.5 million viewers each week last season, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Momentum for the show’s third season is at an all-time high. The secret?
“Stupid things are always funny,” Peele told theGrio.com. “We have a few sketches throughout the season that are sequels to some of our favorites […] We put a lot of care into making sure that they could…not just be a repetition of the [originals] but actually add something new…”
A new season means a new opportunity to parody events that have taken place in pop culture and society – even the more serious stories that dominated headlines, such as Trayvon Martin.
The comedians are aware of the dangers involved in tackling issues as sensitive as Martin’s death. Russell Simmons found himself in hot water when a video parody showing Harriet Tubman participating in sex acts was published through his YouTube channel ‘All Def Digital.’
“The sketch to me is a practical response to what happened in the Trayvon Martin case,” Key said. “We’re always trying to do what we can ‘comedically’ to be surprising, not shocking. So we don’t set out to shock, we set out to surprise socially, politically and pop-culture wise.
“This will be a good example of how to deal with something that touchy, that real in what we think is the right way,” Peele added.
There’s also some sketches the pair believes might catch on and achieve similar popularity as some of Season 1 and Season 2’s favorites.
“[The sketch is] about a guy on a Major League Baseball team that takes the ‘ass-slapping’ ritual of baseball to the next level,” Peele teased.
Key added another sketch he thought might take off.
“We have another sketch…a surprise party for a dude in the mafia – a surprise birthday party for a mafia hitman,” Key said.
Before these, viewers will have to settle for Key and Peele’s musical take on the Oscar-nominated musical film Les Míserables.
What could be better?
Season 3 of ‘Key and Peele’ premieres tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET on Comedy Central
Follow theGrio.com’s Correspondent Todd Johnson on Twitter @rantoddj