Key and Peele address SNL’s lack of black female cast members

Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are striking all of the right comedic chords for Comedy Central.

The cable network just renewed their hit sketch series Key & Peele for a fourth season. This week, a Deadline report revealed the the two are working with producer Judd Apatow on a movie project for Universal Pictures.

Key and Peele’s sketches, which spoof everything from freestyle rap battles to slave auctions, have attracted more than 400 million views on YouTube.

“We’re in a very interesting, rarified position right now,” Key said of the show’s success both on cable and online. “We’re not even sure exactly where we fit in that picture, but we’re in the middle of it. We’re in the middle of it. We’re right in between these two worlds. We don’t know how it’s going to merge, how it’s going to meld or what the next incarnation is – but it’s exciting.”

Peele said their experience together performing on Fox’s MAD TV helped prepare them in many ways for their time on Comedy Central. YouTube popularity wasn’t really a ‘thing’ then, like it is now.

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“The cool thing about the online success is that people have kind of a more personal relationship with us,” Peele said. “There’s something about watching something online that feels more intimate…where as TV has more of an ‘event, communal’ [feeling].”

Key and Peele also weighed in on the lack of black female comedians on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. In September, SNL cast member Jay Pharaoh said his show needed to “pay attention” to this issue and “follow up” on their efforts to pursue black women for the show.

Fellow SNL cast member Kenan Thompson attributed the lack of diversity to show producers being unable to find black women who are “ready” during auditions.

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“It’s clearly apparent that it’s lacking [diversity],” Key said. “It seems to me that that would be to your detriment because there’s another whole part of the mosaic that could be woven into your show and explored. And if you don’t do it, then it’s like your neglecting an avenue that could reap benefits for you.”

Peele agreed and said the duo knows black women who are as “ready as anybody” to be on SNL.

“Granted, sketch and improv is a white-male dominated field,” Peele said. “At the same time, we know a lot of black females that we would consider ready – as ready as anybody.”

And then Key and Peele named some names:

“Regardless of skin [color] or gender, these women are just some of the funniest people we know,” Peele added.

TheGrio.com will post Part 2 of its interview with Key and Peele on Saturday.

Follow theGrio.com’s Correspondent Todd Johnson on Twitter @rantoddj