Featured, Pop Culture, Race & Politics

Why I’d Give An Entire Kidney To Live In Key & Peele’s “Negrotown”

Life with white folks ain’t been no luxurious affair.

It’s had tragedies in it,

And bullshit,

And patience torn up,

And times when you wanna snatch ‘em bald—

Bare…

–Excerpt from “I’se Still Shinin’,” by Alexander Hardy, 2015

Being a chocolate wonder amidst the armed Zimmerbitches and institutional hateration in the dancery is no easy feat. Contending with White Fear-n-Fuckshit on the daily is spiritually draining and has been shown to advance aging in Black men. A break from the incessant madness would surely add years to many a life.

Sometimes, dammit, I just wanna go where everybody knows my [pain], well-intentioned nice white ladies don’t ask to touch my hair and the residents don’t further beburden my Black ass life with bitchass-flavored passive aggression. A delightful place where one can do the Electric Slide while devouring fried chicken skin in the moonlight, without the Zimmerbitches and Riff Raffs and the culture vulturing, and so on.

Key & Peele had the same idea. In under five minutes, a cast of sangin’ and dancin’ ass chocolate wonders takes us on a fantastic voyage through the garden of White Fuckshit. A primer on Black frustration, if you will. A sample:

In Negrotown, you live long and well,

There’s no disease, no Sickle Cell.

No stupid ass white folks touchin’ your haaaaaair,

Or stealing your culture, claimin’ it’s theirs.

The sketch is pretty fucking brilliant. It’s almost two weeks old now, and I still cry collard green tears of joy after watching it. And after I stop crying , I plunge into despair once I remember Negrotown is but a dream. Sigh. Maybe next lifetime.

In other news, I am considering hiring Fatima to choreograph a performance of “Negrotown” in the style of the Emerald City sequence from The Wiz at my 31st birthday party.

Alex Hardy

Alexander Hardy is the dance captain for Saint Damita Jo Jackson's Royal Army. He is a writer who escaped Hampton, Virginia and is now based in Panama City, Panama. There, he runs The Colored Boy, and consumes copious amounts of chicken. He has written for EBONY.com, CNN, Gawker, and Huffington Post among other outlets. Alexander can likely be found daydreaming about his next meal or Blacking It Up on someone's dance floor. He also doesn't believe in snow or Delaware. Read more from Alex at www.thecoloredboy.com

  • AlwaysCC

    i think i might love you for introducing this to my life.

  • Darren Nesbitt

    I would assume K&P’s audience is majority Caucasoid. Because of that my mind always wonders how skits like these and those of black church ladies doing funny things hit home for them. Not that I assume any thing negative at first but I wish I maintained some of my white college friends so I could ask them what they find most funny within this show.

    • I’d honestly be curious to know who are their comedic influences are. Not the ones who everyone thinks are the most funny, but who’s styles and voices they initially copied before finding their own.

    • I’ve tried with K&P and every now and again I chuckle at a clip but it’s a lot of “black humor” for white people.

      • They have their moments but I think they would be better suited on a premium cable network.

        • Yeah, like even Chappelles show hit its stride after the uncensored DVD dropped, “clean” comedy only works so well

          • It’s interesting you brought up Dave. I think his “departure” could be one of things looming over black comedians on that network. Just a guess though.

            • miss t-lee

              Hmmm. That’s a thought.

      • Epsilonicus

        Not saying that they are close to Chappelle, however I heard similar comments about his show too.

      • I wouldn’t say all that. I think they have the type of race related humor that doesn’t make white people uncomfortable so it often comes off as soft in comparison to a long line of Black comedians who have done race related jokes/humor.

        • Sigma_Since 93

          The racist Black Zombie skit was funny

      • Sigma_Since 93

        They push the envelope a bit. The skit with the white boy’s face on the hoodie when the cops roll up was a middle finger to the Hawaiis while stating the “if it’s White, it’s all right” theory.

      • I can just hear the white people trying to repeat the K&P jokes at worknthe next day…

  • miss t-lee

    Nah.

  • Freebird

    Speaking of negrotown….npr had a story on the 14th titled “Historian says don’t sanitize how government created ghettos.” Every black person who is just a little tired and every boot strapping patriot should listen to it.

    • SC former coke head treasurer, Thomas Ravanel ran for congress back in the day and he said that on of his first acts if elected would be to eradicated HUD because “The US Govn’t shouldn’t be in the business of making ghettoes.” I sat there and thought The United States government creates ghettos everywhere. The outside of military bases can look just like some inner cities.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        *Looks at Fayetteville, Sumpter, Goldsboro, and Jacksonville.*

        Yup

        • Fayetteville……. man…

          • Sigma_Since 93

            It’s gotten a LOT better than when I was in school.

            • That’s a good thing. What’s worse is when the big green machine decides to close a base. Those neighborhoods go to h***. The area around the old Navy Yard here is the pits.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                Everyone scurries to CYA when the BRAC list comes out.

              • KB

                When they closed Ft. McClellan in Anniston where my dad grew up it was as if the town died overnight.

              • True. I once read somewhere, that the reason why so much money is spent on the military, is that without the military’s presence in certain states, their inherent bankruptcy would be blatantly exposed. A lot of municipalities are poorly managed, just like Ferguson and have few people invested in finding long-term solutions.

                • Sigma_Since 93

                  I look at Plattsburgh and Rome NY. When the military left everything went with it. When I was in NC and the base I taught at was on the BRAC list, my boss was brought in to aid with the rationale of why the base should remain open. The base had like an $60M yearly impact on the city.

                • A lot of things about the military and defense industry have turned into a massive job scheme. People lobby for bases to keep the businesses in the area open while our elected officials in both parties get fellated by various companies (who are smart enough to put plants in red and blue states) to build things our fighting men and women don’t need for the sake of reelection and employment numbers.

                  • Sigma_Since 93

                    You also factor in the communities attempting to partner with the military to help the Government offset costs (housing is a big one) and they become interdependent until the “Big Boss” has his say.

          • tgtaggie

            I hear ppl call it fayettenam

            • It is called Fayettenam

            • That’s what the bulk of the people I know black, white, or otherwise call it.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                Hay St by the Amtrak station = trouble

                • Amtrak stations in certain towns are the rail equivalent of Martin Luther King Blvds.

                  • The one in Greensboro has never given me issues. The stop in Rocky Mt is suspect as hayle!

                    • I was only in the city of Rocky Mt after dark but the whole set up seemed to be suspect. The station in North Charleston is grimey too.

                    • It’s a sleepy town that’s always given me some weird vibes. Idk if it’s warranted but I never do make it a point to stick around there long if I don’t have to.

                    • Val

                      More than weird vibes, AP. That’s the town where all those Black women went missing and still haven’t been found.

                    • One of my boys used to live near there in a town called Roanoke Rapids and we went to a club in Rocky Mount the night before his wedding (The same night as the Malice in the Palace). It was a strange place.

                    • Val

                      It’s a blast from the past to hear that name. I used to date a girl from Roanoke Rapids back in my college days.

                    • #areacodes

                    • Val

                      Huh? #areacodes?

                      And, does Sumter have a bad rep these days?

                    • As in Heaux in different Area Codes.

                      Yes, Sumter has the unfortunate moniker of “Merk City”.

                    • Val

                      Wow. Sumter used to be kind of a quiet boring little city.

                    • One of my good friends grew up there and he always told me that there were rougher parts but once the town grew so did the crime rate. SC as a whole has some crime issues it needs to address going forwards. I just hope it’s a quiet summer in my area but if the last two weeks are an indicator I think it will get worse. An unarmed woman was murdered in a case of mistaken identity on Mother’s day and a sheriff’s deputy was shot in the the back while talking to a customer at a gas station last week.

                    • Val

                      Yeah, the south side was kind of rough but still not rough by big city standards. And, if you knew a few people on the south side you could basically go anywhere there and not be bothered. Times change I guess.

                      Man, those mistaken identity murders are always scary. I think riots may be more of a problem this summer than crime tho.

                    • Yeah, a rolling gunfight started in a neighborhood on one side of town. Guys in a Saturn were shooting at a silver Chrysler 300. By the time they got to the other side of town they lost track of the 300 they were looking for and opened fire on the next 300 they say.

                      I agree with the riots too. The heat always makes things worse.

                    • I knew it was something!! This is why I always trust my gut. WTH?!?!?! *hops on over to Google*

                    • I just read the piece. One of the women shares a last name with me and is from an area not too far from where my mother has some kin.

                    • God those stories are terrifying. I’m so thankful I’ve never had to be in a position to do just anything to feed myself and that I have a family I can always turn to.

                    • Sigma_Since 93

                      I get happy when I see Rocky Mount because it’s only a 50 more minutes until I reach the in-laws house. Rocky Mount was the move back when Centura and the Hardee’s headquarters were still in existence.

                    • The Lost Girls of Rocky Mount was the last thing I heard about the place.

                    • Val

                      I had lots of fun in Greensboro. That despite it’s former rep for being one of the most racist cities in America.

                    • AlwaysCC

                      #prettygirlproblems?? lol

                    • Val

                      Lol. *bats eyes* I have no idea what you mean, FCC.

                    • AlwaysCC

                      suuuuuuuuuuuuuuure you don’t lol

                    • I had no idea Greensboro had that rep but it doesn’t surprise me.

                    • Val

                      Yep, it was bad back in the day. Lots of Klan there.

        • Julian Green

          Sumter…Lord have mercy.

    • It is true, ghetto-izing is a very old western tradition, that goes all the way to how the Jews were segregated in Europe centuries past. They were also doing the same thing to Italians when the first batch of immigrants came over in early 19th century. It’s a European thing to do all that you can to fight the immersion of other ethnicities and races, on an almost populist level, and then as society grows, it’s the job of the educators to erase such acts from the history books, in the name of “unity” and “nationalism.”

      As with most things having to deal with white folks, effed up things have been going on for quite some time, As for the real estate aspects, FDR came from the same environment that produced Robert Moses, who being perhaps the most ingeniously corrupt social planner/developer perhaps in World history, trembled in the presence of FDR at how blatant and shameless he was in exercising power. FDR basically used Robert Moses method of developing the city of NY as the foundation of his New Deal. If you can understand the logic of how NYC was modernized, and you can juxtapose that same approach to the nation as a whole, you could easily have foretold back then that black people were going to get screwed. The legacy continues.

  • I couldn’t wear all those bright colors.

    • Say no to Zoom suits

    • Negrotown where everyone dresses like it’s Easter Sunday everyday.

      • miss t-lee

        Complete with now and later gators.

        • With belts to match.

          • miss t-lee

            YASSS.

            Now I wanna hear that song, btw.

  • KB

    Key & Peele’s show is effin hilarious. One of my favorite skits is the hat duel

    Key & Peele – Dueling Hats: https://youtu.be/i5ZM0-f5_CU

    and of course the east vs west college all star game

    Key & Peele – East/West College Bowl: https://youtu.be/gODZzSOelss

    • Epsilonicus

      I love the one where they were at the restaurant tryna eat them ost black food possible. That skit was hilarious.

      Oh and the one where they are the President and giving the most wack hand shakes to white folks.

      • Kema

        I found the president skit funny but (imo) most of their skits seem to be missing that ‘something’ that would make it funny.

        • miss t-lee

          This is how I feel.
          I watch most of their stuff and I’m annoyed because I feel like I need that time of my life back.

          • Did you ever see the Amy Schumer skit Football Town Friday Night which is a satire of Friday Night Lights?

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TM2RUVnTlvs

            • miss t-lee

              I did.

            • LehcarB

              She has been killing it this season!

              “What if she says yes then changes her mind,like a crazy person?” LMAO

              • I’m not her biggest fan but the 12 Angry Men episodes was a middle finger to network execs and how women on TV are treated or viewed was brilliant.

                • LehcarB

                  Also brilliant. Her writers get major props from me.

            • Kema

              I love this skit!!! lol!

            • Damon Young

              this was awesome. she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite comedians

            • Cleojonz

              LOL @ her glasses getting bigger.

            • godizus

              Yeah, this chick is actually pretty funny to me

          • PunchDrunkLove

            LOL….right

        • I think most of their bits go on too long and the joke dies…. I.e. The hat one posted upthread

        • @miss_t_lee:disqus Like they are funny but seem to be holding a comedy equivalent of a Big Joker but won’t play it for some reason.

          • miss t-lee

            Might be.
            I’m just saying they’ve never done anything that’s made me cry from laughter.

            • Kema

              They get a small chuckle and I think about how funny it would have been if Chappele had did the skit.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                Come to think of it….it’s almost like the Ninja family skit.

              • miss t-lee

                Well, sh*t. LOL

              • KB

                Why do you think it would have been funnier if Chappelle had done the skit?

                • Kema

                  Because he was funnier. lol! Every skit wasn’t hilarious but the ones that were blew you away. K&P seem mediocre. They aren’t crappy though.

    • The bowl game skits were actually good.

  • Meh.

  • kenyadigit

    You could just move to PG.

  • PunchDrunkLove

    I have tried and tried, but I cannot find ANYTHING funny about their skits. So, I’ve given up. They are “unfunny” to me

    • Amber

      I’ve only found a few skits that i like. But in general I think their comedy is for a certain group of folks.

      • Damon Young

        what group, if you don’t mind me asking?

        • Amber

          I was actually going back to edit my statement. Because it’s not really a particular group but their comedy is more accessible acceptable to the mainstream audience which isn’t necessarily indicative of race it’s just general and sometimes safe comedy. Which means sometimes it work sometimes I wish it were edgier.

      • PunchDrunkLove

        I agree

      • Sigma_Since 93

        It feels like K&P is like Barrack Obama pre Presidency…Black but maybe not Black enough. Do we punish them for not coming up through the “proper” comedy channels?

        • Amber

          I don’t I guess their comedy is sometimes pretty generic. I don’t mean to say it’s not black enough because I hate to define or limit blackness

        • KB

          Good question

        • Kema

          I’d say its just not funny enough.

          • Freebird

            thats all it is.

        • Epsilonicus

          “Black but maybe not Black enough.”

          I really hate this concept

    • Delia

      Did you try watching “Georgina and Esther” or “Office Homophobe”? They caught my attention after those skits.

      • PunchDrunkLove

        Honestly I didn’t, but I watched Negrotown and I did and I must admit it was funny

  • Damon Young

    i wonder how much of some of the “eh” some of you are expressing about key & peele is due to unfamiliarity. with chappelle, he was a star before his show. we’d seen his stand ups numerous times, seen him in numerous movies, and knew he was friends with dozens of other black artists we loved. basically, we knew him. so, even with the skits that didn’t work — and there were a TON that didn’t if you rewatch that show — we gave him the benefit of the doubt.

    i don’t think key & peele gets that with some of us. because we (collectively) don’t have the same history with them that we had with chappelle or even the wayans family before they created in living color, some of us might be a bit more suspicious of their motives and their “true” audience.

    • miss t-lee

      I’m not unfamiliar with them. I remember both them kats from MadTv.
      If you ain’t hittin’ with me, you just ain’t hittin’.

      • KB

        That is where I first saw them perform.

      • Damon Young

        yeah, i know some of us remember them from madtv. but it’s just not the same type of history/familiarity as what we had with chappelle.

        And for some, I’m sure it’s just a matter of taste. but, i do think some of us are a bit more skeptical of these relatively unknown biracial cats doing this type of racial humor than we would be if it were black comedians we had more of a history with

        • miss t-lee

          I don’t care what race they are.
          If you’re unfunny, you’re just unfunny.

          • Kema

            Thank you!!!! Being 80%+ black would not make them funnier. Only being funnier would.

            • miss t-lee

              I thought I was in the twilight zone for a second.
              Thank you for keeping it 100.

          • Freebird

            yeah….they need better writers.

        • Sarita Alexander

          I remember them. I didn’t think they were funny then, and i don’t think they’re funny now. if anything, they get a pass because they’re black. 1/2 of their skits would not be done if they were white.

          they’re just not funny. *shrugs*

        • MysteryMeat

          This is the reason Ive never paid them any attention. The first only people Ive heard talk about them are white girls in the office. Like I legit haven’t watched them because of this even though I loved MadTv.

      • I honestly think they were funnier at times on MadTV.

        • miss t-lee

          Also.

        • KB

          Comedy sketch shows are very hit and miss. As much as we loved the Chappelle’s show, he had some skits that were flat. For every “Rick James True Hollywood Story” you had those that didn’t quite hit the mark.

          • Yep. All of that s**t with Lil Jon sucked. Black Bush and the Prince skits were the funniest to me.

            • I laughed the first time I saw Lil Jon but the bit got dated fast

            • tgtaggie

              I think the funniest one I saw was the one with Wayne Brady

              • Sam Jackson beer very underrated

              • miss t-lee

                Yes.
                That was my fave Chapelle show sketch.

                • tgtaggie

                  Does Wayne Brady has to choke a b*tch? Lol

                  • Sigma_Since 93

                    Still funny to this day.

                  • miss t-lee

                    Still hilarious.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                Another comic that gets the meh from black folk.

          • For a sketch show the Chappelle show was Barry Bonds with the batting average.

            • KB

              I wonder if a part of that is due to its limited run and our sort of revisionism when it comes to the show. It was great no doubt, but are we looking back on it with rose-colored glasses?

              • The short run definitely helps but I’m sure all of us that watched the show could easily rattle off 20 different sketches that we thought were absolutely hilarious.

                • Like I said down thread it was the DVDs /binge watch… Watching week to week you could see the misses, but you watch 4 episodes in 60 minutes you remember more hits

          • There’s always hits and misses with sketch comedy….i would say most sound funnier when written than executed. With K&P I feel like they take one joke and build a 5 minute bit around it and it falls flat routinely

            • Ex. The battle rap sketch which ends with an Of Mice and Men reference.

      • Brandon Allen

        I’ve always thought Peele was carrying Key. Peeles funnier.

        • miss t-lee

          Hmmm. You might be onto something.

        • AlwaysCC

          i think Peele’s funnier, too. i just like his type of humor better.

        • I think Peele is more well rounded while Key just hams it up

    • Sigma_Since 93

      MAD TV < Living Color

      I wonder if John Candy, Martin Short and crew felt the same way when SCTV was on at the same time as SNL. Are we seeing the same thing here?

      • DrTed Nelson

        IMO it’s hard to compare the two, because SCTV had such a limited run on US Network TV, and was also based around a single narrative structure with more of a background in Long Form Improv vs. Sketch.

    • I wouldn’t say that about Chappelle.

      Chappelle had done some works, but he was relatively unknown and obscure, this is kind of why Comedy Central wasn’t paying him anything his first season. Chappelle was a low key comedian that had a film that had a cult following, but not him as a person. Chappelle never got a pass or a benefit of the doubt, his show was genius and unprecedented – he overwhelmed skeptics. (As a comedian, you can do popular works and still be unknown, take Patrice Oneal who was in the 25th Hour and was in the first Playa Haters Skit, he achieved more fame from dying than any of those works ever did.)

      Key and Peele kind of exist in a post-Chappelle world, where even though they bring their own different thing, they’re still working in the framework he set, which pretty much uplifted the entire Comedy Central. In general, that’s the nature of the network they are working with, they are great, but in order for them to reach that level to attract other people, especially black people, they’re probably going to have to come up with something unprecedented too.

    • I think they’re hilarious, and they say out loud just what some of us are thinking

    • MsSula

      It feels like people are expecting to laugh out loud. My take on Key & Peele is that it’s actually pretty(very) smart social commentary that will make you smile. Instead of Laugh Out Loud type funny as with the Chapelle show. To me, the Chapelle show while great was drowned by the “funny” the social commentary got lost. Here I find the balance to be more accurate. I like it.

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