Can humor lead us to racial harmony? Comedians Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele seem to think so. In their political and cultural risk-taking sketch comedy show on Comedy Central, Key and Peele push the boundaries on comfortability to reveal truths that many deem taboo, while others consider them to be well-timed and refreshing.
Key and Peele grace the cover and share their comedic-manifesto in the pages of TIME for this month’s “Idea Issue,” revealing the heartbeat of their comedic movement: make fun of everything.
Their philosophy of making nothing off-limits, could propel our society to be fearless when it comes to being honest and open about the things that make us different, challenge us, or are remnants of a tempestuous racial past.
“It can be scary. We don’t want to lose our audience. Can we make them laugh at a sketch about slavery? Terrorism? The Holocaust?” they ask.
Key and Peele have managed to keep their quipping fingers on the pulse of an engaged audience, and have been granted a 4th season of the satirical show. They have taken the position of proud comedic voices who aspire to return America to a place where we can be didactic in our humor, participate by calling cultures out and by not shying away from being the topic of discussion. No one is left out in their brand of comedy, that is their proclaimed “duty,” adding:
“To not make fun of something is, we believe, itself a form of bullying When a humorist makes the conscious decision to exclude a group from derision, isn’t he or she implying that the members of that group are not capable of self-reflection? Or don’t possess the mental faculties to recognize the nuances of satire? A group that’s excluded never gets the opportunity to join in the greater human conversation.”