During the Obama presidency, blunt and biting honesty was nowhere to be found in this venue.
Comedy is a powerful tool. In many ways, the ability to tell a joke is one of the best examples of free speech. In its purest form, it doesn’t matter if comedy is politically incorrect, if it offends the powers that be, or if it pushes cultural boundaries. All that is supposed to matter is that it is funny and honest.
That biting honesty has been lacking in mainstream comedy for eight years. Power was not kept in check by satirists, and a fumbling administration was not just given a free pass by most comedians, but many downright used their comedic tools to celebrate the outgoing president. The powerful tool of comedy was used to celebrate power instead of humbling it.
There were perhaps no better examples of this than the Luther/Obama skits from Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele.” Comic actors Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael-Key have performed in skits throughout Obama’s presidency, with Peele taking on the role of an always calm and collected Obama, while Key takes on the role of Luther — Obama’s “anger translator.”
While Peele and Key have created numerous viral comedy bits, the Luther sketches have been embarrassing for the comedians. You get to watch as two talented artists use their tools to service the government and play partisan politics.