The end of Barack Obama administration Friday also means the end of Luther, Obama’s Anger Translator.
While the 44th President was cool and calm in the Oval Office, what he really was thinking was interpreted in the character created by Keenan Michael Key in “Key & Peele.”
Key performed it most memorably with Obama himself in a perfectly timed segment at the 2015 White House Correspondents Dinner.
While on the set of “Playing House,” the USA network comedy in which he plays Mark Rodriguez, I asked him about the change at the top.
“It was probably certainly one of the defining experiences of my life, both personally and professionally,” Key said. “He will be sorely missed because he is he’s a person who, with a lot of facility and a lot of aplomb, understands satire and appreciates satire. He’s such an intelligent human being. And so, it was nice to have a real comedy fan in the White House. And he will be sorely missed for so many reasons.”
As for what’s coming, he says, “it’s going to be interesting.”
Obama was something of “a challenge that was presented to all comedians eight years ago because of his apparent grace. And now that that’s no longer going to exist.”
“He was such a fantastic straight man,” Key says of the president. “He was too elegant, too competent, and too graceful. And now now, we have this embarrassment of riches, and we don’t even really know what to do with it.”
With a reality TV star in the Oval Office, the comedic possibilities will be overflowing, Key says. “I think the abundance is almost going to be too much.”
He quotes his partner Jordan Peele, who told him, “If you wrote all of this in a Robert Ludlum novel, the editor would throw it back in Robert Ludlum’s face and go, ‘This is a piece of shit. You can’t do this! This is not real!’”
And making fun of something with inherent humor is difficult. “It happened quite a few times where we’d submit a parody of a scene a scene that was a parody, and Comedy Central would go, ‘What you’ve written isn’t as ridiculous as the commercial of your parody.’ And that’s what’s happening right now.”
But he does have an idea for a Luther replacement for the new president.
“Since I spent the last five years playing id, I guess I would be the superego,” Key says. ” He’s already got a superego…he certainly doesn’t need an anger translator. He has Twitter for that.
“So, it would probably Captain Reluctant, you know, or like, Captain Reticent — ‘Wait! Can we think about this for one moment?’” he adds in a peeved voice. “I think he would be like Wolverine, where he’d have to have several lives. Because he’d say, ‘Well, let’s just think about it,’ and then, Trump would murder him. And he would come back to life every day.”
Or, he added, Abe Lincoln and the ghost of any Republican who represents “traditional actual conservative values” spinning in his grave — “and just have a shot of that person’s grave, and just them spinning and spinning and spinning — and making hydroelectricity for our nation!”