Key & Peele’s director Peter Atencio on his favorite Key & Peele sketch: “Aerobics Meltdown”

Last night’s episode of Key & Peele featured a dark satirical sketch that opened with the words: “Everything you are about to see is true.”

It then takes us back to the 1987 “Jazz Fit Champonship” where the two finalists, Flash and Lightning, receive some life-and-death information during their already sudden-death dance-off. Like much of what makes Key & Peele a critical hit for Comedy Central, this “Aerobics Meltdown” sketch is not only tightly-written and perfectly executed, but also and perhaps more importantly, produced with such visual flair that each sketch with Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele plays out like a mini-movie.

Their director, Peter Atencio, opened up today on his Tumblr about why this one was his favorite.

Key & Peele – Aerobics Meltdown (Keep Dancing)

Here it is, my favorite Key & Peele sketch of the season, and possibly ever. This sketch exists because of the brilliance of Rebecca Drysdale, who wrote a script that I immediately fell in love with for it’s darkness and scope. Then we added the combined talent of Charles Papert absolutely nailing the look for both the period broadcast footage as well as the narrative behind-the-scenes pieces, Gary Kordan and his team delivering an authentic and wonderfully detailed set and faux-backstage world for the actors to play in, and Beth Morgan SanfordMelody KoerberScott Wheeler, and Amanda Mofield doing an incredible job making everyone look just right with their combined eye to detail in wardrobe, makeup, and hair, respectively. Once we were on set, Kathryn Burns provided the beautiful and hilarious choreography, guiding both Keegan and Jordan as well as our amazing background dancers to perfection. Keegan and Jordan displayed incredible stamina, dancing for 8 hours and still giving masterful performances, and Hal Rudnick and Clint Howard added an amazing comedic touch to their characters, bringing depth to the entire piece. After we shot, the whole thing was masterfully cut by Christian Hoffman, who waded through hours of footage to find the perfect moments with which to tell the story. Every part of this one came together so wonderfully, and for me it’s a testament to the fact that everyone on our show can collaborate to make something incredibly unique. It’s funny and emotional and disturbing and very, very unlike anything you’d see on any other show. That’s why it’s my favorite sketch.

Roll the clip!

And here is the inspiration for it. For real. From the 1987 Crystal Light National Aerobic Championship. Hosted by Alan Thicke.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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