Dave Chappelle has been kind of critical of Key & Peele in the past. Maybe critical isn't the right word: He's been profane about his belief that he created their comedy lane. He's also taken light jabs at the duo in the past.
"Put some respect on my name," he said at last year's Roots Picnic. "Y'all don't know what I've been through, watching Key & Peele do my show the last five fucking years.”
He tells King that “certain conventions of [Chappelle's Show] show that the network resisted.”
“I fought the network very hard so that those conventions could come to fruition,” Chappelle said. “So, like the first episode I do, that black white supremacist sketch. And it’s like, ‘Well, that’s 10 minutes long. It should be five minutes long.’ Why should it be five minutes long? Like, these types of conventions. I fought very hard…So when I watch Key & Peele and I see they’re doing a format that I created, and at the end of the show, it says, ‘Created by Key & Peele,’ that hurts my feelings.”
The question of comedy ownership is always a thorny one. Dave Chappelle would have never existed without a host of preceding Black comedians like Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor, and even (sorry to say) Bill Cosby. I don't think that's a particularly controversial statement, and I'm sure Chappelle would agree. His show might also not have existed without pioneering predominantly-Black sketch shows like In Living Color, which launched the stars of the Wayans clan, Jennifer Lopez, and Jim Carrey.
So, yeah, Key & Peele occupied the lane of personality-driven Black sketch show unafraid to comment on race, but it did so in a way that was wholly distinct from how Chappelle and writing partner Neal Brennan did so. All that being said, he has a point. You can draw a direct line between the two shows.
We're honestly just happy to have Chappelle back, as he will be on Tuesday with two specials on Netflix.