'Key & Peele': Comedy Central's new sketch show leverages familiar format

key-peele-comedy-central.jpgIt's been nearly six years since " Chappelle's Show" left Comedy Central, and the cable network has been looking for a breakthrough sketch show ever since. Their newest entry features a couple of " MADtv" alums, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele.

" Key & Peele" will offer edgy comedy bits mixed in with stand up routines. If this structure sounds familiar, it's exactly what Dave Chappelle delivered when he was on the network. The two comics acknowledge the Chappelle's influence and the similarities, but they have a explanation for this comparable format.

"The world doesn't really know us, and we just felt like there needed to be some kind of connection to introduce us to the world," Peele says at the Television Critics Association Winter press tour. He adds that the stand up numbers allow them to do that.

The comics says that their sketches will satirize broader societal issues, race and politics.

"Part of the sketch, is you have to be pushing the boundary of sketch...You have to be saying something new," Peele says. "We can explore stereotypes or the lack thereof from a new way."

But even with the sharp satire they promise, the one thing viewers of the show won't see is anything mean spirited.

"We hate people being mean in comedy for no reason," Key says. "Everything we do, we always grind, grind, grind on the game of the scene to try to figure out a funny foundation first...and then we'll put whatever the filter is on top of it."

The series debuts on Comedy Central on Jan 31. 

Photo/Video credit: Comedy Central