Depending on your perspective, President Obama’s performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner Saturday night was either funny or filled with rage. Or perhaps it was funny about being filled with rage. Either way, there’s no doubt that Obama, by incorporating comedian Keegan-Michael Key into his act, went public with the anger — specifically, the black anger — that has become part of the general conversation about Obama’s time in office.
Key and partner Jordan Peele do a Comedy Central routine in which Peele, playing Obama, delivers a calm, measured speech while Key, playing Obama’s “anger translator,” named Luther, acts out what Obama is really thinking, sputtering in rage against criticism and opposition that Obama believes is based in racism. (Both Key and Peele are, like Obama, biracial.)
Key says he got the idea after seeing Republican Rep. Joe Wilson‘s “You lie!” outburst during Obama’s September 2009 speech to Congress. “I’m like, when has anybody had an outburst in this august institution before?” Key told CBS last year. “I have never seen that happen to another president who doesn’t have melanin in their skin. So why did it happen to this president?”