Screengrab via Comedy Central

Key and Peele bring back Obama’s ‘anger translator’ for riotous farewell address

'Don't you underSTAND?! This is how 'The Hunger Games' starts!!'


Monica Riese


Posted on Jan 6, 2017   Updated on May 25, 2021, 6:22 am CDT

Since the historic outcome of the Nov. 8 election, many Americans have struggled to find the words to express their anger, frustration, confusion, or outrage over President-elect Donald Trump or his supporters. Struggle no more.

On last night’s Daily Show, Keegan-Michael Key premiered his latest work as Barack Obama’s “anger translator,” who first tickled the nation after a White House Correspondents Dinner and now returns to colorfully annotate Jordan Peele’s version of Obama’s farewell address. The translator, Luther, has purportedly promised to be on his best behavior for this appearance, but, well, quickly loses his shit.

It’s impossible to pick a favorite quote from Luther’s escalating rage spiral: “We got a naked Ruski on horseback gon’ be runnin’ the show,” “this is how The Hunger Games starts,” “outdated Electoral College mumbo-jumbo voodoo bullshit,” and “apparently orange IS the new black” are leading contenders. But he does offer two glimmering insights: why Trump ran in the first place (too many red hats), and what Obama’s letter to Trump in the desk of the Oval Office might say. (Jury’s out on how much of any of it is accurate: Obama will deliver the real farewell address Jan. 10 from Chicago.) 

Luther is delightful, but it’s Peele’s perfectly poised delivery as Obama that deserves real praise. You can almost see the fury flickering behind his pupils before Luther unleashes it, yet he keeps a perfectly straight face as Key flails and kicks and paces around behind him.

Noah, for his part, had no words and could only bow down to the comedy maestros. Key mentioned that he and Peele have been working on new material since their show wrapped in 2015, so stay tuned to see if they’ve found a new way to repurpose these characters or any others in a Trump presidency.

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*First Published: Jan 6, 2017, 9:19 am CST