“How Dey Goin’ to Kill Othello?!” Key & Peele and Shakespearean Universality
Claims for Shakespearean universality often position Shakespeare's works as resonating with all people across all time. But how far can one take such a claim? A 2013 sketch on Comedy Central's Key & Peele, entitled “Othello Tis My Shite!”, uses satire precisely in order to challenge assertions of Shakespearean universality. I argue that the sketch – which follows two Renaissance Moors, Lashawnio and Martinzion, who attend Shakespeare's Othello – suggests that Shakespeare may find the limits of speaking for “all people” when depicting black masculinity. Yet the sketch's twist ending helpfully proposes the transformative potential in Shakespeare for more effective, authentic representation.
Journal of American Studies
Corredera, Vanessa I., "“How Dey Goin’ to Kill Othello?!” Key & Peele and Shakespearean Universality" (2020). Faculty Publications. 1320.
FAR Report 2020