Let it never be said that Key and Peele don’t appreciate a tribute. As the old saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
The comedy duo was most certainly flattered by Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller paying homage to a Key & Peele skit with one of his celebratory sack dances in a game versus the Kansas City Chiefs last season. That was a costly tribute by Miller, however, as the NFL fined him nearly $12,000 for his suggestive Hingle McCringleberry end zone dance. (The amount of the fine was cumulative, as Miller performed the celebration more than once during the season.)
— Richard Hardy (@BossHardy202) September 18, 2015
If you don’t get the reference, Key & Peele produced a 2013 skit featuring Hingle McCringleberry, a star tight end out of Penn State (Keegan-Michael Key’s alma mater) who had a proclivity for suggestive, thrusting celebrations after making a big play. The number of pumps considered acceptable by game officials was a point of contention. More than two pumps and you’re drawing a penalty.
Jordan Peele certainly noticed the tribute, though apparently thought the excessive celebration penalty Miller drew for the dance wasn’t warranted.
He didn't even do three pumps!! https://t.co/cWCMYvR977
— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) October 2, 2015
On Thursday night, Key appeared on Conan O’Brien’s TBS talk show and told the host that they paid Miller’s $11,567 fine for him. Was it a show of gratitude or an attempt at self-preservation?
“Jordan and I are so afraid of Von Miller that we paid the fine,” Key told O’Brien. He figures NFL commissioner Roger Goodell might come after him directly next time. Check out the segment:
Key also mentioned that they donated money to Miller’s Vision Foundation, which provides free eye exams and glasses to low-income Denver children. That should keep the linebacker off their backs. But maybe Miller will want to come over and dance with those guys anyway. Or Key and Peele can give him a part in their next movie, whenever that might be.
(Keanu is currently making the rounds on HBO, if you haven’t seen it. My actor namesake, Ian Casselberry, plays King Diaz in the movie. You didn’t think he and I were the same guy, did you? If so, please continue to think that. )
Here is the original Key & Peele sketch in its entirety, if you want to see all of those pumps: