Brow Beat

In This Brilliant Sketch, Billy Eichner and Keegan-Michael Key Show How Easy It Is to Legally Buy a Gun

In a recent interview with Vulture, Billy Eichner discussed how his attempts at sharp political comedy on Billy on the Street often go unnoticed. “The downside to creating this loud, larger-than-life character is that people gravitate toward the loudest element of it,” he explained. “But there is some very smart, subtle social criticism and cultural satire that is happening on the show that sometimes goes underappreciated because people tend to focus more on the shouting.”

It’s easy to view Eichner’s newest bit for the show—“Super Sloppy, Semi-Automatic Double Dare!”—as a direct result of this frustration. Modeled in the vein of past Billy on the Street “obstacle courses,” “Super Sloppy” features Keegan-Michael Key trying to legally buy a gun in America. The twist, of course, is that he actually has very few obstacles to overcome thanks to U.S. and state law. Not even Eichner’s elaborately (and satirically) constructed roadblocks can stop Key from loading up on firearms.

If hardly subtle, “Super Sloppy” is a seriously effective work of sketch comedy and perhaps the clearest example yet of how Eichner can use his style for political commentary. Key having to crawl through literal loopholes, “fudge” the Second Amendment with a bottle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup, search for a concealed weapon in a sandbox in Michigan—where you can now bring concealed weapons to a child-care center—and so much more makes for amusingly pointed entertainment on its own. But as the “obstacles” mount, the sad statement behind the game becomes achingly clear. Eichner’s own summation isn’t exactly wrong: “The more guns that you acquire, the safer and more American you become!”