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Watch: Obama’s "anger translator" stops by The Daily Show to make a final farewell address

Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

Among the many, many things we’ll lose at the end of the Obama administration is the setup for Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s classic “Obama’s Anger Translator” sketch.

The popular bit, which recurred on the duo’s Comedy Central series Key & Peele before it ended its run in 2015, has a deceptively simple premise. Obama, because he is America’s first black president, cannot ever appear to be publicly angry, lest he play into the stereotype of the angry, aggressive black man. So to help him out, Key and Peele provided him with an anger translator named Luther, who says everything that Obama would like to say but cannot.

The joke plays so effectively against the coolness of Obama’s public persona and the absurdity of some of the criticisms he’s faced during his time in office that it is effectively bulletproof. Obama himself liked it so much that he once invited Luther to join him at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

And on January 5, Key stopped by The Daily Show to introduce the last ever iteration of the sketch, in which Luther helps Obama deliver his farewell address.

“Keep it chill,” Key’s Luther instructs himself as the sketch opens. “Go against every natural instinct in your body.”

But of course he can’t. As soon as Peele’s Obama says the words “new president,” both he and Luther freeze, their faces locked in identical masks of horror and fury and existential despair.

“TRUMP?” Luther explodes.

And then he’s off, viciously kicking Trump piñatas and ranting about Russia and Vladimir Putin and the birther movement and the Electoral College and how Trump doesn’t even want the job.

But even with Luther’s help, Peele’s Obama can’t quite contain his rage. As the sketch closes, he produces the note he plans to leave for Trump in the Oval Office.

Its contents? “Go fuck yourself.”

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