President Obama, right, gets a comic assist from Keegan-Michael Key as “Luther,” his “anger translator.” (Olivier Douliery/EPA)

A gasp went through the room when a lanky bald man stepped up on stage to join President Obama at the White House correspondents’ dinner. For some it was, “Who?” For others, it was “Key!”

[How Barack Obama and Keegan-Michael Key finally got on stage together]

Keegan-Michael Key, 44, is half of the comedy duo Key and Peele, known for a hit Comedy Central sketch series. It’s actually his partner, Jordan Peele, not present at the dinner, who’s known for doing a very deft Obama impersonation. But Key played the comic foil to the commander in chief that he’s so often played for Peele’s Obama — that of Obama’s “anger translator, Luther.” (See also: Key explains how this all happened.)

President Obama poked fun at GOP presidential candidates, Koch brothers and others at the 2015 White House correspondents' dinner on Saturday. (AP)

Obama: “In our fast-changing world, traditions like the White House correspondents’ dinner are important.”

Luther: “I MEAN REALLY, WHAT IS THIS DINNER AND WHY AM I REQUIRED TO COME TO IT?!”

Obama: “Because despite our differences, we count on the press to shed light.”

Luther: “AND WE CAN COUNT ON FOX NEWS TO TERRIFY ALL WHITE PEOPLE WITH SOME NONSENSE.”

In each sketch, Peele is the unflappably cool, dispassionate politician, while Key as Luther portrays some fantasy version of the president’s raging, swaggering id, saying all the things that could never be said. As Zadie Smith wrote in a New Yorker profile in February, “the sketch seemed to articulate an unspoken longing among many Obama supporters, and perhaps within the black community as a whole.”

The duo told Smith that the president became aware of these sketches and asked to meet them. “I need Luther,” he told them. “We’ll have to wait till second term.”

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