Keystone Kops

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Keystone Kops

A term applied to people who are seen as bumbling and inept. The original Keystone Kops were ineffectual policemen in Mack Sennett's early-20th-century slapstick comedies. The defensemen were like the Keystone Kops out there, banging into each other and just letting the other team score.

Keystone Kops

Incompetence incarnate. One of the staples of Mack Sennett's silent-movie comedies from World War I through the 1920s was a group of clumsily ineffective policemen known as the Keystone Kops (Keystone was the name of Sennett's film company). The Kops moved as a group, bumping into each other, driving their car in circles, and otherwise achieving nothing in the way of law enforcement but producing lots of movie mayhem. As a phrase to describe a group that accomplished nothing after lots of effort, “Keystone Kops” would suit them to a T.