‘Key & Peele’: Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key Admired Each Other Before They Even Met

When talking about recent comedy success stories, it’s hard to overlook Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key.

The pair had a successful Comedy Central TV sketch show airing from 2012 to 2015. Lauded for their comedic genius, they’ve worked with former President Obama and have a slew of awards under their belt. But how did the pair meet? Have they worked on anything besides their sketch show?

Who are Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key?

Actors Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele
Actors Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele | FREDERIC J BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Before the Comedy Central show, Peele got his big break on another sketch comedy series, MADtv. Originally inspired by the classic Mad magazine, Peele joined the cast in the ninth season. He’s also starred in various other TV shows and movies, including Wanderlust, Fargo, and The Station.

Just like his pal Peele, Key joined Mad TV in the ninth season. The pair were initially cast against each other, but due to their comedic repartee, they both got a part. Key attended Penn State’s School of Theater, receiving a Masters of Fine Arts and intended to continue his classical acting training when he was invited to the famed comedy improvisation theater, The Second City. It was there that the duo met up.

A meetup destined for greatness

According to Mental Floss, Key was already at The Second City when Peele’s own troupe, Boom Chicago, was visiting. The two were immediately taken with each other’s performances and quickly became fast friends. They would work together during their time at MADtv, which led to a decision to create their own show — Key & Peele.  

The show received positive reviews, critical acclaim, and numerous awards, but after five seasons, they called it quits. The two were looking to pursue other ventures, both together and apart. Since then, the duo hasn’t worked together much. Instead, they’ve followed different avenues with both achieving success.

Key is more prominent onscreen, starring in the Netflix series Friends From College and the film Don’t Think Twice. His counterpart spent more time behind the camera, directing, producing, and writing. In 2018, he won the Oscar for Best Screenplay for the film Get Out. It was a win that made history. Peele was the first Black person to win in that category, and his pal Key was there for the moment, watching with tears streaming down his face. 

Peele spoke about the occasion on his Twitter account. “When @WhoopiGoldberg won her Oscar for “Ghost” she practically reached through my TV screen and told young me to follow my dreams. I did, and it worked. Thanks Whoopi.”

What’s next?

While the comedy geniuses have yet to name another project together, they both have things in the works. According to Variety, Peele is writing and directing another movie set to debut in July 2022. The title and genre are under wraps, but Steven Yeun is reportedly high on the list to star in it. Peele probably won’t work in front of the camera again, he’d rather produce or direct films — even doing voiceover work like in Toy Story 4. In fact, his pal, Key also worked with him during the animated film. The duo plays Bunny and Duck, two stuffed animals won at the carnival. 

As for Key’s future — expect to see him on network TV sometime soon. He’s set to play the lead in ABC’s August Snow, a drama based on the books by Stephen Mack Jones. The book of the same name was published in 2017 and is the first in a trilogy. It follows Snow, a former detective, that was pushed out of the force by corrupt cops and politicians. After winning a wrongful dismissal lawsuit, Snow travels the world and then returns as a private investigator, looking to solve crimes with a motley crew of helpers.  

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