‘Key & Peele’: The Fictional Sketch Inspired by Jordan Peele’s Childhood

The talented duo of Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key worked together to create magic on their Comedy Central TV show Key & Peele. Since the show went off the air in 2015, the friends have gone on to make names for themselves in other ways. But many of their characters and skits live on in fans’ memories. 

Like most comedians, the two of them drew on their own life experiences for laughs. For at least one skit on Key and Peele, the inspiration came directly from Peele’s life

The friends ‘fell in comedy love’

Key and Peele met in 2002 at Second City, an improv comedy stage. According to The Things, they were impressed by each other’s talent and they “fell in comedy love.” 

Not long after, both of them auditioned for the same role on the comedy sketch show MadTV. When the producers saw how well they worked together, they decided to hire them both. 

Their onstage chemistry must have been obvious, because when the show ended their manager came up with an idea. He suggested the two of them collaborate on a comedy show together. Key’s response was immediate. 

“And I was like, ‘Why would I not want to do a show with the greatest sketch writer I’ve ever known in my entire life?'”

The idea was too good to pass up. And so Key & Peele was born. 

The success of ‘Key & Peele’

Jordan Peele
Jordan Peele | Michael Tran/FilmMagic

According to Vox, Key & Peele lasted from 2012 to 2015. It had one of the largest premiers in Comedy Central history, with 2.1 million viewers. Over its five seasons, the two stars showed off their satirical skills. 

In the show, they often mined issues of race in America. They not only created a huge cast of unforgettable characters, but they also set them up in skits that managed to be hilarious as well as insightful. They poked fun at popular culture and wrote scenes that became a part of the national lexicon, such as their famous skit “Obama’s Anger Translator.”

Naturally, they sometimes used their own life stories to help create their sketches. But there was one scene in particular that hit especially close to home for Peele. 

The long-lost dad

Mental Floss reports that in the show’s second season, they aired a skit about a man searching for the father he never knew. In the scene, Peele shows up at the man’s door, introduces himself as Jordan, and says that he thinks the man may be his father. 

The long-lost dad (played by Key) rejects Jordan at first. Then when he mentions that he has his own TV show, the man suddenly starts to think he might be his father. But his sudden interest disappears again when he finds out that Jordan’s show is on Comedy Central. 

If some of these details seem a little close to Peele’s own life, there’s a reason for that. It turns out that the skit mirrors his life even more closely than it seems to at first glance. Peele actually did grow up with a single mom, and he never knew his own father. 

These days, Peele has moved on to find success as a writer and director of hit horror movies. But before he turned his talents to scary stories, he mined his own life struggles to give audiences a laugh. And his fans love him for it. 

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