Keegan-Michael Key

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Keegan-Michael Key
Keegan-Michael Key Peabody 2014 (cropped).jpg
Key at the Peabody Awards, May 2014
Born (1971-03-22) March 22, 1971 (age 43)
Southfield, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation Actor, voice actor, writer, producer, comedian
Years active 1999–present
Spouse(s) Cynthia Blaise

Keegan-Michael Key (born March 22, 1971) is an American actor, voice actor, writer, producer and comedian. He is best known for starring in the Comedy Central sketch series Key & Peele, his six seasons as a cast member on MADtv and for co-starring in the USA Network comedy series Playing House.

Early life[edit]

Key was born in Southfield, Michigan and raised in Detroit. His father is African-American and his mother is European-American. He was adopted as a child.[1] In 1989 he graduated from Shrine Catholic High School in Royal Oak, Michigan. Key attended the University of Detroit as an undergraduate and earned his Master of Fine Arts at the Pennsylvania State University School of Theatre. While at The University of Detroit Mercy, he was a brother of Phi Kappa Theta.

Career[edit]

MADtv[edit]

Key joined the cast of MADtv midway into the ninth season. He and Jordan Peele were cast against each other so that FOX could pick one black cast member, but both ended up being picked after demonstrating great comedic chemistry.

Key's characters include the semi-psychotic Coach Hines, who threatens students and others at school assemblies. On the penultimate episode of MADtv, Hines revealed that he is the long-lost heir to the Heinz Ketchup company and only became a Catholic school coach to help delinquent teenagers like Yamanashi (Bobby Lee). During seasons 9 and 10, Key appeared as "Dr. Funkenstein" in blaxploitation parodies, with Jordan Peele playing the monster.

Key also portrayed various guests on Real **********ing Talk like the strong African Rollo Johnson and blind victim Stevie Wonder Washington. He often goes "backstage" as Eugene Struthers, an always-ecstatic water- or flower-delivery man who accosts celebrities. There is also "Jovan Muskatelle", a shirtless man with a jheri curl and a shower cap. He interrupts live news broadcasts by a reporter (always played by Ike Barinholtz), annoying him with rapid fire accounts of events that have happened frequently exclaiming "It was crazy as hell!"

Celebrities that Key impersonated on the show include Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Matthew Lillard, Bill Cosby, Al Roker, Terrell Owens, Tyler Perry, Robin Antin, Keith Richards, Eddie Murphy (as his character James "Thunder" Early from the movie Dreamgirls), Sherman Hemsley (as his character George Jefferson on The Jeffersons), Charles Barkley, Sendhil Ramamurthy (as Mohinder Suresh), Tyson Beckford, Seal (originally played by Jordan Peele until Peele left the show at the end of season 13), Sidney Poitier, Lionel Richie, Barack Obama (ironically, Jordan Peele would play Obama on Key & Peele while Key would play Obama's anger translator, Luther) and Kobe Bryant.

He also played female celebrities, including Phylicia Rashād, and Eva Longoria (as Gabrielle Solis on a "Desperate Housewives" parody).

Other work[edit]

Key was one of the founders of Hamtramck, Michigan's Planet Ant Theatre, and was a member of the Second City Detroit's mainstage cast before joining the Second City e.t.c. theater in Chicago. Key co-founded the Detroit Creativity Project along with Beth Hagenlocker, Marc Evan Jackson, Margaret Edwartowski, and Larry Joe Campbell.[2] The Detroit Creativity Project teaches students in Detroit improvisation as a way to improve their communication skills. Key performed with The 313, an improv group formed with other members of Second City Hollywood that appears around the country.[3][4] The 313 is made up primarily of former Detroit residents and named for Detroit's area code.[5] Key also hosted Animal Planet's The Planet's Funniest Animals.

He made a cameo in "Weird Al" Yankovic's video "White & Nerdy" with fellow MADtv co-star Jordan Peele.[6] In 2009, Key hosted GSN's "Big Saturday Night", and has co-starred in Gary Unmarried on CBS. Key was a panelist on the NPR comedy quiz show Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me... on March 27 and July 24, 2010. Key has been in several episodes of Reno 911! as the "Theoretical Criminal".

Key and his former MADtv castmate Jordan Peele star in their own Comedy Central sketch series Key & Peele, which began airing on January 31, 2012, and has run for three seasons.[7] Key and his comedy partner Jordan Peele starred in an episode of Epic Rap Battles of History, with Key playing Mahatma Gandhi and Peele playing Martin Luther King Jr.[8] In November 2013, Key stated that he will be returning to Epic Rap Battles of History for the second time in the "Muhammad Ali versus Michael Jordan" battle.[9]

Key and Peele were featured on the cover and in a series of full-page comic photos illustrating The New York Times Magazine article "Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead?" on March 31, 2013. A live-action video version was also featured on the Times' website.[10] Key co-stars in the upcoming horror-comedy Hell Baby. Key is one of the rotating "fourth chair" performers in the 2013 revival of Whose Line Is It Anyway?.

In addition to Key & Peele, he also is currently co-starring in the USA Network comedy series Playing House, which began airing its first season in April 2014.

Together with his comedy partner, Jordan Peele, he played an FBI agent in a recurring role in the 2014 FX crime drama Fargo.

Key and Peele will be working with Judd Apatow on a feature-length film for Universal Pictures.[11]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1999 Get the Hell Out of Hamtown J
2000 Garage: A Rock Saga TV Studio Manager
2003 Uncle Nino Airport Stranger
2004 Mr. 3000 Reporter
2006 Alleyball Curt Braunschweib
2006 Grounds Zero Arch Short film
2007 Sucker For Shelley Michael Short film
2007 Frangela DeShawn TV movie
2008 Yoga Matt Matt Short film
2008 Role Models Duane
2008 Land of Arabia Dwayne Short film
2010 Welcome to the Jungle Gym Mike McKenzie Short film
2010 Due Date New Father
2011 Just Go with It Ernesto
2011 Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star Guinness Man
2012 Wanderlust Marcy's Flunkie
2013 Hell Baby F'Resnel
2013 Afternoon Delight Bo
2014 The Lego Movie Frank the Foreman Voice
2014 Teacher of the Year Ronald Douche
2014 Let's Be Cops Pupa
2014 Horrible Bosses 2 Mike Post-production
2015 Kitchen Sink TBA[12] Post-production
2015 Tomorrowland Hugo Post-production
2015 Vacation Filming

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2001 ER Witkowski Episode: "Quo Vadis?"
2004 I'm With Her Orderly Episode: "Poison Ivy"
2004–2009 MADtv Various 107 episodes; also writer
2005–2008 The Planet's Funniest Animals Host 30 episodes
2008 Chocolate News Woodsy Episode: "1.5"
2008–2009 Reno 911! Theoretical Criminal 8 episodes
2010 Sons of Tucson Eric Episode: "Pilot"
2009–2010 Gary Unmarried Curtis 17 episodes
2010–2013 Childrens Hospital Cop / Captain Tripper 2 episodes
2011 A Series of Unfortunate People Ted Episode: "Family Secret"
2011 Love Bites Drew 2 episodes
2011 Wilfred Dick Barbian Episode: "Identity"
2011 The League Carmenjello Episode: "Carmenjello"
2012–present Key & Peele Himself / Various Also co-creator, writer, executive producer
2013 How I Met Your Mother Calvin Episode: "Something New"
2013 Übermansion Titanium Rex Voice
Episode: "Pilot"
2013 Super Fun Night Slade Episode: "Pilot"
2014 The Middle Reverend Deveaux Episode: "Hungry Games"
2014 Parks and Recreation Joe Episode: "One in 8,000"
2014 Bob's Burgers Beefer Sutherland / Todd Voice
2 episodes
2014 Playing House Mark Rodriguez 10 episodes
2014 Fargo Bill Budge 4 episodes
2014 Robot Chicken Jamal / Journalist Voice
Episode: "Stone Cold Steve Cold Stone"
2014 BoJack Horseman Sebastian St. Clair Voice
Episode: "Later"

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Role Artist
2006 "White & Nerdy" Black gangster "Weird Al" Yankovic

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2013 Writers Guild of America Award[13] Best Comedy/Variety (Including Talk) - Series Key & Peele Nominated
2013 Peabody Award[14] Key & Peele Won
2014 NAACP Image Award[15] Outstanding Variety – Series or Special Key & Peele Nominated
2014 American Comedy Award[16] Best Alternative Comedy Series Key & Peele Won
2014 American Comedy Award[16] Best Comedy Actor – TV Key & Peele Nominated
2014 American Comedy Award[16] Best Comedy Writing – TV Key & Peele Nominated
2014 Primetime Emmy Award[17] Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series Key & Peele Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ Siek, Stephanie (February 24, 2012). "'Key & Peele': The color of funny". CNN. Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  2. ^ Kuras, Amy (4 April 2012). "Actors Reach Out to Local Teens". Y Community Impact. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Calamia, Donald (20 July 2006). "Detroiter Keegan-Michael is 'key' to The 313". Pride Source. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "Schedule announced: Detroit Improv Festival". Encore Michigan. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "The 313". SF Sketchfest. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  6. ^ School of Theatre (2005). "Penn State Alum, Keegan-Michael Key, Lands Starring Role as Host of Planet's Funniest Animals". Penn State. Archived from the original on November 20, 2007. Retrieved January 17, 2008. 
  7. ^ Shira Lazar (November 28, 2012). "Keegan-Michael Key Talks Key & Peele Season 3 and Bringing Sketch Comedy to YouTube". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  8. ^ Sam Gutelle (February 25, 2013). "Key And Peele Bring Gandhi, MLK To Epic Rap Battles Of History". Tubefilter. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Keegan M Key on ERB for second time" (Twitter post). Twitter. Keegan M Key. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013. "We have a new one coming out after Thanksgiving. Muhammad Ali versus Michael Jordan" 
  10. ^ Streiber, Art (27 March 2013). "The Saintly Way to Succeed". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  11. ^ Mike Fleming Jr. (November 13, 2013). "‘Key & Peele’ Partners Team With Judd Apatow For Universal Pitch Deal". Deadline. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Patton Oswalt, Bob Odenkirk And Ian Roberts Join Genre Mash-Up ‘Kitchen Sink’". Deadline.com. PMC. August 19, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  13. ^ Mitchell, Gregg; Strell, Jay (December 6, 2012). "2013 Writers Guild Awards Television, News, Radio, Promotional Writing, and Graphic Animation Nominees Announced". Writers Guild of America
  14. ^ Peabody Awards web site
  15. ^ Aaron Couch, Arlene Washington (February 22, 2014). "NAACP Image Awards: The Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c "Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen win American Comedy Awards". Entertainment Weekly. May 9, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  17. ^ [<http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/11/arts/television/2014-emmy-nominations-game-of-thrones-true-detective-among-the-honored.html?_r=0 "2014 Emmy Nominations: ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘True Detective’ Among the Honored"]. New York Times. July 10, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 

External links[edit]