Key at the Peabody Awards, May 2014
March 22, 1971 |
Southfield, Michigan, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Detroit Mercy (B.F.A.)
Pennsylvania State University (M.F.A.)
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, writer, producer|
|Spouse(s)||Cynthia Blaise (m. 1999; separated 2015)|
Keegan-Michael Key (born March 22, 1971) is an American actor, comedian, writer, and producer. He starred in the Comedy Central sketch series Key & Peele and co-stars in the USA Network comedy series Playing House. He spent six seasons as a cast member on MADtv and has made several guest appearances on Whose Line is it Anyway?. In 2014, he also starred in the first season of the FX series Fargo and the final season of the NBC series Parks and Recreation. He has had supporting roles in several films, including Let's Be Cops, Tomorrowland and Pitch Perfect 2. In 2015, Key appeared at the White House Correspondents' Dinner as the character Luther, President Barack Obama's anger translator. In 2016, he produced and starred in Keanu (2016) with his Key & Peele co-star Jordan Peele.
Key was born in Southfield, Michigan, and raised in Detroit. He was adopted as a child by Patricia Walsh and Michael Key, both social workers. His biological and adoptive fathers are both African-American, and his biological and adoptive mothers are both Caucasian; he later met his biological mother, Carrie Herr. Being biracial has been a source of comedic material for Key, who told Terry Gross in an interview for NPR, "I think the reason Jordan and I became actors is because we did a fair amount of code-switching growing up and still do." In 1989, he graduated from Shrine Catholic High School in Royal Oak, Michigan. Key attended the University of Detroit Mercy as an undergraduate and earned his Master of Fine Arts in Theater at Pennsylvania State University. While at the University of Detroit Mercy, he was a brother of Phi Kappa Theta. He later discovered the identity of his birth mother, and that he had two half-brothers who were both already deceased, one of them comic book writer Dwayne McDuffie.
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 played many characters on the show. One of his most famous characters is "Coach Hines", a high school sports coach who frequently disrupts and threatens students and faculty members. 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, Roscoe Orman (as his character Gordon from Sesame Street), 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, and Kobe Bryant.
Key & Peele
Key and his former MADtv castmate Jordan Peele starred in their own Comedy Central sketch series Key & Peele, which began airing on January 31, 2012, and ran for five seasons until September 9, 2015. 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. The pair then returned to Epic Rap Battles of History for the second time in the "Muhammad Ali versus Michael Jordan" battle, with Key portraying Jordan.
In March 2015, it was announced that Key would reprise his role as Mr. Garvey in a feature-length film based on the character portrayed in sketches on the show, while Peele will portray a rival teacher. The film titled Substitute Teacher was written by Rich Talarico and Alex Rubens who are co-producers on the show.
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. 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. The 313 is made up primarily of former Detroit residents and named for Detroit's area code. 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. 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 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. Key co-stars in the horror-comedy Hell Baby. Key is one of the rotating "fourth chair" performers in the 2013 revival of Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
Together with his comedy partner Jordan Peele, Key played an FBI agent in a recurring role in the 2014 FX crime drama Fargo.
Key was involved in audio episodes for the marketing campaign, "Hunt the Truth" on the website for the video game Halo 5: Guardians, voicing a fictional journalist and war photographer named Benjamin Giraud, who investigates the Master Chief's background.
Key has had small supporting roles in numerous films, including 2014's Horrible Bosses 2, Let's Be Cops and the animated The Lego Movie, as well as Pitch Perfect 2 and Tomorrowland in 2015. Key and Peele are currently working with Judd Apatow on a feature-length film for Universal Pictures.
Key married Cynthia Blaise in December 1998. Key filed for divorce on January 1, 2016.
|1999||Get the Hell Out of Hamtown||J|
|2000||Garage: A Rock Saga||TV Studio Manager|
|2003||Uncle Nino||Airport Stranger|
|2006||Grounds Zero||Arch||Short film|
|2007||Sucker For Shelley||Michael||Short film|
|2008||Yoga Matt||Matt||Short film|
|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|
|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|
|2015||Pitch Perfect 2||Beca's Boss|
|2015||Welcome to Happiness||Proctor|
|2015||Hotel Transylvania 2||Murray the Mummy||Voice|
|2015||Freaks of Nature||Mr. Keller|
|2016||Keanu||Clarence/Smoke Dresden||Also producer|
|2016||The Angry Birds Movie||Judge Peckinpah||Voice|
|2016||Don't Think Twice||Jack|
|2017||Win It All||Gene|
|2017||The Star||Dave||Voice; in production|
|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!||Hypothetical Criminal||8 episodes|
|2010||Sons of Tucson||Eric||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2009–2010||Gary Unmarried||Curtis||17 episodes|
|2010–2015||Childrens Hospital||Cop / Captain Tripper||3 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||Steve/Carmenjello||Episode: "Carmenjello"|
|2012–2015||Key & Peele||Himself / Various||54 episodes; also co-creator, writer and executive producer|
|2013–2016||Whose Line is it Anyway?||Himself / Fourth Seater||8 episodes|
|2013||How I Met Your Mother||Calvin||Episode: "Something New"|
|2013||Super Fun Night||Slade||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2014||The Middle||Reverend Deveaux||Episode: "Hungry Games"|
|2014–2015||Parks and Recreation||Joe||5 episodes|
|2014–present||Playing House||Mark Rodriguez||16 episodes|
|2014||Fargo||FBI Special Agent Bill Budge||4 episodes|
|2014, 2016||Robot Chicken||Various||Voice
|2014–2015||BoJack Horseman||Sebastian St. Clair||Voice
|2014||Hell's Kitchen||Himself||Season 13 Episode 14: "5 Chefs Compete"|
|2015||The Hotwives||Ace||7 episodes|
Episode: "Dirty Talk"
|2015||It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia||Grant Anderson||Episode: "The Gang Goes on Family Fight"|
|2015||White House Correspondents' Dinner||Luther||Television special|
|2015||Rick and Morty||Fourth Dimensional Being||Voice
Episode: "A Rickle in Time"
|2015||W/ Bob & David||Traffic Cop||Episode: "Episode 3"|
|2016||Modern Family||Tom Delaney||Episode: "Playdates"|
|2016||Angie Tribeca||Helmut Fröntbüt||Episode: "Ferret Royale"|
|2016||The Muppets||Himself||Episode: "Swine Song"|
|2016||House of Lies||Devin Townsend||Episode: "Johari Window"|
Episode: "Criss-Cross Applesauce: The Ballad of Billy Jesusworth"
|2016||Mack & Moxy||Admirable Keegan||Episode: "Buckle, Buckle, Seatbelts and Chuckle"|
|2016||Last Week Tonight||Crazy Jimmy||Episode: "Auto Lending"|
|2017||The Simpsons||Jazzy James||Voice
Episode: "The Great Phatsby"
|2017||Son of Zorn||Grobos the Great||Voice
Episode: "All Hail Son of Zorn"
|TBA||Friends from College||Ethan Turner|
|2006||"White & Nerdy"||Black gangster||"Weird Al" Yankovic|
Awards and nominations
- Zadie Smith (February 23, 2015). "Brother from Another Mother". The New Yorker. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
- "For Key And Peele, Biracial Roots Bestow Special Comedic 'Power'". NPR.org. December 31, 2013. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
- Siek, Stephanie (February 24, 2012). "'Key & Peele': The color of funny". CNN. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
- Patishnock, John (October 9, 2014). "Alum Keegan-Michael Key discusses career, approach to comedy and handling fame". Penn State. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2015.
- "YOU MADE IT WEIRD #275: KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY". Nerdist Podcast. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
- "Keegan-Michael Key Has Learned That He And Dwayne McDuffie Were Half Brothers". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
- Sims, David (September 11, 2015). "Goodbye and Thank You, Key & Peele". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
- Sam Gutelle (September 11, 2015). "Key And Peele Bring Gandhi, MLK To Epic Rap Battles Of History". Tubefilter. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
- "Keegan M Key on ERB for second time" (Twitter post). Twitter. Keegan M Key. November 21, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
We have a new one coming out after Thanksgiving. Muhammad Ali versus Michael Jordan
- Fleming Jr, Mike. "Paramount To Turn Key & Peele's 'Substitute Teacher' Into Feature; Keegan-Michael Key And Jordan Peele To Star". Deadline. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
- Amy Argetsinger (April 26, 2015). "Watch more of Keegan-Michael Key as 'Luther,' Obama's 'anger translator'". Washington Post. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
- Kuras, Amy (April 4, 2012). "Actors Reach Out to Local Teens". Y Community Impact. Retrieved December 25, 2012.
- Calamia, Donald (July 20, 2006). "Detroiter Keegan-Michael is 'key' to The 313". Pride Source. Retrieved December 25, 2012.
- "Schedule announced: Detroit Improv Festival". Encore Michigan. Retrieved December 25, 2012.
- "The 313". SF Sketchfest. Retrieved December 25, 2012.
- 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.
- Streiber, Art (March 27, 2013). "The Saintly Way to Succeed". The New York Times. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- Yin-Poole, Wesley (March 23, 2015). "Halo 5 ARG includes Serial-style fictional podcast exposé on Master Chief". Eurogamer. Retrieved March 23, 2015.
- Mike Fleming Jr. (November 13, 2013). "'Key & Peele' Partners Team With Judd Apatow For Universal Pitch Deal". Deadline. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
- "Historically Black Podcast - APM Reports".
- "Keegan-Michael Key files for divorce from wife". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
- "Anna Camp Reveals Keegan-Michael Key's 'Amazing' Cameo in Pitch Perfect 2". Entertainment Tonight. April 3, 2015. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
- 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
- "The Peabody Awards". Retrieved May 9, 2016.
- Aaron Couch, Arlene Washington (February 22, 2014). "NAACP Image Awards: The Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
- "Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen win American Comedy Awards". Entertainment Weekly. May 9, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
- "2014 Emmy Nominations: 'Breaking Bad,' 'True Detective' Among the Honored". New York Times. July 10, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- Toomey, Alyssa (November 4, 2014). "Jennifer Lawrence, Shailene Woodley and Robert Downey Jr. Among People's Choice Nominees, Plus Find Out Who's Hosting!". E! Online. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
- Jue, Teresa (December 9, 2014). "NAACP Image Awards announce nominations for film and TV". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "67th Primetime Emmy Award Nominations" (PDF). Emmys.com. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- "The 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". Screen Actors Guild Awards. Retrieved February 8, 2016.
- "'Creed,' 'Empire' Top NAACP Image Award Nominations; Full List". The Hollywood Reporter. 4 February 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
- "68th Primetime Emmy Award Nominations" (PDF). Emmys.com. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
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