Key at the Peabody Awards, May 2014
March 22, 1971 |
Southfield, Michigan, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, writer, producer|
|Cynthia Blaise (m. 1999; div. 2017)|
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 (2012-2015) and co-stars in the USA Network comedy series Playing House (2014-present). He spent six seasons as a cast member on MADtv (2004-2009) and has made several guest appearances on the US version of Whose Line is it Anyway? on The CW. In 2014, he also starred in the first season of the FX series Fargo. In 2013-2015, he had a recurring role on the sixth and the seventh and final season of the NBC series Parks and Recreation. He hosted the US version of The Planet's Funniest Animals on Animal Planet from 2005 until the show's end in 2008.
He has had supporting roles in several films, including Let's Be Cops (2014), Tomorrowland (2015) and Pitch Perfect 2 (2015). Also in 2015, Key appeared at the White House Correspondents' Dinner as the character Luther, President Barack Obama's anger translator. He produced and starred in the 2016 film Keanu 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. He later also discovered that he had two half-brothers who were both already deceased, one of them comic book writer Dwayne McDuffie.
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, Key graduated from Shrine Catholic High School in Royal Oak, Michigan. He attended the University of Detroit Mercy as an undergraduate, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1993, followed by a Master of Fine Arts in Theater at Pennsylvania State University in 1996. While at the University of Detroit Mercy, he was a brother of Phi Kappa Theta.
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. He also played female celebrities, including Phylicia Rash?d, and Eva Longoria (as Gabrielle Solis on a Desperate Housewives parody).
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.
Key plays the most prominent male character, Ethan Turner, on the Netflix ensemble comedy Friends from College, about a group of Harvard University graduates and friends now in their late 30s living in New York City. He plays an award winning fiction writer who is being encouraged to start writing for young adult fiction audiences.
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, an actress and dialect coach, in December 1998. The couple separated in November 2015 and Key filed for divorce on December 31, 2015. They divorced in 2017.
|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|
|2018||The Predator||In post-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||21 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-present||SuperMansion||American Ranger, Sgt. Agony, Blue Menace||Voices; 24 episodes|
|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"
|2017||Detroiters||Smilin' Jack||Episode: "Smilin' Jack"|
|2017||Samurai Jack||Da' Samurai||Voice
|2017-present||Friends from College||Ethan Turner||Main cast; 8 episodes|
|2006||"White & Nerdy"||Black gangster||"Weird Al" Yankovic|
|2013||Writers Guild of America Award||Best Comedy/Variety (Including Talk) - Series||Key & Peele||Nominated|
|2014||NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Variety-Series or Special||Nominated|
|American Comedy Award||Best Alternative Comedy Series||Won|
|Best Comedy Actor-TV||Nominated|
|Best Comedy Writing-TV||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series||Nominated|
|2015||People's Choice Award||Favorite Sketch Comedy TV Show||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Variety Sketch Series||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special||Key and Peele Super Bowl Special||Nominated|
|Outstanding Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program||Key & Peele Presents Van and Mike: The Ascension||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Award||Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Key & Peele||Nominated|
|2016||NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Variety Sketch Series||Won|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series||Nominated|
|Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance||SuperMansion||Nominated|
We have a new one coming out after Thanksgiving. Muhammad Ali versus Michael Jordan