Keegan-Michael Key
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Keegan-Michael Key
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 46)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Alma mater
Occupation Actor, comedian, writer, producer
Years active 1999-present
Cynthia Blaise
(m. 1998; separated 2017)

Keegan-Michael Key (born March 22, 1971)[1] is an American actor, comedian, writer, and producer. He starred in the Comedy Central sketch series Key & Peele (2012-2015) and co-starred in the USA Network comedy series Playing House (2014-2017). 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 appeared 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.

Early life

Key was born in Detroit, Michigan.[1][2] 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.[2] He later also discovered that he had two half-brothers who were both already deceased, one of them comic book writer Dwayne McDuffie.[3][4]

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."[5][6]

Key attended the University of Detroit Mercy as an undergraduate, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theater in 1993,[1] followed by a Master of Fine Arts in Theater at Pennsylvania State University in 1996.[7] While at the University of Detroit Mercy, he was a brother of Phi Kappa Theta.[8]

Career

Key in 2012

MADtv

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, Kobe Bryant, and Jack Haley (as the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz).[] He also played female celebrities, including Phylicia Rash?d, and Eva Longoria (as Gabrielle Solis on a Desperate Housewives parody).[]

Key & Peele

Key has portrayed and rapped as Indian civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi (left) and American basketball player Michael Jordan (right) for Epic Rap Battles of History.

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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]

Key was introduced by President Barack Obama at the 2015 White House Correspondents' Dinner as Luther, Obama's Anger Translator, one of Key's characters from the show.[12]

Friends from College

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.

Other work

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.[13] 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.[14][15] The 313 is made up primarily of former Detroit residents and named for Detroit's area code.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18] 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?.

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

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.[19]

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.[20]

Key is currently one of several hosts of the podcast Historically Black by American Public Media and The Washington Post.[21]

In the summer of 2017 Key appeared in a production of Hamlet at New York's Public Theater, playing Horatio opposite Oscar Isaac in the title role.[22]

Key voice act in The Star, the animated film based on the Nativity of Jesus.[23]

Personal life

Key married Cynthia Blaise, an actress and dialect coach, in December 1998. They separated in November 2015 and Key filed for divorce on December 31, 2015.[24]

Philanthropy

Key has worked with the Young Storytellers Foundation as an actor for their annual fundraiser alongside Max Greenfield, Jack Black, and Judy Greer.[25]

Filmography

Film

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
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 Marcys 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
2015 Pitch Perfect 2[26] Beca's Boss
2015 Welcome to Happiness Proctor
2015 Tomorrowland Hugo Gernsback
2015 Vacation Jack Peterson
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
2016 Storks Alpha Wolf Voice
2016 Why Him? Gustav
2017 Win It All Gene
2017 The Disaster Artist Himself Cameo
2017 The Star Dave Voice
2018 Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Murray the Mummy Voice; in production
2018 The Predator In post-production
2019 The Lion King Kamari Voice; in production

Television

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
2007 Frangela DeShawn Television film
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
2014-2016 Bob's Burgers Various Voice
5 episodes
2014-2017 Playing House Mark Rodriguez 21 episodes
2014 Fargo FBI Special Agent Bill Budge 4 episodes
2014, 2016 Robot Chicken Various Voice
2 episodes
2014-2015 BoJack Horseman Sebastian St. Clair Voice
4 episodes
2014 Hell's Kitchen Himself Episode: "5 Chefs Compete"
2015 The Hotwives Ace 7 episodes
2015 TripTank King Lhoga Voice
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 Voice; 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"
2016-2017 Archer Various Voice
6 episodes
2016 House of Lies Devin Townsend Episode: "Johari Window"
2016 American Dad! E-Money Voice
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
Episode: "XCVII"
2017-present Friends from College Ethan Turner Main cast; 8 episodes

Music videos

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

Awards and nominations

References

  1. ^ a b c "Keegan-Michael Key Biography". TVGuide.com. Archived from the original on August 14, 2016. Retrieved 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Zadie Smith (February 23, 2015). "Brother from Another Mother". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on May 6, 2016. Retrieved 2016. 
  3. ^ "You Made It Weird #275: Keegan-Michael Key". Nerdist Podcast. Retrieved 2015. 
  4. ^ "Keegan-Michael Key Has Learned That He And Dwayne McDuffie Were Half Brothers". Bleeding Cool. Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  5. ^ "For Key And Peele, Biracial Roots Bestow Special Comedic 'Power'". NPR.org. December 31, 2013. Retrieved 2016. 
  6. ^ Siek, Stephanie (February 24, 2012). "'Key & Peele': The color of funny". CNN. Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012. 
  7. ^ Patishnock, John (October 9, 2014). "Alum Keegan-Michael Key discusses career, approach to comedy and handling fame". Pennsylvania State University. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved 2015. 
  8. ^ Walsworth, Jack (December 11, 2013). "Keegan-Michael Key: Comedy Central star fondly recalls his days at university". The Varsity News. Retrieved 2017. 
  9. ^ Sims, David (September 11, 2015). "Goodbye and Thank You, Key & Peele". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2016. 
  10. ^ Sam Gutelle (September 11, 2015). "Key And Peele Bring Gandhi, MLK To Epic Rap Battles Of History". Tubefilter. Retrieved 2015. 
  11. ^ "Keegan M Key on ERB for second time" (Twitter post). Twitter. Keegan M Key. November 21, 2013. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved 2013. We have a new one coming out after Thanksgiving. Muhammad Ali versus Michael Jordan 
  12. ^ Amy Argetsinger (April 26, 2015). "Watch more of Keegan-Michael Key as 'Luther,' Obama's 'anger translator'". Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 23, 2015. Retrieved 2016. 
  13. ^ Kuras, Amy (April 4, 2012). "Actors Reach Out to Local Teens". Y Community Impact. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved 2012. 
  14. ^ Calamia, Donald (July 20, 2006). "Detroiter Keegan-Michael is 'key' to The 313". Pride Source. Archived from the original on November 11, 2013. Retrieved 2012. 
  15. ^ "Schedule announced: Detroit Improv Festival". Encore Michigan. Archived from the original on September 9, 2013. Retrieved 2012. 
  16. ^ "The 313". SF Sketchfest. Archived from the original on December 29, 2012. Retrieved 2012. 
  17. ^ 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 2008. 
  18. ^ Streiber, Art (March 27, 2013). "The Saintly Way to Succeed". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013. 
  19. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (March 23, 2015). "Halo 5 ARG includes Serial-style fictional podcast exposé on Master Chief". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2015. 
  20. ^ Mike Fleming Jr. (November 13, 2013). "'Key & Peele' Partners Team With Judd Apatow For Universal Pitch Deal". Deadline. Retrieved 2013. 
  21. ^ "Historically Black Podcast - APM Reports". Archived from the original on September 8, 2016. 
  22. ^ Clement, Olivia (July 3, 2017). "The 19-Year Detour That Took Keegan-Michael Key from Comedy Central to Hamlet". Playbill. Retrieved 2017. 
  23. ^ Masters, Kim (January 5, 2016). "Studios' 2017 Forecast: Big Bets, Franchise Fears and Executive Intrigue". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017. 
  24. ^ Dillon, Nancy (January 8, 2016). "Keegan-Michael Key files for divorce from wife". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2017. 
  25. ^ Littleton, Cynthia. "Keegan-Michael Key, Max Greenfield Set for Young Storytellers' Biggest Show Fundraiser". Variety. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 2017. 
  26. ^ "Anna Camp Reveals Keegan-Michael Key's 'Amazing' Cameo in Pitch Perfect 2". Entertainment Tonight. April 3, 2015. Archived from the original on April 30, 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  27. ^ Mitchell, Gregg; Strell, Jay (December 6, 2012). "2013 Writers Guild Awards Television, News, Radio, Promotional Writing, and Graphic Animation Nominees Announced" Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.. Writers Guild of America
  28. ^ "The Peabody Awards". Archived from the original on May 8, 2016. Retrieved 2016. 
  29. ^ Aaron Couch, Arlene Washington (February 22, 2014). "NAACP Image Awards: The Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 13, 2016. Retrieved 2014. 
  30. ^ "Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen win American Comedy Awards". Entertainment Weekly. May 9, 2014. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  31. ^ "2014 Emmy Nominations: 'Breaking Bad,' 'True Detective' Among the Honored". New York Times. July 10, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  32. ^ 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. Archived from the original on January 14, 2017. Retrieved 2014. 
  33. ^ Jue, Teresa (December 9, 2014). "NAACP Image Awards announce nominations for film and TV". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on December 11, 2014. Retrieved 2014. 
  34. ^ "67th Primetime Emmy Award Nominations" (PDF). Emmys.com. Retrieved 2015. 
  35. ^ "The 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards". Screen Actors Guild Awards. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved 2016. 
  36. ^ "'Creed,' 'Empire' Top NAACP Image Award Nominations; Full List". The Hollywood Reporter. February 4, 2016. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved 2016. 
  37. ^ "68th Primetime Emmy Award Nominations" (PDF). Emmys.com. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 9, 2016. Retrieved 2016. 

External links


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