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.
OccupationActor, voice actor, writer, producer, comedian
Years active1999–present
Spouse(s)Cynthia Blaise (m. 1999)
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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.
OccupationActor, voice actor, writer, producer, comedian
Years active1999–present
Spouse(s)Cynthia Blaise (m. 1999)

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. In 2014, he also starred in the first season of the FX anthology series Fargo.

Early life[edit]

Key was born in Southfield, Michigan and raised in Detroit. His father is black and his mother is white. 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 Mercy as an undergraduate and earned his Master of Fine Arts in Theater at Pennsylvania State University.[2] 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 disrupt and threaten 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, 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.[3] 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.[4][5] The 313 is made up primarily of former Detroit residents and named for Detroit's area code.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11] 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, Key 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.[12]



1999Get the Hell Out of HamtownJ
2000Garage: A Rock SagaTV Studio Manager
2003Uncle NinoAirport Stranger
2004Mr. 3000Reporter
2006AlleyballCurt Braunschweib
2006Grounds ZeroArchShort film
2007Sucker For ShelleyMichaelShort film
2007FrangelaDeShawnTV movie
2008Yoga MattMattShort film
2008Role ModelsDuane
2008Land of ArabiaDwayneShort film
2010Welcome to the Jungle GymMike McKenzieShort film
2010Due DateNew Father
2011Just Go with ItErnesto
2011Bucky Larson: Born to Be a StarGuinness Man
2012WanderlustMarcys Flunkie
2013Hell BabyF'Resnel
2013Afternoon DelightBo
2014The Lego MovieFrank the ForemanVoice
2014Teacher of the YearRonald Douche
2014Let's Be CopsPupa
2014Horrible Bosses 2Mike
2015Kitchen SinkTBA[13]Post-production
2015Hotel Transylvania 2Murray the MummyPost Production
2016Angry Birds(voice)


2001ERWitkowskiEpisode: "Quo Vadis?"
2004I'm With HerOrderlyEpisode: "Poison Ivy"
2004–2009MADtvVarious107 episodes; also writer
2005–2008The Planet's Funniest AnimalsHost30 episodes
2008Chocolate NewsWoodsyEpisode: "1.5"
2008–2009Reno 911!Theoretical Criminal8 episodes
2010Sons of TucsonEricEpisode: "Pilot"
2009–2010Gary UnmarriedCurtis17 episodes
2010–2013Childrens HospitalCop / Captain Tripper2 episodes
2011A Series of Unfortunate PeopleTedEpisode: "Family Secret"
2011Love BitesDrew2 episodes
2011WilfredDick BarbianEpisode: "Identity"
2011The LeagueCarmenjelloEpisode: "Carmenjello"
2012–presentKey & PeeleHimself / VariousAlso co-creator, writer, executive producer
2013How I Met Your MotherCalvinEpisode: "Something New"
2013ÜbermansionTitanium RexVoice
Episode: "Pilot"
2013Super Fun NightSladeEpisode: "Pilot"
2014The MiddleReverend DeveauxEpisode: "Hungry Games"
2014Parks and RecreationJoeEpisode: "One in 8,000"
2014Bob's BurgersBeefer Sutherland / ToddVoice
2 episodes
2014Playing HouseMark Rodriguez10 episodes
2014FargoBill Budge4 episodes
2014Robot ChickenJamal / JournalistVoice
Episode: "Stone Cold Steve Cold Stone"
2014BoJack HorsemanSebastian St. ClairVoice
Episode: "Later"
2015It's Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaGameshow HostEpisode: "The Gang Goes on Family Fight"

Music videos[edit]

2006"White & Nerdy"Black gangster"Weird Al" Yankovic

Awards and nominations[edit]

2013Writers Guild of America Award[14]Best Comedy/Variety (Including Talk) - SeriesKey & PeeleNominated
2013Peabody Award[15]Key & PeeleWon
2014NAACP Image Award[16]Outstanding Variety – Series or SpecialKey & PeeleNominated
2014American Comedy Award[17]Best Alternative Comedy SeriesKey & PeeleWon
2014American Comedy Award[17]Best Comedy Actor – TVKey & PeeleNominated
2014American Comedy Award[17]Best Comedy Writing – TVKey & PeeleNominated
2014Primetime Emmy Award[18]Outstanding Writing for a Variety SeriesKey & PeeleNominated
2015People's Choice Award[19]Favorite Sketch Comedy TV ShowKey & PeeleNominated


  1. ^ Siek, Stephanie (February 24, 2012). "'Key & Peele': The color of funny". CNN. Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Kuras, Amy (April 4, 2012). "Actors Reach Out to Local Teens". Y Community Impact. Retrieved December 25, 2012. 
  4. ^ Calamia, Donald (July 20, 2006). "Detroiter Keegan-Michael is 'key' to The 313". Pride Source. Retrieved December 25, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Schedule announced: Detroit Improv Festival". Encore Michigan. Retrieved December 25, 2012. 
  6. ^ "The 313". SF Sketchfest. Retrieved December 25, 2012. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ Sam Gutelle (February 25, 2013). "Key And Peele Bring Gandhi, MLK To Epic Rap Battles Of History". Tubefilter. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  10. ^ "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 
  11. ^ Streiber, Art (March 27, 2013). "The Saintly Way to Succeed". The New York Times. Retrieved March 30, 2013. 
  12. ^ Mike Fleming Jr. (November 13, 2013). "‘Key & Peele’ Partners Team With Judd Apatow For Universal Pitch Deal". Deadline. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Patton Oswalt, Bob Odenkirk And Ian Roberts Join Genre Mash-Up ‘Kitchen Sink’". PMC. August 19, 2013. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  14. ^ 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
  15. ^ Peabody Awards web site
  16. ^ Aaron Couch, Arlene Washington (February 22, 2014). "NAACP Image Awards: The Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b c "Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen win American Comedy Awards". Entertainment Weekly. May 9, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  18. ^ "2014 Emmy Nominations: ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘True Detective’ Among the Honored". New York Times. July 10, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  19. ^ 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. 

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