Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele, stars of Comedy Central’s Key&Peele, are one of the most well-known comedy duos and best friends on TV today. They have been admired over the years as improv masterminds and their paths crossed when they both auditioned for a spot on MADtv back in 2003.
This show provided them both the platform for their creativity and humor to shine, jump-starting their careers and building their massive fan base. At the time, the casting team was only looking to bring on one African-American, but after witnessing their chemistry first-hand, it became clear that the show would benefit from the both of their talents.
However, their first ever encounter happened in Chicago’s Second City, a comedy club notorious for being the birthplace of many of the careers of current and previous cast members of Saturday Night Live.
Key and Peele, both having similar familial backgrounds, often have their sketches and improv material center around being biracial – specifically half white and half African-American. Both Key and Peele have stated many times in several interviews that the focus of the show being on their racial identities has helped them tremendously with coming to terms with their differences and places in the world.
In fact, their comedy was so based in their race-related experiences in America that they originally considered calling their show “Beige” but was then later dropped. Most audiences recognize Key & Peele by their “Substitute Teacher” and “East/West College Bowl” sketches, both of which were viral sensations on YouTube.
The success of their show had led them onto bigger and better things in a very short amount of time. By 2016, Key and Peele wrote and starred in Keanu, an action comedy about an adorable kitten who gets abducted by gangsters and drug dealers and it’s up to Rell and Clarence (Key and Peele) to rescue Keanu.
Last year, the revolutionary Get Out, written by Jordan Peele, was released and situated Peele not only as an artistic professional with directing chops, but someone who could bring a spin to the horror genre that had previously never been seen. His movie grossed over $200,000,000 worldwide with the initial production budget of the movie being a mere 4.5 million dollars.
The significance of all this success achieved by these two individuals is that they possessed very different ideas for their future in the early stages of their lives. Keegan, for example, aspired greatly to become an athlete, but was forced to choose another path as he was diagnosed for Epilepsy. He later chose to instead pursue Theater and received a Master of Fine Arts in Theater at Penn State University.
Interestingly, Peele initially dreamed of becoming a puppeteer and attended Sarah Lawrence College for Puppetry until later changing programs once he joined the school’s improv group.
It’s in this time of year that we recognize the importance and stresses surrounding decision-making, whether in our careers or personal lives, considering the many graduating students, or the several others whom are going through their own big transitions in life. If our initial aspirations or dreams aren’t seen through, it often means another more impactful and more unbelievable dream is waiting to be achieved. The only role to take to ensure this happens is in having a hardworking mind and perhaps, a creative partner and best friend to help you along the way.
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