Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele Headshot

Writer • Actor • Director • Comedian

Birth Name: Jordan Haworth Peele

Birth Date: February 21, 1979

Age: 45 years old

Birth Place: New York, New York

Spouses: Chelsea Peretti

Actor-writer Jordan Peele gleefully skewered issues of race and popular culture as a solo performer and in tandem with his frequent partner Keegan-Michael Key on "MADtv" (Fox 1995-2009) and "Key & Peele" (Comedy Central 2012-15). A veteran of the Second City improvisational group, Peele broke into television with "MADtv," which earned him widespread praise for celebrity impersonations and unhinged recurring characters. After netting a 2008 Emmy nomination for writing the comic music video "Sad Fitty Cent," Peele left "MAD" to work on other series before reteaming with Key for their own show. "Key & Peele" was both a critical and audience favorite thanks to the stars' take on racially tinged subjects, including a supremely formal President Barack Obama (played by Peele). The popularity of the series led to additional high-profile opportunities for the stars and underscored both Key and Peele's ascent to the higher echelons of the comedy business. That success led to the duo's first big-screen effort, the action comedy "Keanu" (2016), in which the pair took on a violent street gang over a stolen kitten. In a somewhat unexpected shift of direction, Peele's first high-profile solo gig was the horror film "Get Out" (2017), which he wrote and directed; a racially-charged satirical film in the tradition of "Rosemary's Baby" (1968) and "The Stepford Wives" (1975), "Get Out" was a major critical and commercial success that poised Peele for a career apart from his longtime friend and partner.

Born February 21, 1979 in New York City, Jordan Peele was, like his future comedy partner Key, raised by biracial parents. The experience would have a profound impact on his comedy, which often addressed issues of racial identity and stereotypes. Initially, Peele chose puppetry as his performance showcase, but moved into sketch comedy while a student at Sarah Lawrence College. He left the school to join the famed Second City and ImprovOlympic troupes in Chicago before relocating to Amsterdam, where he performed with the Boom Chicago improv group. His work there caught the attention of "MADtv" producers, who hired him as a cast member for the show's ninth season in 2003. Peele soon established himself as one of the show's most versatile performers thanks to a wide variety of impersonations, from James Brown and Montel Williams to Carroll Spinney - Big Bird of "Sesame Street" (PBS 1969- ) and Cat Stevens, as well as characters like the abusive "krump" dancer Noodles and Killbrain the Fury, the perpetually humiliated arch-enemy of super-hero Astroman. In 2008, Peele received an Emmy nomination for "Sad Fitty Cent," a parody music video in which the rapper (played by Peele) lamented his beef with Kanye West. In 2007, Peele unsuccessfully auditioned for "Saturday Night Live" (NBC 1975- ) when the producers were looking for a performer to play President Barack Obama, a role that was later given to regular cast member Fred Armisen. While working on "MADtv," Peele forged a creative relationship with fellow castmate Key, with whom he appeared in several sketches, most notably "Dr. Funkenstein," a parody of '70s-era black cast horror films with Key as a wigged-out mad scientist and Peele as his square-Afro'd creation. By 2009, both performers had departed "MADtv" to work on other shows, with Peele making notable contributions to the series "Childrens Hospital" (Adult Swim 2010- ) as the effusive, bisexual Dr. Brian. In 2012, Peele reunited with Key to write and star in the sketch comedy series, "Key & Peele." The critically acclaimed program featured Peele as numerous recurring characters, including a subdued President Obama, who expressed his emotions through an "anger translator" (Key). The series, which debuted to the highest ratings of any Comedy Central launch since 2009, led to additional acting roles on "Modern Family" (ABC 2009- ) and an opportunity to write and star in a feature with Key for producer Judd Apatow. Peele also appeared in the comedy sequel "Little Fockers" (2010) and in David Wain's comedy "Wanderlust" (2012). On television, Peele cropped up regularly in supporting roles on the sketch series "Kroll Show" (Comedy Central 2013-15) and animated sitcom "Bob's Burgers" (Fox 2011- ). Alongside Key, Peele had a recurring role as a FBI agent on the first season of "Fargo" (FX 2014- ). In July 2015, Key and Peele announced that the fifth season of their comedy series would be the last, so that they could focus on other projects together and separately. Peele's first post-K&P project was a recurring role as an obsessive ex-boyfriend on the family sitcom "Life In Pieces" (CBS 2015- ). Peele next co-wrote the action comedy "Keanu" (2016), in which he starred opposite Key as a pair of socially-awkward introverts who infiltrate a drug-dealing street gang after one of the thugs steals a kitten belonging to Peele's character.

In a somewhat unexpected stylistic turn, Peele's first major solo turn came as the writer and director of "Get Out" (2017), an atmospheric and racially-charged horror film about a black man (Daniel Kaluuya) whose suburban weekend trip to meet his white girlfriend's parents turns into a nightmare. The film received both critical acclaim (scoring a rare 100% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes) and major box office success upon its release.

Credits

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