Jordan Haworth Peele (born February 21, 1979) is an American actor, writer, comedian, producer, and director. Although he started out in comedy, he now has a reputation as a great master of Horror.
Peele is perhaps best known as one-half of the comedy duo Key & Peele with Keegan-Michael Key, whom he met while starring on the FOX late-night sketch comedy series MADtv. Originally, FOX hired them so they could pick one of the two for the show's cast. However, both ended up staying on since Key and Peele were not only excellent individual performers but had great comedic chemistry between them. Peele's recurring characters on the show included Funkenstein's Monster (in a series of poorly-made blaxploitation film parodies, with Key as Doctor Funkenstein), an unnamed Scottish warlord who tries to convince his men that he was raped by the enemy, and Dontelle LaMontrose (from the show Inside Looking Out). Notable celebrity impressions included Caroll Spinney (who played Big Bird on Sesame Street), Ja Rule, James Brown (the football commentator, not the singer), Flavor Flav, Justin Guarini, Montel Williams, Morgan Freeman, Timbaland, and Forest Whitaker.
Peele left MADtv in 2008 (a year before the show itself was canceled; meanwhile Keegan-Michael Key stayed on until it ended in 2009) and auditioned for a spot on Saturday Night Live when the latter show was looking for another black cast member to play Barack Obama. Sadly, Peele was passed up, though he did end up playing Obama on the Comedy Central sketch show Key & Peele (with Key appearing as Luther, Obama's anger translator).
Peele's 2017 directorial debut, the satirical horror film Get Out (2017), was a smash hit both critically and financially; it earned him three Academy Award nominations (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay), making Peele only the third-ever filmmaker note to receive those accolades for their debut release. He won Best Original Screenplay, becoming the first black screenwriter to receive that award.
Peele followed it up with another horror film, Us, in 2019, which had the second largest opening weekend for any original live-action film to date, behind only Avatar. The same year, he was the host and executive producer for CBS's online revival of The Twilight Zone.
Peele is married to actress and comedian Chelsea Peretti.
- MADtv (2003 — 2008) as himself / various characters
- "White and Nerdy" (2006) — one of the two 'gangsters' who look at "Weird Al" Yankovic in the music video
- Childrens Hospital (2010 — 2015) as Dr. Brian
- Little Fockers (2010) as EMT
- Key & Peele (2012 — 2015) as himself / various characters note
- Bob's Burgers (2014) as various characters
- Fargo (2014) as Special Agent Webb Pepper
- Life in Pieces (2014 — 2015) as Chad
- Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (2015) as Alan
- Keanu (2016) as Rell / Oil Dresden note
- Storks (2016) as Beta Male (voice)
- Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017) as Melvin Sneedly (voice)
- Big Mouth (2017 — present) as The Ghost of Duke Ellington & various voices
- The Twilight Zone (2019) as host and narrator note
- Toy Story 4 (2019) as Bunny (voice)
Jordan Peele provides examples of the following tropes:
- Author Tract: His work carries strong themes of racism and prejudice towards African Americans. He shows both sides the pendulum; how dehumanising racism can be, and how being magnanimous can be just as damaging.
- Every Man Has His Price: In a Rolling Stones interview, he explained he largely turned down franchises in the hope of directing his original stuff. That said, he was happy to write and produce The Twilight Zone and claimed he'd direct a Gargoyles reboot given the chance.
- Nerd Glasses: He has been seen wearing a pair of one later in his career.
- Playing Against Type: Despite working for decades in comedy, Get Out (2017) did enough to secure his reputation in the horror genre, leading up to him helming the Twilight Zone revival and even a new Candyman. That's not even saying with his new horror movie Us, which already made him a bigger star than he already is.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: He's the Blue Oni to Key's more dynamic and fiery Red Oni.
- Rule of Symbolism: Get Out and Us have so much iconography and subtle visual imagery that the internet is guaranteed to go nuts with Wild Mass Guessing whenever Peele unveils a new directorial project.
- Those Two Guys: With Keegan-Michael Key.
- Tom Hanks Syndrome: He started off with sketch comedy before entering the director's chair to do horror films. It kind of zig-zags since Peele is still doing some comedic roles while he's directing.
- What Could Have Been:
- Auditioned for Saturday Night Live in 2008 when the latter show was looking for a skinny, black comedian to play Barack Obama. Sadly, Peele didn't make it. While SNL did catch flak for having Fred Armisen as Obama (since Armisen appears to be white, despite that he is half-Venezuelan and one-quarter Korean), that show eventually found its skinny black guy to play Obama in 2012 with Jay Pharoah. As for Peele, he ended up playing Barack Obama on his own Comedy Central sketch show (which, as far as sketch comedy fans are concerned, is a better, funnier interpretation).
- Peele has approached Disney to produce a live-action remake of Gargoyles. They turned him down.