Jordan Haworth Peele (born February 21, 1979 in New York City) is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and director. Although he started out in comedy, he has gained a reputation as one of the most acclaimed horror directors currently working in the genre.
Peele rose to fame as one half of the comedy duo Key & Peele with Keegan-Michael Key, whom he met while co-starring on the Fox late-night sketch comedy series Mad TV. Their own sketch series, also titled Key & Peele, ran on Comedy Central from 2012 to 2015. In 2016, Key and Peele starred in the comedy film Keanu, which they also produced.
Peele's 2017 directorial debut, the social thriller Get Out, was a smash hit both critically and financially, and also earned four Academy Award nominations (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actor for Daniel Kaluuya), making him only the third-ever filmmaker note to receive the former three nominations for a debut film. He also won for Best Original Screenplay, becoming the first black screenwriter to receive that award.
Peele followed up the success 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 All Access's revival of The Twilight Zone. His third film, another horror film titled Nope (this time with sci-fi elements), was released on July 22, 2022. At the 2023 Game Awards, it was announced that he is collaborating with Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima to co-write the horror game OD, made in association with Xbox Game Studios and Kojima's own company, Kojima Productions. He has also been announced to have a fourth original movie in the works, the story of which is currently unknown.
Peele is married to actress and comedian Chelsea Peretti, with whom he has one son.
- Mad TV (2003–08) as himself / various characters
- "White and Nerdy" (2006) as one of the two 'gangsters' who look at "Weird Al" Yankovic in the music video
- Childrens Hospital (2010–15) as Dr. Brian
- Little Fockers (2010) as EMT
- Key & Peele (2012–15) as himself / various characters note
- Epic Rap Battles of History (2013) as Martin Luther King Jr.
- Bob's Burgers (2014) as various characters
- The Bob's Burgers Movie (2022) as Fanny
- Fargo (2014) as Special Agent Webb Pepper
- Life in Pieces (2014–15) 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 (2019–21) as host and narrator note
- Toy Story 4 (2019) as Bunny (voice)
- Wendell & Wild (2022) as Wild (voice)note
Jordan Peele's work provides examples of the following tropes:
- Animal Motifs: Goes hand-in-hand with Rule of Symbolism. All his films so far have featured a significant animal motif — Get Out has deer, Us has rabbits, and Nope has horses.
- Author Tract: Peele's work frequently addresses the prejudice towards African-Americans in the United States and he often uses allegories, analogies, and symbolism in his stories to emphasize this theme. Peele has stated in an interview that his stories are also about how humans can have the capacity to commit great evil."My films and the type of horror I like to make stories about, I think tend to be about this fact that human beings are the monster. We're capable of good things but we're capable of very bad things and if we fail to acknowledge what we do, the evil that we commit, we're doomed to repeat it.
- He is so famous for this it was referenced in a Saturday Night Live sketch where Rami Malek auditions for Peele's biopic about Prince. When asked if he knows what the project is about, Malek replies, "Let me guess. It starts out a horror movie but then ends up an allegory about racism." The actor playing Peele can only stammer out, "Well…yes."
- Creator Backlash: Peele eventually retired from doing on-screen acting, and has stated that he dislikes acting in any of his own works after shifting into writing and directing, as he felt the idea of acting in one of his own projects to be "masturbation that you don't enjoy". That said, Peele continues to lend his voice for various animated projects.
- Playing Against Type: Despite working for decades in comedy, Get Out did enough to secure his reputation in the horror genre, leading up to him serving as a writer/producer/host on the Twilight Zone revival and producing/co-writing a Candyman movie. That's not even saying with his second original 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. Likewise, Nope spends a lengthy time on a flashback about a supporting character that seemingly doesn’t affect the main plotline much but serves to visualize the story’s central theme.
- 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: Peele approached Disney to produce a live-action remake of Gargoyles, but they turned him down.