Since their sketch comedy show bowed in January 2012 on Comedy Central, Key and Peele have become cult heroes by hilariously puncturing the myth of a utopian post-racial America in the era of Obama. Averaging 2 million viewers on Wednesday nights, “Key & Peele” is the No. 1 cable show in its time slot among young men and a multiplatform phenomenon, boasting 400 million video streams. Their ongoing sketches featuring President Obama (Peele) and his volatile “anger translator” Luther (Key) have catapulted the duo into the zeitgeist. The president is a fan — he told them he needs his own Luther — and so is comedy kingmaker Judd Apatow, who will team with the duo on a semiautobiographical film set up at Universal.
Like Obama, both men are biracial. Key, 42, grew up in suburban Detroit, raised by progressive social worker parents who adopted him before having a biological son. When Key was 18, he began to search for his birth mother (who is White) and learned that he was the product of her “illicit affair” with a married African-American man. And Peele, who turns 35 in February, is the only son of a single White mother who raised him on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.