Making his directorial debut with the critically acclaimed film ‘Get Out,’ Jordan Peele has announced himself as a force to be reckoned with in an industry where directors of color are rarely given a chance to shine. From his early days as a sketch comedian to his recent Oscar nomination, we sat down with the 38-year-old to discuss his career, life, and newfound success.
1. You released your first feature film this year, Get Out. Were you surprised by all the critical acclaim it got?
To be perfectly honest, I was very surprised! First and foremost, Get Out is all just an allegory for the 1987 World Series. The main character is the Minnesota Twins, his white girlfriend is the St. Louis Cardinals, and racism is baseball. Also the deer is the infield fly rule. I’m just glad people got that.
2. You first made it big on Key & Peele with your longtime comedy partner Keegan-Michael Key. What was your experience working with him on the show?
Keegan and I compliment each other really well. Keegan actually went blind from looking at porn, and I became completely deaf from working as an SAT tutor at a gun range. After we met, we knew we had something special, so we just started filming it. That’s how the Obama anger-translator sketch was born.
3. You left Key & Peele behind to try to make Get Out. What was that process like early on?
It was tough because when I first told Keegan what I wanted to do, he assumed we’d be doing the horror stuff together and started pitching me some of the shittiest scary movie ideas I’ve ever heard. It was heartbreaking. Whether it was, “Our movie will basically be Halloween except Mike Myers will only kill one horse by accident,” or just a detail that he thought was scary like, “a big-ass horse dying by accident near some ocean without leaving any clues,” it was all a nightmare to listen to.
4. Your wife, Chelsea Peretti, is also a comedian. How do you avoid competing with each other?
Every morning we challenge each other to write the best joke about the Vietnam War to determine who’s funnier. Chelsea always wins because of her vast knowledge of the effects of Agent Orange.
5. Do you plan to continue working with Keegan-Michael Key?
Not as a comedy partner, but we might, like, work together at Sears or something.