Jordan Peele, explained: from Key & Peele to us


Two years after Jordan Peele's film and revolutionary debut, pop culture has electrified, Skirt continues to be not only one of the most important films of 2017, but also one of the most significant films of recent memory. It is a sagacious and very entertaining horror film, deeply rooted in well-established troops of the genre, but equally rooted in the experience of being black in America. Skirt was the rare pleasure of the audience that enjoyed a tremendous critical acclaim, a viral memes factory that also received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture and won Peele the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

So it's no surprise that Peele's accompanying movie, We, had one of the most impressive openings of 2019 so far. The highly anticipated and critically acclaimed horror film had advanced ticket sales that surpassed both Skirt and the success of the terror of 2018 A quiet placeand hit Captain Marvel out of his box office throne with a record $ 70 million weekend – the highest ever for an original horror film, and the second highest for an action-adventure film.

We cemented Peele's place in the recent modern era of innovative, original and allegorically rich horror film. But that's not all he's done. In the wake of his Skirt success, he was also recently executive producer of the Amazon Prime documentary Lorena, as well as another upcoming Amazon Prime series, The hunt. He also executive produced a remake of Candy man, the cult horror film about gentrification that influenced Skirt. On the acting side, he joined the cast of the next stop motion movie on Netflix Wendell and Wild, and he is expressing a character in the next Toy Story 4.

The series he co-created for TBS, The last O.G., is returning for a second season; Peele also co-wrote the recent science fiction anthology of YouTube Premium Strange City. And in addition to directing his second course, Peele also hosts the upcoming CBS All Access news. Twilight Zone reboot, a role that explores his expansive knowledge of horror as a genre and a means to explore our deepest anxieties.

But, as all these recent and future projects indicate, Peele does not just make horror – not even close. In fact, he is even better known as a comedy writer and performer, such as half of the comedian duo Key and Peele, stars of the cult hit comedy Central of the same name.

While you may see no direct connection between your comic beginnings and your current status as a critically acclaimed genre author, if we take a closer look, it is easy to see how much overlap exists between Peele's past and present work- and how well Key and Peele prepared you to take your explorations of conventions and gender tropes to the next level.

The nature of Peele's education stimulated him to explore subjects of persona and performativity in his comedy

Peele, 40, was born in New York in 1979 and grew up in the Upper West Side. Growing up in a biracial family, Peele often had to change his code, a fact that had a big part in his education and made a deep impression on him. "The world wanted me to speak differently from what I say," he remarked in 2013 in an interview with NPR. Fresh air.

"I speak like my mother; I speak like the whiter white guy; I talk like a comedian from Def Comedy Jam making an impression of a white guy … I even remember when I was a child that from time to time you would appear in someone who questioned how I was talking and whether or not I was trying to be something which I was not.

This pressure of being a chameleon led to what appears to be Peele's lifelong fascination for disappearing into other roles and voices. He attended Sarah Lawrence College in Westchester, New York, with the intention of studying the puppets before being seduced by the improvisational call. As Peele made inroads as a comedy performer, he became known for creating intensely incarnated performances and strange imitations (most notably his impression of Barack Obama). As he told NPR, that was part of the trick.

"It can not be a coincidence that I decided to enter into a career where all my purpose is altering the way I speak and experiencing these different characters and perhaps proving in my soul that the way someone speaks has nothing to do with who they are, "he said.

Peele became known for deftly inhabiting characters in comedy sketches, which led him to join Fox's sketch comedy cast Crazy TV in 2003 – alongside new artist Keegan Michael Key. In one of those rare moments of serendipity, the two met shortly before joining the show while singing improvisation in Chicago's Second City – where they "fell in the love of comedy" .

In Crazy TV, Key and Peele were escape stars, whose chemistry together made them one of the most versatile duo of comedy. In addition to enhancing its Crazy, they also began to enhance satiric and racial-filled visuals, and it was this aspect of their comedy, combined with their hilarious visions of pop culture and its diversity of characters that would make Key and Peele a hit.

Key and Peele it was brilliant comedy. It also contained all the ingredients for Peele's horror.

Along Key and Peele, which spanned five seasons at Comedy Central between 2012 and 2015, Key and Peele heavily focused on skewering pop culture tropes – all from friendship ballads to tribes of primitive warriors to Saw, The usual suspectsand The miserable – along with hilarity parodying the excesses of Hollywood itself.

But the duo did not just play with tricks to just subvert them. They also often used them to highlight cultural and social anxieties and peculiarities – often involving race in America.

Key and Peele were also on the point when it came to hilarious and insightful aspects of racial identity. They often explored the act of exchanging codes for comedy; in a famous sketch, two black men placed on fronts full of arrogance seem harder than each of them; in another, they parody President Barack Obama's tendency to pass between the sober formality and the more relaxed tones, depending on who he is talking to.

They have also often looked at how racial ideas can distort perspectives. In one of his most popular drawings, a black substitute teacher uttered extravagantly the names of students in his all-white classroom in a hilarious parody of whites' tendency to exotize and react exaggeratedly to the names of people of color. In another sketch that presages directly the tone and general theme of Skirt, the scenario of a black man wearing a hood in a white neighborhood is framed as a scene from a horror film:

An important theme of Key and Peele's comedy, an integral part of the variety and versatility of the characters they portray, is a disconnect between a perceived social context and a real experience – which can produce a comedy that is as uncomfortable as it is revealing.

This gap between perception and reality is also a huge subject of each of Peele's horror films to date. At where Skirt He took the classic theme of an idyllic suburb masking obscure secrets and applied it to the cultural experience of blackness in America, We It took this concept even further with a richly layered plot revolving around the idea of ​​secret and terrifying doppelgängers – a great horror image that produced a complex metaphor about systemic privilege and inequality in America.

Many, many creators have used horror to explore what lies beneath the surface of American consciousness. But Peele uses not only horror to explore which hides beneath the surface, but also to subtly indict his audience by refusing to see him. In Weit is society's deliberate choice to forget, repress and refuse to learn from the mistakes of the past that allow subterranean horror to be cultivated under a social veneer of stability.

It is significant that Peele continues to impregnate his more serious works to the big screen with the satirical comedy in which he began to work, both to balance the tension and to sharpen the points he is creating. Skirt and We are significant for much more than his incisive social commentary and deliberate craft; They are also really funny, with a unique and clever sense of humor that only a horror filmmaker with their feet in a lighter world could use so well.

The lessons that Peele learned about appealing to audiences, and how to actually attract audiences with funny and funny characters and situations, are now worth the box office – where, after two consecutive films, "Fr. Jordan Peele's "movie" is now unquestionably a brand of its own.

Writing about Peele in 2015, Zadie Smith noted that "he's so convincing in voice and gestures that it makes you see what's not really there," but what may be more true of Peele as a director is that he makes you see , and beyond that, confront the truth, of what has always been there – the horror out there, and the horror within you.


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