Keegan-Michael Key will dole out a broad historical review of sketch comedy going back hundreds of years — through the lens of his experience as a performer — in a new audio series produced exclusively for Audible.
The actor-comedian-producer will write and perform “The History of Sketch Comedy” for Audible, directed and co-written by his wife, Elle Key. The series is produced by the couple’s Bigger Picture Media Group shingle and Clamor.
Comprising 10 half-hour episodes, the show will premiere on Jan. 28, 2021. “The History of Sketch Comedy” will be available exclusively to subscribers of the Amazon-owned company’s recently launched Audible Plus (starting at $7.95/month), which provides unlimited access to thousands of titles.
“Audible has raised the bar for audio storytelling, and I’m excited to take this deep dive into the world of sketch comedy, share some iconic sketches, and show some appreciation to the legends who helped shape this world,” Keegan-Michael Key said in a statement.
Key, of course, has his own history with the genre: Alongside Jordan Peele, he co-created and co-starred in Comedy Central’s Emmy-winning sketch series, “Key & Peele.” Audible describes the forthcoming podcast as “equal parts master class, personal journey and performance.”
In “The History of Sketch Comedy,” Key will explore major moments in sketch history, going back to acting troupes that toured Europe in the 1500s through the rise of variety television and training grounds such as the Second City in Chicago. In addition to highlighting influential moments and sketches, Key will offer in-depth studies on some of the landmark characters, concepts and performers that shaped sketch comedy and influenced him personally.
“Keegan-Michael Key has created and performed some of comedy’s most memorable sketches over the years,” said Rachel Ghiazza, EVP, head of U.S. content at Audible. “We can’t wait to bring this immersive comedy experience, brimming with Keegan-Michael’s unique sense of humor and brilliance to our Audible listeners.”
The series is the latest in the Audible Original lineup, which include Kevin Hart’s “The Decision: Overcoming Today’s BS for Tomorrow’s Success”; “The Pursuit of Healthiness with Blake Griffin”; Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” performed by James McAvoy, Kat Dennings and Michael Sheen; Jamie Lee Curtis’ “Letters from Camp”; and Common’s “Bluebird Memories: A Journey Through Lyrics & Life.”
Among Keegan-Michael Key’s recent credits, he appears in Netflix’s “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Story” alongside Forest Whitaker, Anika Noni Rose and Ricky Martin, as well as Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of Broadway musical “The Prom,” starring alongside Meryl Streep, James Corden and Nicole Kidman. He also hosted sports game show “Game On!” on CBS and National Geographic’s “Brain Games.” In addition, he recently starred opposite Eddy Murphy in Netflix’s “Dolemite Is My Name” and Paramount’s “Playing With Fire” alongside John Cena. Key also lent his voice to Disney films “Toy Story 4” and “The Lion King.”
Elle Key, a film, TV and commercial director, writer and producer, has produced multiple independent features including Nanette Burstein’s Sundance-winning doc “American Teen” and “August” with Josh Hartnett, Naomi Harris and David Bowie. She is an executive producer on “Brain Games” and “Game On!”