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Keegan-Michael Key Explores “The History of Sketch Comedy” in New Podcast

Close headshot of Keegan-Michael Key with a shaved head, mustache and beard and wearing a black shirt against a beige background.
Photo credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Audible today announced the forthcoming release of The History of Sketch Comedy, an Audible Original episodic podcast, written and performed by Emmy Award-winning actor Keegan-Michael Key (The Prom). Directed and co-written by Elle Key, and produced by Bigger Picture Media group and Clamor, the series is equal parts master class, personal journey and performance. Key weaves his vast knowledge of sketch comedy’s rich history together with his own experiences; offering laughs and insight to listeners over ten half-hour episodes. The audio series will premiere on January 28, 2021 and will be available exclusively on Audible. Audible members will be able to access the series as part of the newly launched Audible Plus catalog.

In The History of Sketch Comedy, Key will visit major moments in sketch history, highlighting performers and sketch shows from the first acting troupes that toured Europe in the 1500s to the rise of Variety television, and training grounds such as The Second City in Chicago. He’ll share some influential moments and sketches along the way. He offers in-depth studies on some of the landmark characters, concepts and performers that shaped the comedy, and influenced Key’s own comedic path.

“Keegan-Michael Key has created and performed some of comedy’s most memorable sketches over the years,” said Rachel Ghiazza, Executive Vice President, Head of US 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.”

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

Recently made available, Audible Plus is a new all-you-can-listen service, providing access to an array of Audible Originals, audiobooks, and podcasts that span genres, lengths, and formats, which can be streamed instantly or downloaded for offline listening. Audible Plus allows members greater selection through unlimited access to a robust catalog, in addition to Audible’s new offering of tens of thousands of podcasts, now available free to members and non-members alike. Audible Premium Plus members will also have access to the constantly expanding Audible Plus catalog in addition to one credit per month which can be used for any piece of content outside the Plus catalog, regardless of price or length.

The History of Sketch Comedy will join a series of best-in-class Audible Original audio projects including recent releases such as Kevin Hart’s best-selling Audible Original, The Decision: Overcoming Today’s BS for Tomorrow’s Success, The Pursuit of Healthiness with Blake Griffin, the #1 New York Times best-selling audio fiction The Sandman from Neil Gaiman, performed by James McAvoy, Kat Dennings and Michael Sheen, Letters from Camp, produced and performed by Jamie Lee Curtis, in addition to Common’s Bluebird Memories: A Journey through Lyrics & Life, among many more.

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Emmy and Peabody Award-winning actor, writer, and producer Keegan-Michael Key is known for his extraordinarily diverse skill set, and wide-ranging talent, in both comedy and drama. Key redefines what it means to be a multi-hyphenate in the worlds of film, television, and theater. Audiences can next see Key in Netflix’s Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Story alongside Forest Whitaker, Anika Noni Rose and Ricky Martin, as well as Netflix’s adaptation of the Broadway musical, The Prom, starring alongside Meryl Streep, James Corden, and Nicole Kidman. The in-demand actor also hosted “Game On!” on CBS and National Geographic’s “Brain Games.” He recently starred opposite Eddy Murphy in Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name, and Paramount’s Playing with Fire, alongside John Cena, and can be heard in Disney’s tent-pole blockbuster films Toy Story 4 and The Lion King. Key came to worldwide attention as co-creator and co-star, alongside Jordan Peele, of Comedy Central’s groundbreaking sketch series, “Key & Peele,” which won the 2016 Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding Variety Sketch Series’.


Elle Key is a film, television and commercial director, as well as a writer and producer. She was born in the Bronx and spent her early years working off-Broadway with theater companies such as Malaparte, Naked Angels and The Atlantic. She quickly transitioned to film; producing eight independent features including Nanette Burstein’s Sundance award winning doc “American Teen”, and “August” with Josh Hartnett, Naomi Harris and David Bowie. She also served as the second unit producer on “Fair Game,” directed by Doug Liman. Elle has written and directed on numerous projects including those for the NFL, the Pro-Bowl, the Peabody Awards, the Gotham Awards, and was the first female head writer for the NFL Honors. She is an Executive Producer on “Brain Games” for Disney/National Geographic, as well as an Executive Producer for “Game On!” for CBS. In addition, Elle serves on the Leadership Council of RFK Human Rights and runs the Elle & Keegan-Michael Key Foundation; which supports a number of charities that help educate and inspire change in the world.