With Get Out and Us, Jordan Peele has cemented his status as one of the brightest directors alive.
These films are much more than thrilling and horrifying. They are social commentaries on race, class, and more in American culture.
But Peele did no rise to fame and prestige with directing. It was his acting chops that got him widely recognized as hilarious, brilliant, and multifaceted.
Jordan Peele got started on the sketch comedy series Mad TV. Along with his frequent collaborator Keegan-Michael Key, Peele gained a notoriety for his solid impersonations and absolutely hilarious skits.
Then, a few years after leaving Mad TV, Peele got his own show along with Key. The show, as most of us know, was Comedy Central’s Key and Peele.
The show was a massive success, largely due to witty and honest writing, socially-aware topics, and strong chemistry between the show’s two leads.
Peele himself produced some of the most memorable characters of the show. There was Meegan, Mike Tyson, and both young and old Barack Obama.
Once again costarring with Key, Peele starred in Keanu, directed by the same man that directed Key and Peele, Peter Atencio.
It became clear that Peele wanted to move beyond just comedy though. He made clear his affinity for the horror genre.
“Like comedy, horror has an ability to provoke thought and further the conversation on real social issues in a very powerful way,” Peele said.
Instead of staying comfortable in a genre he’d been working in for years, Peele pursued a new venture.
Get Out proved to be one of the most daring and socially-conscious films ever, and Peele earned Academy Award nominees for Best Picture and Best Director for the film, along with an Academy Award win for Best Original Screenplay.
He followed that up with Us, another daring film and scathing portrait of classism in America.
Peele may have largely left the acting world behind…
But we won’t ever forget how he got started.