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Keegan-Michael Key and Elle Key: Writing the Laughter – A Journey through Sketch Comedy

An Unexpected Pitch

When Elle Key pitched the idea of writing “The History of Sketch Comedy” to her husband, Keegan-Michael Key, he initially hesitated. Keegan-Michael Key reflects on how he resisted the idea, questioning the effort required for writing a book. However, Elle Key’s persistence and belief in her husband’s knowledge of sketch comedy ultimately prevailed.

A Collaborative Endeavor

Elle Key’s determination led to a collaboration between the couple, who share a home in New York City and married in 2018. They embarked on a journey that would not only result in a book but also a successful Audible podcast of the same name in 2021. The couple discusses how the podcast evolved into a book, adapting its content while retaining Keegan-Michael Key’s unique comedic voice.

From Podcast to Book

Elle Key reveals that the original seed for the project was the book, and the podcast emerged as a natural progression. The book’s structure closely mirrors that of the podcast, with ten chapters covering the history of comedy from its origins among cavemen to modern-day TikTok comedians.

Maintaining the Energy

Elle Key, a writer, director, and producer, shares her efforts to preserve the high energy of the podcast within the book’s pages. The couple discusses how they transformed podcast scripts into book chapters while keeping Keegan-Michael Key’s distinctive comedic voice intact.

A Unique Blend of Comedy

The book includes excerpts from iconic comedy figures, both classic and contemporary, as well as personal stories from Keegan-Michael Key’s life. These elements add depth and a personal touch to the broader narrative, offering readers a unique blend of humor and insight.

The Power of Sketch Comedy

Keegan-Michael Key and Elle Key discuss their earliest memories of sketch comedy and how it has influenced their lives. Keegan-Michael Key shares a memorable childhood moment watching “Saturday Night Live” with his father, and Elle Key recalls the impact of the Carol Burnett Show on her family.

The Evolving Landscape

The Keys highlight the evolution of sketch comedy, noting that “Saturday Night Live” remains a dominant force in the genre. They also emphasize the importance of increased diversity in sketch comedy, celebrating the contributions of shows like “In Living Color,” “Key & Peele,” and “A Black Lady Sketch Show.” The rise of social media has provided new platforms for diverse voices to share their comedic talent, creating a more inclusive landscape.

In conclusion, “The History of Sketch Comedy” by Keegan-Michael Key and Elle Key offers readers a captivating journey through the world of sketch comedy, reflecting their deep passion for humor and their commitment to diversity in the field.



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