Portrait of Jordan Peele
Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele is an actor, comedian, writer, producer, and director. He was born in New York City on February 21, 1979, (Happy Birthday, Jordan!). He attended the Calhoun School in Manhattan and went on to Sarah Lawrence College with the intention of studying puppeteering before dropping out after two years to form a comedy duo with his college roommate. He did sketch comedy and improv in Chicago for some years, eventually landing a tv gig.

Peele initially rose to fame starring in the sketch series Key & Peele on Comedy Central. For five seasons he was also a cast member on Mad TV. In 2014, he had a recurring role in the first season of the FX anthology series Fargo, based on the 1996 film of the same name. “When the comedy acting took over I kind of believed my shot at becoming a director was going away. I believe part of that was self-protection because I adored the form so much I felt I couldn’t possibly make a movie as good as my favourite movies.”

Since he was a child he had watched and studied horror films, working out exactly what makes them scary and why. At 13 he knew wanted to be a horror film director.

In 2017 he took his career to another level with his solo directorial debut, the horror film Get Out, which earned critical acclaim and was a box office success — eventually scoring a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and becoming one of the highest grossing films at the time. The film earned Academy Award nominations for Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Original Screenplay, making Peele just the third person to receive the three nominations for a debut film, and the first black person to receive them for any one film. He also earned the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award at the 2017 Gotham Independent Film Awards and was nominated for a DGA Award and BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay.

Peele’s future projects include a series for HBO and another film. In a recent appearance at the Hollywood Masters series at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and TV, Peele said of the project,

I am currently writing it, and I’ll direct for Universal this year. I’m just trying to entertain myself again. One thing I know is that this is genre; and playing around with the thriller, horror, action, fun, genre of intrigue is my favorite. That’s my sweet spot. So I think tonally it should resemble Get Out. That said, I want to make a completely different movie. I want to address something different than race in the next one.

Peele released one more new production in July of 2017 — his first child, a son named Beaumont Gino Peele.

Today’s CSU Black History Month event: Black is/Black ain’t, 6PM, LSC 335.