Key and Peele Talk About Their Experience on ‘Fargo’, How They Were Cast, and More

By June 10, 2014

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend “An Evening with Key and Peele” at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills. Patton Oswalt moderated a discussion with Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, the stars of Comedy Central’s hilarious hit series “Key & Peele,” and at the end of the discussion, there was an opportunity for members of the audience to ask questions. The entire night focused on their Comedy Central show, but I had to ask them about their appearance on the terrific FX series “Fargo,” on which they play a couple of bumbling FBI agents. Here’s what they said about their experience working on the series:

Jordan Peele: They just straight offered us the roles to be on “Fargo,” which is just the coolest thing. I think that, if it were any other project, we probably would have been hesitant to jump on as – you know, my fear is that Key and Peele stepping into a world, does that take you out of the world and sort of challenge that genre? But because it was this specific world and we’re Coen Brothers fans, nerds –

Keegan-Michael Key: True blue.

Jordan Peele: – and show creator Noah Hawley ended up doing such a brilliant job of infusing the dialogue with that Coen Brothers sensibility and bringing so much of that world together, it was really a dream project. I would say, performance-wise, it was relatively easy compared with what we do [on “Key & Peele”], except for the fact that we were in Calgary and it was fucking freezing. (Everyone laughs.) But I think the challenge in it was deciding how to combat that fear of having this tonal shift. I think there are a lot of ways it could go wrong, with Key and Peele all of a sudden in this “Fargo” thing, and I think we just wanted to do the world as much justice as we could and be careful not to go too broad. The way Noah described it to us was that we’d be like the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of the series, and that’s our language.

Patton Oswalt: It doesn’t feel like Key and Peele in the show. It feels like two distinct characters that they wrote and then thought, ‘Those guys would be great to play these characters.’ It didn’t feel like, ‘We should try to get Key and Peele in here to get their fans.’ These are very real, distinct – unlike anything you guys have played before. If you watch the show, it doesn’t take you out of the show at all, so you’re instantly playing different characters.

Keegan-Michael Key: Noah’s really quite good at that. The world is so ironclad, I didn’t think we’d be able to topple that world. It has so much history connected to it as well, and it was a real joy because it allows me to flex older muscles. Older theater muscles, drama muscles. And it was an elegant experience, other than it being eleven degrees below zero.

Key & Peele laugh

The fourth season of “Key & Peele” is filming now, and “Fargo” airs on Tuesday nights at 10pm on FX. Are you fans of Key & Peele? What do you think about them on “Fargo”?

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at,,,, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.
  • Chris Mackay

    They’re great on Fargo. Love the show and they help me love it that little bit more. Key and Peele the comedy show has its moments and they are great moments, but it has a lot of filler or weaker material that makes finding those great moments quite an effort. Still I enjoy it. Fargo though is just television perfection.