Key and Peele recruit 'Keanu' the kitten to satirize gang culture

Thu Apr 28, 2016 4:34pm EDT
 
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By Piya Sinha-Roy and Rollo Ross

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have satirized American culture through playing characters such as valets and President Barack Obama, but when taking on gang culture in feature film "Keanu," the duo recruited the help of an unlikely ally - a tiny tabby kitten.

Out in U.S. theaters on Friday, "Keanu" is the kitten who arrives on the doorstep of stoner Rell (Peele) and he suddenly finds a new lease of life caring for his little pet.

But when Keanu is stolen, Rell recruits his best friend Clarence (Key) - an upstanding married man with a penchant for the music of George Michael - to rescue the kitten.

The duo find themselves in the depths of gang life and drug culture, something both men have to quickly adapt to and be believable in.

"It's about people from the same race who come from different cultures," Key told Reuters.

"There are so many things up and down the spectrum of the African American experience. We just hope we're displaying that to people."

Over five seasons of television sketch series "Key & Peele" on Comedy Central, the duo riffed on racial and social themes about minority communities.

The actors played an array of characters, from Peele's Obama to black Republicans, football players and a gay couple. Their comedy hinges on "a sense of surprise," Key said.   Continued...

 
Cast members Keegan-Michael Key (L) and Jordan Peele hold a kitten named Warren at the premiere of "Keanu" at ArcLight in Los Angeles, U.S., April 27, 2016.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni