Keegan-Michael Key, one half of the sketch duo in the Comedy Central hit show "Key & Peele," said it wasn't hard at all to act out the many characters in the whimsical college football video to preview their second season.
Key, who grew up in Detroit, is that big of a sports fan. As he walked to the set, he recreated a different voice that he remembered from years of watching sports.
"My wife looked puzzled at me in 1996 when the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. I was weeping a little," said Key, who graduated with a masters of fine arts from Penn State. "Sports is one of the conduits for men to be platonically intimate with each other. I told her, you women can cry, hug and drink wine."
The other half of the duo, Jordan Peele, is a little more matter-of-fact about sports.
"I had several unsuccessful bouts with basketball and soccer," said Peele, who was born in New York. "I've recently become a diehard football fan. I'm normally a pacifist, non-violent person. But sports means you can get your inner warrior out."
And that, in some ways, is what is happening for Key and Peele in the second season of their show, which begins tonight.
"In the first season, we were finding our voice," said Key, who met and worked with Peele during several seasons on "MADtv." "This season, you can expect us to have a little more freedom. We're using all the frame as a playground. We're also a little edgier."
Peele said the duo has worked well together, creating original characters and spot-on impersonations of others, and couldn't imagine doing a show by himself.
"Keegan is one of those guys who can raise the vibe in the workplace and he's a genuinely nice guy. That's rare in this business," Peele said. "I can't imagine how David Chappelle and others do a solo sketch show and deal with all the workload and stress. It's a joy to have someone to share everything each week."
So imagine what happens when you and your partner recently bomb doing some of the routine in the college football video at a show in San Francisco, with TMZ.com there to document it.
"I was only mildly surprised by the reaction. The environment was not really conducive to the way we do comedy on stage," Key said. "It was like the audience had expected something else. Like in football, you feed the running back the rock. Then all of a sudden, you have a passing play. The defense is confounded. In this case, the audience was confounded."
So, with that behind them, the duo said they are ready to tackle anything for Season 2.
"I sometimes have been turning to Jordan on the set saying, 'This is really a lot of fun,'" Key said. "We're very fortunate we get to do what we love to do."