Jordan Peele is retiring: His best acting roles remembered
“It’s a bad kind of masturbatory. It’s masturbation you don’t enjoy.” That’s how Jordan Peele described the experience of watching himself in movies. The colorful statement was part of a conversation Peele had with fellow actor Bradley Whitford during an ActBlue fundraising event. Peele was trying to explain why he believes he’s done with acting and ready to focus solely on working behind the camera.
When you have massive hits like Get Out and Us under your writing/directing belt, it must be a little easier to make the decision to retire from acting. That’s not to say Jordan Peele’s acting career is anything to sneeze at – in fact, you could argue Peele’s acting is what opened the door for him to explore other areas of filmmaking.
With that in mind, let’s take a trip down memory lane and celebrate Jordan Peele’s most memorable acting roles in movies & TV!
Barack Obama – Key and Peele (2012 – 2015)
Jordan Peele’s comedic work with Keegan-Michael Key would define a big part of both of their careers. Their original breakthrough sketch – in which Peele introduced us to his hilarious impersonation of Barack Obama – remains a high point in the comedian’s repertoire as well as a highlight of Key & Peele’s popular sketch show.
FBI Agent Budge – Fargo (2014)
Few movies have made the jump to TV as successfully as Fargo, and Jordan Peele managed to land a role in the first season of the acclaimed TV show. Teaming up with Keegan-Michael Key in a bit of stunt casting, the duo played two bumbling FBI agents who fit right into Fargo’s quirky ensemble.
Chad – Life in Pieces (2015)
A year before finally making the jump into movies, Jordan Peele played a hilarious recurring role in CBS’s Life in Pieces. The short-lived comedy (okay, so the show lasted three seasons – it still feels short-lived because it was gone too soon!) employed Peele’s comedic chops to perfection by casting him as an obsessive ex-boyfriend who refuses to leave his old girlfriend’s life.
The role could’ve easily turned into an off-putting character but Peele knew how to tilt the balance toward “funny” rather than “creepy”. Of course, once Jordan Peele started directing movies, he started tilting that balance the other way.
Rell Williams / Oil Dresden – Keanu (2016)
Jordan Peele wasn’t quite ready to direct movies yet, but he was up for writing them. Keanu was written by Peele and directed by Peter Atencio – a constant collaborator of Peele’s from the Key and Peele days. The movie featured the debut of Keegan-Michael Key & Jordan Peele on the big screen, alongside the adorable kitty that gave the movie its title.
Key & Peele doubled-down on the fun by playing dual roles. In addition to playing the clueless protagonists who find themselves taking care of a cat with mob connections, the comedy team also played two assassins who serve as the climactic antagonists. Keanu basically served a super-sized helping of Key & Peele goodness to their fans everywhere.
Bunny – Toy Story 4 (2019)
Jordan Peele started directing movies in 2017 when he took the world by storm with Get Out. That didn’t mean he was done with acting just yet though, and he had at least one more memorable role left in him.
Peele reunited with Keegan-Michael Key one more time in the latest installment of the Toy Story franchise. The duo played two very confrontational stuffed animals that could have easily been part of a Key and Peele sketch (or several). Given how popular the characters were, it wouldn’t be surprising if the comedians eventually reprise their roles in a future sequel, even with Peele officially having retired from acting.
Do you have a favorite Jordan Peele role we haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments!