Keegan-Michael Key looking to invest in Detroit

The Southfield-bred “Key and Peele” star plans to return to the city and dramatize stories of the city

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Keegan-Michael Key is strolling into a conference room at WDIV-TV when he’s stopped by a fan, a man in his 30s. Key goes for a handshake, the fan goes for a hug, and they embrace.

“You make existing possible,” the fan gushes to Key.

“Wow,” says Key, clearly taken aback. “That’s a new one, I haven’t heard that before.”

When he gets that kind of love, it’s no wonder Key, 45, enjoys home. The Southfield-bred “Key and Peele” star makes several trips a year to Detroit and is planning on spending even more time in the city.

“The time has certainly come for me to purchase something here. I want that to happen in the very immediate future,” says Key.

He also wants to tell Detroit stories; he says he’s in the early stages of putting together a project that dramatizes Detroit’s bankruptcy.

“Part of being in the space is investing in the space, and I want to jump back in and see how I can help,” Key says.

Key was in town earlier this month doing press for his new film “Don’t Think Twice,” which opens Friday. While here, he also filmed a part for “Detroiters,” the upcoming Comedy Central series which stars “SNL” writer Tim Robinson, a Clarkston native who is one of Key’s former students at Hamtramck’s Planet Ant improv theater. (Key will play a furniture salesman named Smiling Jack.)

After starring in this year’s “Keanu” with his “Key and Peele” partner Jordan Peele, Key has several projects on deck, including the comedy “Why Him?” with James Franco and Bryan Cranston, and the animated family comedy “Storks.” And he’s looking to return to live theater in New York next year.

“It’s the new old direction,” Key says. “I miss the theater. My training is in drama; I was a classically trained actor who went on this 19-year detour into sketch comedy, and I’ve come back full circle.”

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