Keegan-Michael Key: How I Think About Diversity on Screen

October 9, 2018

By Carlo Versano

Comedian Keegan-Michael Key has a full calendar.

In addition to several high-profile film and television projects ("Predator," Netflix's "Friends from College," teen romance "All the Bright Places") Key is lending his celebrity to former first lady Michelle Obama's "Get Out the Vote" campaign ahead of the midterms.

Although he's known primarily for his sketch-comedy series "Key and Peele," with Academy Award-winner Jordan Peele, Key told Cheddar in a wide-ranging interview on Monday that "if Michelle calls, I'm there."

He said the deeply partisan divide in America has inspired him, both politically and artistically, to tell stories as an actor and producer about multi-dimensional characters to show that we're not as different as we seem.

"Media has the opportunity to help us show the world all the facets of a person," he said.

Part of that mission includes a role in the forthcoming film "All the Bright Places," which is based on the popular YA novel of the same name.

The story follows two teens facing depression and isolation in a small Indiana town. Key said the adaptation attempts to show certain ways that young people cope with mental health issues in the modern age.

"How is the world we're living in affecting teens today different from how it would have been in the 80s...or the 50's?" he asked.

As a black actor, Key said he is also committed to telling stories that don't focus explicitly on racial issues, per se, but include diverse characters with "a little extra spice."

"What do you call a black astronaut?" he joked. "An astronaut."

For full interview click here.