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Jordan Peele stars in Comedy Central's sketch comedy series "Key & Peele." He also recently played the recurring character of Dr. Brian on Adult Swim's scripted comedy "Childrens Hospital."

While growing up in New York City, Jordan Peele had many opportunities to do what he terms "cool stuff." One anecdote that Jordan loves to share involves a trip that he took to Washington, DC, when he was a young teen. He was one of about forty kids asked to participate in a Peter Jennings special in which
Jordan Peele in "Key & Peele"
Jordan Peele Key & Peele
the kids asked President Bill Clinton any questions that were on their minds. Before Jordan could ask Clinton what he planned to do to help single mothers, Jennings tried to end the telecast; however, the observant President caught Jordan's hand in the air just in time to interrupt Jennings and answer the persistent youngster's question. As Jordan later joked, "You didn't get me that time, Jennings." In a sense, that anecdote serves as a metaphor for Jordan's five-year stint on "MADtv," during which he has learned that the most successful performers are the ones who know how to look out for themselves: "No one's going to get your back; you've got to grab some." That valuable showbiz lesson has been a long time in the making.

Jordan's first real foray into the performance arena was Tada!, a nonprofit youth theater in New York City with a supportive learning environment. At Calhoun, a college preparatory school located in Manhattan's West Side, Jordan performed in many theater presentations. While attending Sarah Lawrence College, in New York City, Jordan became involved with Judith — not a woman, but the college comedy troupe. Still, a woman from Judith, troupe director Rebecca Drysdale, would prove instrumental in Jordan's initial ascent through the improv comedy ranks. The two friends moved to Chicago, Illinois, in June 1999 to study at Second City and Improv Olympics; soon after, they put together a sketch comedy program entitled "Two White Guys." The show was hugely successful at both Second City's Sky Box Theater and Improv Olympics, where it won a Del Award for Best Scripted Show. Nevertheless, bigger things for Jordan were on the horizon.

After about a year of studying and performing in Chicago, Jordan traveled to Amsterdam, Holland, to audition for Boom Chicago. He won a spot with the acclaimed improv theater, where he would work alongside fellow future "MADtv" cast members Ike Barinholtz, Josh Meyers, and Nicole Parker. Jordan loved the immediacy of the Boom Chicago experience: "You can figure out exactly what somebody's sense of humor is. You can see them do five improv scenes in one night, and you get to see them do their take on a character. If you go the next night, you've got everybody's character and their 'bit' down." The theater placed a great emphasis on taking care of one's improv partner onstage; as a result, there was always a great rapport among Boom Chicago's performers. Jordan always saw them as "warm folk" in a supportive environment, the likes of which he has not quite experienced since.

Nevertheless, Jordan would have been hard-pressed to argue that being a cast member on "MADtv" was not a great trade-off: "It's a confidence roller coaster, and it's also incredibly fun. I feel very lucky to be a part of it." The first step to becoming a part of "MADtv" was to audition in Los Angeles, California, over two days. The following morning, Jordan flew back to Amsterdam; that evening, Boom Chicago alumni Josh Meyers and Ike Barinholtz, who were now full-fledged "MADtv" cast members, called him with the great news. Jordan began his "MADtv" stint as a featured player during Season 9; by Season 10, he too was a regular cast member.

Jordan readily admits that "MADtv" differed from Boom Chicago in many regards: "[I'm] responsible for more of myself than I have been before. When I first got [to 'MADtv'], I wanted to be taken care of, like what you were in improv school." Jordan points out that on "MADtv," more people would make decisions for him than ever before, especially in terms of writing. Whereas he wrote or co-wrote nearly everything he did at Boom Chicago, he didn't quite have the same sense of autonomy at "MADtv": "It's weird to just all of a sudden have somebody give you their take on what you do. You feel like you don't want to mess it up because their job's in there too." Also, the overall sense of intimacy that existed at Boom Chicago was largely missing at "MADtv"; in fact, the producers normally saw Jordan and the other cast members during only the tapings and table readings. Even so, Jordan noted that the "MADtv" cast was surprisingly tight; after all, before the other cast members joined "MADtv," many of them had performance experiences similar to Jordan's.

Therefore, despite the initial shock he felt upon first making the transition from Boom Chicago to "MADtv," Jordan learned to adapt very well. Although the show's writers did not really know what to do with Jordan initially, things gradually improved for him. In fact, Jordan himself eventually became one of the primary contributing writers for "MADtv"; the freedom to use his imagination in this way, he said, was the most fun part of being a "MADtv" cast member. He even found time for various side projects: a movie with Ike and Dave Chappelle (which unfortunately was never released), a cameo in the Weird Al Yankovic video "White and Nerdy," and even a guest appearance on "Celebrity Poker Showdown" with fellow "MADtv" cast member Keegan-Michael Key. To this day, Jordan still gets a kick out of people who recognize him as "that guy from 'MADtv'" or "that guy from the Weird Al video." Although he still yearned at times for the camaraderie of those Boom Chicago days, Jordan Peele definitely learned to succeed on his own as a "MADtv" cast member.

Unfortunately for his fans, after five seasons on "MADtv," Jordan decided to say goodbye to the series that helped propel him to his current star status. Because of the writer's strike during the abbreviated Season 13, Jordan's last for "MADtv," many speculated that those involved with the show would seek a loophole in his original five-year contract in order to squeeze more episodes out of him for Season 14. Somehow, though, Jordan managed to escape any rumored power play, thereby taking advantage of the opportunity to leave "MADtv" on his own terms. For a comedic performer who had learned over the years to take care of himself and call his own shots, the departure seemed like a fitting end to his tenure on the sketch comedy series. Jordan Peele will certainly have the opportunity to call many more of those shots as he pursues his post-"MADtv" entertainment career and continues to provide his numerous fans with quality laughs for years to come.

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How tall is Jordan Peele? How old is Jordan Peele? Find out here.

Age: 37 years old
Birthday: February 21, 1979
Height: 5' 9"
Birthplace: New York, NY

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