Keegan-Michael Key is hosting Saturday Night Live this week, and he already has fans laughing in the first promos. Key takes over after a controversial episode of SNL last week when businessman Elon Musk was the host. As a sketch comedy veteran, Key seems better prepared to handle the role.
Key appeared in three quick promos this weekend with musical guest Olivia Rodrigo and cast member Kate McKinnon. The three of them cracked some quick jokes to draw fans in ahead of the real show, including one referencing Key's past in other sketch comedy shows like Mad TV and Key and Peele. In one, McKinnon asked: "Do you think you're going to bring back any of your old characters?" Key answered: "Oh, I kind of want to focus on the new stuff, so—" but McKinnon cut him off by gesturing to Rodrigo and saying: "I'm sorry, I was talking to Olivia." She responded: "Yeah if the mood strikes me."
Rodrigo may well be one of those musical guests who strays into a sketch or two on SNL, given her history as an actress. She is best known for appearing on The Disney Channel's Bizaardvark and on Disney+'s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. However, so far she has no high profile experience with sketch comedy, and she seems to be focusing much more on music these days.
Key, on the other hand, is one of the rare few to become a sketch comedy icon without ever being a part of the SNL cast. He started out on Mad TV in 2004 along with Jordan Peele, who immediately demonstrated chemistry and compatibility together. They remained on Mad TV until 2009 when that version of the show came to a close. Key's character Coach Hines played a big part in the series finale.
Key has had plenty of other TV roles over the years that helped make him a household name, but he is likely still best known for Key and Peele. The sketch show ran from 2012 until 2015 on Comedy Central, and featured small pre-taped sketches with introductions from the titular duo on a stand-up stage. They would also go on to make the movie Keanu, and Key even appeared in one of Peele's subsequent movies, Get Out in a brief cameo as an NCAA prospect.
Key has undoubtedly become a star outside of the sketch comedy genre, but it's still noteworthy that he is just now making his first SNL appearance after years of recognition in the genre. His episode begins at 11:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 15 on NBC.