Every artist's path to where they want and need to be is riddled with moments of uncontrollable creative frustration that, in retrospect, were actually pivotal in keeping you on course. Still, that's not to say that hard feelings for someone who temporarily fucked you over magically dissipate upon reaching a new level of success.
For Get Out and Us creator Jordan Peele, an opportunity-shattering contract dispute with MADtv back in 2008 ultimately planted a seed about taking his vision to the highest reaches of the industry. Peele, who appeared on 94 episodes of the sketch series, was nearing the end of his contract when he got an offer to join the Saturday Night Live team.
However, as Peele relayed to The Hollywood Reporter and a Q&A audience at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles last month, Fox's MADtv wouldn't let him out of his deal early to take his talents to NBC.
"I wanted to be a producer," Peele, who dealt with the hurdle by way of self-pity and weed at the time, said. "These producers are making these decisions about art and comedy, and they didn't know anything about art and comedy. I want to be a producer and bring my artistry to that and they'll all be sorry."
Speaking later on MADtv's 20th anniversary special, Peele made a key observation. "You will note that I'm not present," he told the audience, which had gathered for a sold out edition of the improv training center's interview series.
But all is indeed well in Peele's creative universe now. Following in the footsteps of his Oscar-bagging directorial debut Get Out, this year's Us has achieved a similarly balanced amount of critical and commercial success. Current estimates place the horror film's domestic box office haul at just under $137 million.