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Keegan-Michael Key serves as host for the first time during this episode of Saturday Night Live. “Dreams do come true,” Key tweeted in response to SNL’s announcement that he would be making his hosting debut.
During his monologue, Key goes for broke by doing a musical number. He also fields a question from an audience member, who mixes him up with Jordan Peele.
Aside from cast member Kate McKinnon jokingly claiming that Key promised his episode would be “the best in 46 years,” his promos included a reference to his “old characters.” Key was a cast member for six seasons on one-time SNL rival, MadTV. He left in 2009 only to find himself working again in the field of sketch comedy on Key and Peele.
Key also starred in the Mike Birbiglia written and directed 2016 film Don’t Think Twice where he plays a member of an improv troupe, each of which dreams of landing a highly sought-after spot on Weekend Live, a weekly SNL-esque sketch comedy show. Jealousy and awkwardness among the troupe ensues when Key’s character is chosen to be a Weekend Live cast member.
Key revealed on the Audible podcast The History of Sketch Comedy the moment that sparked his interest in this particular form of entertainment. In 1983, Key was watching SNL with his father while growing up in Detroit. The sight of his typically composed father cracking up at Eddie Murphy’s hijinxs changed his life and career trajectory forever. “Nobody in my house was ever the same again,” he recalls.
Tonight, Key realized that dream which has been nearly four decades in the making.