Keegan-Michael Key plays substitute teacher in new commercial

Keegan-Michael Key, Substitute teacher, Paramount+ commercial

One of the more popular sketches to originate from Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s sketch comedy series Key & Peele was the substitute teacher sketch. Key played Mr. Garvey, a tightly wound inner-city teacher who had problem pronouncing the names of his middle-class white students, such as Aaron as A. A. Ron or Jacqueline as Jay-kwellin. Well, Key has reprised his role of the iconic substitute teacher in a new commercial for the Paramount+ streaming service.

Perched atop Paramount Mountain, Mr. Garvey goes through a roll call for a group of animated and human characters, such as Dora the Explorer, Bumblebee, Murf, and more. The end of the commercial also includes a callback to the very first substitute teacher sketch thanks to an appearance from Los Angeles Rams player Aaron Donald.

While speaking with Entertainment Weekly for an oral history of the sketch, Keegan-Michael Key said that the concept immediately caught the interest of everyone in the writers’ room. “During the pitch meeting, once the premise was announced, the whole writers’ room — it was like sharks in a frenzy after some chum had been dumped in the water,” Key said. “Everybody had an example of a name that they thought could work.” The sketch proved to be so popular that Paramount Pictures even started a substitute teacher movie, but it’s been some time since we last heard about that.

Keegan-Michael Key recently reunited with Jordan Peele for Wendell & Wild, a stop-motion animated movie from The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick. The movie follows two scheming demon brothers (voiced by Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key) who enlist the aid of 13-year-old Kat Elliot (Lyric Ross) to summon them into the Land of the Living. Wendell & Wild is now streaming on Netflix, and you can check out a review from our own Cody Hamman right here.

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