How Jordan Peele Got So Successful
With just three films to his name thus far, Jordan Peele has quickly become a master of horror. Despite their obvious influences, his films offer a new twist on an old genre. As he's said, "I'm obsessed with giving the audience something they don't see coming."
His originality in horror and filmmaking overall has made him a Hollywood success and impacted Jordan Peele's net worth in a very short amount of time.
A Horror Film Geek from Childhood
Born in 1979 and raised by his mom in New York, Jordan Peele is a self-professed film geek. His favorite movies were, of course, horror. He said, "I grew up actually a couple of blocks away from the building [where 'Rosemary's Baby'] was shot. When I was younger, it was actually a little too close to home, so it really kind of freaked me out ... it's grown into possibly my favorite horror movie.
"I definitely looked at 'Rosemary's Baby' and 'The Stepford Wives' as tonal (inspirations) ... I love 'The Shining.' I think for most horror fans it's going to be high on their list. I love 'Halloween.' I love 'The Birds' and Hitchcock."
Due to this inspiration, Peele started acting in his teens — he appeared in a PSA about smoking when he was just 16 years old.
A Second City Start
Peele attended Sarah Lawrence College and graduated in 2001. He then moved to Chicago to study improv and begin his comedy career, performed at the ImprovOlympic and, like lots of successful actors, The Second City. It was here he met future comedy partner Keegan-Michael Key in 2002.
He later moved to Amsterdam to join an improv/comedy group, Boom Chicago.
Joining 'Mad TV'
A year later, Peele joined the cast of "Mad TV" and was in 94 episodes through 2008. That year, he wanted out of his contract to audition for "Saturday Night Live," but the show's producers wouldn't let him go.
He left as soon as he could and had no regrets. In fact, when Fox asked him to join Mad TV’s 20th-anniversary special in 2015, he refused, saying "You will note that I’m not present."
Reuniting With Keegan-Michael Key
In 2004, Key also joined the "Mad TV" cast. It was during that time that the two decided to work together.
Key told Bustle, "By chance, we both ended up on 'Mad TV' ... [It] was finished and about three years later, we have the same manager, and my manager said, 'What would you guys think about doing a show together?' And I was like, 'Why would I not want to do a show with the greatest sketch writer I've ever known in my entire life?'"
A Successful Run on Comedy Central
"Key & Peele" debuted in 2012 on Comedy Central. Despite the consistent hilarity from the sketches, the show focused on serious topics in between the laughter — from ethnic stereotypes to race relations and everything in between.
By the time it ended in 2015, the show won a Peabody Award and two Emmy Awards. It has been nominated for a Writers Guild Award, NAACP Image Award and 16 additional Emmys.
The show's YouTube channel is still popular to this day — as of February 2023, the channel has 4.45 million subscribers and nearly 2 billion views.
Making a Directorial Splash with 'Get Out'
"Get Out" was Peele's directorial debut, and it alone cemented his status as not only a horror filmmaker, but with just three films to his name so far, he's also revolutionized cinema. After all, his films don't just entertain, they also offer social commentary on race relations in the U.S.
"Get Out" was released in 2017, and it received immediate critical acclaim and grossed $255 million worldwide. Peele won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and the film also received nods for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Daniel Kaluuya).
A Well-Received Sophomore Effort in 'Us'
While "Us," Peele's sophomore film, didn't do as well as "Get Out" in terms of awards, it was also a blockbuster hit. The 2019 film, starring Lupita Nyong'o, follows a family attached by menacing doppelgängers who attempt to replace them.
Critics gave the film accolades, and it grossed $256 million worldwide.
Aliens and Hollywood Exploitation in 'Nope'
"Nope," Peele's third and most recent film, provides social commentary on race and exploitation in Hollywood as told through the arrival of aliens.
For this film, Peele cited "King Kong," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "The Wizard of Oz" among the film's influences.
Released in 2022, it grossed $171 million worldwide and received acclaim for its cinematography, performances and direction.
Jordan Peele's Net Worth
Jordan Peele's net worth is currently around $50 million. He lives in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, with his wife, comedian Chelsea Peretti, and their child.
The couple owns two homes in the Los Feliz area — a mid-century, ranch-style home (since 2017) and a smaller 1938-built Colonial home they purchased for $2.7 million in 2021.
His Future Projects
Peele's next appearance came in the form of a stop-motion animated film, "Wendell & Wild," which he co-wrote and starred in for "Coraline" director Henry Selick in October 2022 for Netflix. (Keegan-Michael Key also stars.)
While Peele is fairly secretive about what his next movie will be, one thing is for sure, he'll do what he does best. At the "Nope" premiere he told Deadline, "I will stay within this realm that I love. which is the only way I know how to view the world and how to tell stories at this point. A little bit of horror, a little bit of comedy; I’m always going to try and give you a big show."