Rise of Improvise: “An Evening with Keegan-Michael Key and the 313” gets standing ovation
View 26 photos of Keegan-Michael Key and the 313 at the DIA here.
In celebration of the 30 Americans
exhibit, “An Evening with Keegan-Michael Key and the 313,” presented by The Friends of Detroit Film Theatre and the Detroit Creativity Project, took place on Dec. 22 at The Detroit Institute of Arts. The night, which was hosted by Marc Evan Jackson, a comedic actor and co-founder of the Detroit Creativity Project, was all about the art of improvising, and not solely about Detroit's own comedic powerhouse Keegan-Michael Key.
“I always said, if people learned how to improvise their would be no war. Well let me take that back—less war,” Jackson says.
The show started with local improv troupe Rock-o-Matic. The group of 10 did a holiday themed four part improv scene, starting with the word "champagne," from an audience suggestion. While singing and feeding off each others comedic abilities, the troupe touched on subjects of dysfunctional family gatherings, getting drunk, neighborhood feuds, and camaraderie during the holidays—the audience found the references rather amusing.
After Rock-o-Matic opened up, the 313, which is an improv troupe made up of performers with artistic roots in the Detroit theatre and art communities, took the stage. The performance included Jackson, Nyima Funk, Marc Evan Jackson, Maribeth Monroe, and Sam Richardson. Key, who was the headliner of the show accompanied the group, reaching back to the roots of his early career. The Southfield native was a member of Second City Detroit’s main stage cast before becoming a sensation from Comedy Central to even The White House.
The 313 and Key were explosive with only using minimal props—three chairs. They kept the audience intrigued with their funny and provocative connotations about everything from ex-boyfriends to Abraham Lincoln. Needless to say, the arts are still being appreciated in Detroit. The theatre was packed and the show received a standing ovation.
spoke with Key after his performance about how it feels to be home after having a successful year.
“I did improv at Second City in Detroit during the '90s. And when the improv festivals happen in Ferndale, I come home and do that sometimes,” Key says. “It’s always the best and most energetic and most welcoming feeling. I feel privileged and honored to have the ability to come home and do this. To have the time. I’ll be here for a few days with my mom and my brother for Christmas.”
Taylor Bembery is an intern at