To say that Jordan Peele revolutionized the Black horror genre is something of an understatement. “Get Out” continues to be one of the most critically acclaimed suspense thriller movies of this century. Meanwhile, from stints directing the series reboot of “The Twilight Zone” and HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” to movies like “Nope” and “Us,” Peele has mastered the art of centering the Black experience within the horror genre, while still creating content that is relatable to a wider audience.
While most people initially recognized Peele from his hit comedy sketch show “Key & Peele” that he helmed with co-host and friend Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele earned his acting and comedic chops much earlier. With all of his accolades and continued success, one might be wondering just how much this pivoting actor turned filmmaker is worth.
Jordan Peele’s Humble NYC Beginnings
Born in 1979, Jordan Peele is a native New Yorker who grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He was raised by his single mother and from a young age expressed a love for the cinema. While he originally studied computers and even attended the Computer School in Manhattan followed by graduating from The Calhoun School in 1997, he initially enrolled in Sarah Lawrence College and majored in puppetry.
But after two years, he dropped out and created a comedy duo with a former college classmate, Rebecca Drysdale, who went on to be a writer on “Key & Peele.” He would continue to perform standup with notable appearances at Boom Chicago and even hosting MTV’s Comedy Weekend in 2002.
Jordan Peele’s Big Break with ‘Mad TV’
Fans of sketch comedy will no doubt be familiar with the Fox Network series, “Mad TV,” which ran for 14 seasons. Peele got his first major network television break when he joined the cast for the ninth season in 2003. This was also around the time that he met future collaborator and “Mad TV” castmate, Keegan-Michael Key.
Peele was best known for his celebrity impressions on the show, often mimicking Ja Rule, James Brown, Flavor Flav, Morgan Freeman and even Caroll Spinney (the former voice of “Sesame Street’s” Big Bird). His stint on “Mad TV” lasted for five seasons with him exiting the show after the 13th season.
He would later audition for “Saturday Night Live,” but the 2007 – 2008 Writers Guild of America strike put a pin in those ambitions. Peele had several stints on television with a recurring role on the Adult Swim series “Children’s Hospital” as well as the FX series “Fargo,” along with a supporting role in the comedy movie “Wanderlust” that was released in 2012. He was cast in “Wanderlust” along with his former “Mad TV” castmate, Keegan-Michael Key.
It was at this time that the two went on to star in “Key & Peele” on Comedy Central. The sketch comedy show ran for three years with many of the skits going viral. The series secured two Primetime Emmy Awards and also a Peabody Award.
Jordan Peele Shifting Gears and ‘Get Out’
After the success of “Key & Peele,” the two starred in “Keanu,” a film released in 2016 that served as Peele’s debut as a producer. The film was well-received and in the following year, he released “Get Out,” which was critically acclaimed with a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Time Magazine named it one of the top 10 films of the year along with the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute. The movie went on to earn over $255 million at the box office — even though it only cost $4.5 million to produce.
Arguably, “Get Out” shifted Jordan Peele’s image from a funny man to a legitimate filmmaker — and Hollywood took notice. His film earned the Best Original Screenplay at the 90th Academy Awards and he earned the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award at the 2017 Gotham Independent Film Awards. The psychological thriller also snagged the Award for Best Original Screenplay from the Writers Guild of America. When the dust cleared on awards season that year, his production company, Monkeypaw Productions secured a first look deal with Universal Pictures.
Jordan Peele Retires from Acting
In 2018, after the whirlwind success of “Get Out,” Peele announced that he was fully retiring from acting so he could solely focus on directing. He went behind the camera for both television and movies, directing popular shows like “The Last O.G.” featuring Tracy Morgan and Tiffany Haddish as well as co-producing the Oscar nominated “BlacKkKlansman” with Spike Lee. He has also directed documentaries like “Lorena” on Amazon Video — a four-part series following the infamous Lorena Bobbitt.
Peele returned to his movies with “Us,” a horror-thriller starring Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke before pivoting to broadcast and cable network series. This included “The Twilight Zone” on CBS, HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” and Amazon Video’s “Hunters.” Movies called Peele back with the 2021 sequel to “Candyman” and his original movie “Nope” in 2022.
Jordan Peele’s Net Worth
Between his sketch comedy series that still airs on Comedy Central and the countless movies, documentaries and other series he’s created, Jordan Peele is doing well for himself. Current estimates point to a net worth of roughly $50 to $55 million as of the publication of this article. Much of that wealth can be attributed to his wildly successful movies.
Keep in mind that “Get Out” grossed $255 million at the box office and subsequent movies “Us” made over $256 million worldwide and “Nope” grossed $171 million. Meanwhile, the five-year first look deal signed with Universal Pictures in 2019 for his production company is said to have been a nine-figure deal with estimates putting the total value between $300 to $400 million paid when benchmarks are met.