“For me, it’s glass. I always get cut. TV show I just did – cut. “Tomorrowland” – cut. It’s always getting cut by glass! You’re flying through the air, doing flips and falling down hard and none of that makes any difference and then you lean on the thing and you’re like, ‘what the hell?’ And then you just get cut by glass! That’s the worst injury.”

It’s 9:22 a.m. in a conference room at the Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, and the room is erupting with laughter as Keegan-Michael Key explains how he most often gets injured on set. The Emmy award-winning comedian and actor, perhaps best known for his sketch work on “Key and Peele,” is in town for Thanksgiving and to promote his upcoming film, “Why Him?”

The holiday comedy about a Midwestern family meeting their daughter’s eccentric, Silicon Valley millionaire boyfriend features an all-star cast – James Franco, Brian Cranston, Zoey Deutch, Megan Mullally and of course, Keegan-Michael Key. It includes stunts, accents, literal potty humor and a lot of heart. Key describes the feature as something “akin to a film like, ‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?’”

He sat with confidence and ease, sipping coffee as he explained what led him to “Why Him?” After gushing about the opportunity to work with both the cast and director John Hamburg, Key shared his personal motivations for choosing the film.

“I wanted to do stunts,” he said. “If someone says you get to play a modern day ‘Kato’ from ‘The Pink Panther’ — I’m not saying no to that. I get to play a character, which is what I enjoy. Having the strange hair, an accent … all of that outside-in stuff.”

That he’s doing what he enjoys is obvious in the film. The sketch comedian is famous for his hilarious impressions and characters, and he does not disappoint in “Why Him?” Key plays Gustav, the personal concierge of Franco’s character Laird. Gustav is “high German and educated. Very refined.” His accent, quite distinguishable, is reflective of Key’s talents. Finding the specific dialect for the character was a process of trial and error, per Key.

“Yeah. I think the first table read, I was just like, (Key uses an extreme German accent) ‘Hi guys!’ and after the table read John (the director) says, ‘well — that’s a little extreme. Maybe he’ll just be German.’”

This kind of role — one which allows for collaboration between director and actor — is where Key thrives. He elaborated on the production process, explaining that Hamburg “would let us improvise quite a lot. It keeps the momentum of the movie going forward.” The extent to which the cast could improvise is shocking – one take lasted for 46 minutes. With the cameras continuously rolling, the actors would “keep throwing spaghetti at the wall,” he said. Clearly it worked – the comedic chemistry between actors in the film is palpable.

Occasionally, that chemistry was too strong. Further detailing the 46-minute , Key reveals that it was “the toilet scene, because we couldn’t get through it.” In the film, Key’s character Gustav and Bryan Cranston’s character Ned share an awkward encounter in the bathroom.

“There are 46 minutes of footage and I’m telling you there’s 2 usable minutes. We’d be three-quarters of the way through the scene and we’d hear a boom operator and then we would be gone,” Key said.

Ultimately, he said, the only possible way for Hamburg to make the scene work was “to use special effects, cut two takes, put them together and use CGI in the middle.” Key smiled broadly while reminiscing about the toilet scene. It seems there’s no better exhilaration than 46 minutes in a bathroom with Bryan Cranston.

“It was a lot of fun. How often does an African-American man get to make a movie where he plays a German who know martial arts? You have to say yes to that kind of role.”

On the note of uncommon roles for African Americans, Key also discussed the potential impact of another upcoming film: “Hidden Figures,” about African American women mathematicians in NASA. The fact that a movie could be made about these women, he mused, is the “power of cinema.”

“Cinema can evoke emotion but cinema teaches,” he said. “Especially in this day and age, we might need more films which show people of an ilk that I didn’t know existed. Humans that are helping the world, as opposed to marginalizing.”

At a pivotal point of his career, Key is uniquely qualified to examine the potential impact that cinema can have. He has dedicated his life to the arts, and it has paid off insurmountably. Reflecting on where he is now, he shared what he wishes he had known starting out: that process is perfection.

“Within yourself, you have to figure out what makes you happy. There’s not a destination called perfection. That way lies madness.”

He elaborated further, citing recent achievements. “I didn’t grow wings and become a demigod when Jordan (Peele) and I won an Emmy. The only thing it means is, now you’ve got to do better work! A part of me goes, ‘an Emmy! That’s a destination!’ No. It’s simply a chapter in the book.

“It’s all process. You have to be able to find fulfillment in this moment. If you can start doing that in your twenties, you’re just going to have an easier life. Otherwise, what are you supposed to do? Were you happy on the way to the top? That’s the part you must cling to. It’s the experience,” Key said.

He spoke with peacefulness, aware of the journey an artist must make yet unafraid of the uncertain future. It was inspiring to sit across from Key. In a span of 15 minutes, he went from demonstrating a ridiculous German accent to sharing wisdom with an eager college student.

His final piece of advice on navigating life was a perfect button to the morning’s interview.

“It’s: ‘Wow. Great. Next.’”

“Why Him?” opens nationwide on December 23.

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