See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Show review: An Evening with Keegan-Michael Key and the 313 at DIA on Dec. 22

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2015 at 1:28 PM

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.

Metro Times 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 Metro Times.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 14, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit