SXSW: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele Debut Kitten Comedy 'Keanu'

Jordan Peele Keegan-Michael Key Keanu SXSW Getty H 2016
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Jordan Peele Keegan-Michael Key Keanu SXSW Getty H 2016

The New Line film about a kidnapped kitten screened as a work-in-progress Saturday night.

Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, known for their comedy show Key and Peele, hit the big screen together in Keanu, playing two friends who dive into the criminal underworld when their kitten, Keanu, is stolen.

The New Line film, set for release April 29, showed as a work-in-progress screening at the South by Southwest Festival on Saturday night.

Peter Atencio, who worked on Key and Peele, directs the film from a script by Peele and Alex Rubens. He took the stage before the screening, which kicked off at 12:30 a.m. to greet the crowd at the Paramount Theatre.

"You guys are the first audience to see this movie and be allowed to talk about it, so please, talk about it. If you don't like the movie, then shut the f— up," he said, getting plenty of laughs from the packed crowd.

He introduced the two stars, who he called the "two greatest comedic minds of their generation," bringing Key and Peele to the stage.

"This is the work-in-progress screening of Keanu," said Peele. "So if you like it, good — that's the movie."

"If you don't like it, it's a different movie," added Key. "If you don't like it, this is just John Wick 2."

The crowd was energetic throughout the screening (despite the fact that the daylight saving time change meant it was 3:30 a.m. by the time the end credits rolled), laughing loudly at many scenes and some fun surprise plot points in the film. The kitten was clearly a crowd-pleaser, getting plenty of love from the crowd every time it was onscreen.

Before the screening, Key and Peele, who had passed out T-shirts to the crowd outside the theater, also gave some gifts to the audience inside. "We think that you're going to love this cat so much that we wanted to give you a keepsake," said Key before the duo threw some plush toy cats into the audience.

"Please, just enjoy yourself tonight. We had such a fantastic time making this movie," Key added. "We can't tell you how important it is for us to have this screening happen here in Austin."