Keegan-Michael Key and the most ridiculous 5G interview ever

Has the 5G hype gotten out of hand? Just wait until comedic actor Keegan-Michael Key weighs in.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
Expertise Mobile, 5G, Big Tech, Social Media Credentials
  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng
3 min read

Actor Keegan-Michael Key takes in some augmented reality at a T-Mobile event in New York. 

Cassidy Sparrow/T-Mobile

Keegan-Michael Key has tackled genre after genre on his classic sketch comedy show Key & Peele, wrestled with drug dealers for the sake of an adorable cat and even taken on the Predator

But there's one challenge that may prove too much for the comedian and actor: a quiz about 5G. 

Key was in New York to promote the launch of Metro, T-Mobile's longtime but newly renamed prepaid arm. Rather than talk about that, I opted to quiz him on the next generation of cellular technology. 

5G promises to bring higher speeds and potentially change our lives by connecting everything around us. Given all the attention on 5G, it's easy to forget that not everyone knows what it is -- even if most agree that they want it. See Key gamely try to figure out what 5G is in the middle of our interview. 

The following is a lightly edited transcript of our chat.

Q: What excites you about 5G?
Key: It's one better than 4G, and it's two better than 3G. Who doesn't want something that's two better than something else?


Key is no 5G expert, but that's not going to stop him from trying to answer questions about the technology.

Mark Mann/CNET

What are you going to do with that extra G?
Key: I'm just going to assume G means a thousand. But this is the tech world, it could mean a Googleplex. It could be one Googleplex more than 4G.

I'm going to download every single show that I can remember from my childhood. Remember there'd be an episode of Laverne and Shirley, and you go, What was that episode? I'm going to download all the old Garry Marshall and Norman Lear shows from my childhood.

How do you plan on taking advantage of the low latency connection?
Key: The high latency connection is way too much for me. I can't deal with that many latency. I need lower latency. I don't want to be latent a high amount of time. I want to drop it low.

I'm going to take advantage of it by doing more. The less latent I am, the more I get done. I don't want to be in potential. I want to be doing it.

What do you think about the government's effort to get more millimeter wave spectrum to the carriers?
Key: I really wish the government would get on the stick and just start moving to centimeter, as opposed to millimeters. Why can't we just get a whole meter of spectrum? I will let my tax dollars go from millimeters to meters.

It's all about having more storage, you know what I mean? I guess.

5G is supposed to power everything from self-driving cars to remote surgery. What application are you looking forward to the most?
Key: I would like a little more hologram technology. Since I heard the phrase, "Help me Obi-Wan, you're my only hope," I want more of that in my life.

I'm a big people person. I would love to have the meetings like in Kingsman, where even if I'm looking at an image that's holographic, I can still make eye contact. I know where you're actually coming from.

Check out CNET Magazine's interview with Keegan-Michael Key

The last thing I want is to have someone on the phone with me when someone's doing this to me (his eyes roll back). I want to be able to make sure I'm interacting. I'm really kind of interested in holographic technology.

I would love to use 5G for an immersive interactive sports experience. I'd probably prefer to sit home and watch the game from the ref's perspective than sitting in the first row.

Wouldn't it be great if a father in Switzerland could be helping his son building his new bike in Denver?

Had you heard anything about 5G before this interview?
Key: Have I heard of it? Of course. Everybody's heard of it. Are you out of your mind? I don't know a person in America who hasn't HEARD -- all caps -- about 5G. Are you kidding me?

Do you know what it is?
Key: That's a very good question. Oh, I'm sorry, someone's calling me away and I have to leave. 

5G: Your Next Big Upgrade: CNET's series on the next generation of cellular technology.

The 5G revolution: Everything you need to know about the wireless technology.