The comedy duo of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele will serve as the evening’s masters of ceremonies and offer play-by-play commentary as the characters @TheShamester and @LizardSheeple. Khaled and comedians Pharoah and Byer will serve as correspondents for the main show.
The decision was partly inspired by coverage of recent television events such as the Olympics and the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, executive producer Jesse Ignjatovic tells EW. “Every year we try to reflect what’s going on culturally,” he says. “It felt like a unique approach to the show.”
This year’s VMAs will take place in Madison Square Garden for the first time, and the historic venue also influenced the producers’ decision to pursue a nontraditional host set-up. “As much as it’s famous for music, it’s also famous for sports,” Ignjatovic says. “We thought it would be great to go out to Key and Peele, who are going to be at a desk covering the show to the camera as you would see at these other events.”
Pharoah, who recently departed Saturday Night Live, and Byer, of the upcoming series Loosely Exactly Nicole, will roam the venue throughout the night. Khaled will be reporting from and hosting his own party in a Garden skybox suite. “It’s just a different way to cover the show and bring it to the audience from all these different perspectives and play it for comedy,” Ignjatovic says.
Miley Cyrus hosted last year’s ceremony, and EW cover star Kevin Hart hosted the 2012 show; there were no hosts for the 2013 and 2014 shows. The VMAs air Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.