Time Behind The Scenes ~ Gary Kordan

Gary Kordan and his wife, Justine Ungaro, join us on the red carpet at the Emmy® Creative Arts Awards. Kordan provides production design on Key & Peele on Comedy Central.

Kordan and his wife wear matching colors (black) and leather for their red carpet looks. They are a successful busy creative couple. They manage their busy lives very well. Ungaro is a professional photographer just returning from Lake Tahoe to attend The Emmy Creative Arts. She states, “It is easy for us to match our entire closet is black including the closet itself.” She was excited for the evening events and thrilled for her husband’s nomination.

Kordan started his career working at CBS. He got the positions while attending college for visual arts in New York City. He saw a flyer on a bulletin board at school. It stated that CBS was looking for an intern. He took the flyer, because he wanted to be the only one applying. He interviewed and was hired for the Joan Rivers’ Show.

The show needed visuals about two weeks into the internship, Joan Rivers said, “Make the art student intern do that.” That was his first credit in production on television. Kordan states, “Joan Rivers was so supportive. She was someone to look up to and admire. She was there for you. If an up and coming artist needed food, cab fare, or scarf she was right there.” Kordan learned a lot from the experience.

This was 25 years ago. He uses those lessons to benefit many shows with his creativity. He enjoys the intensity of the work on Key & Peele. Kordan breaks down the set requests, design, get approvals, find locations, and research for each set. There are two sets designed each day totaling 10 designs a week. The team travels all over the LA area to set up the designs and film the series.

Key and Peele Gary Kordan
Emmy’s Creative Arts 2016 Red Carpet Gary Kordan and his wife.

His success for everyday is wearing black, #wewearblack. He must dress the part for ruffling feathers, being demanding, and self-confident. Kordan states, “I wear black like my role model, Johnny Cash. This is Kordan’s first Emmy nomination.

Key & Peele is nominated for 7 Emmys this year. They include: Outstanding Art Direction For Variety or Music Program, Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series, Outstanding Hairstyling For Multi-Camera Series or Special, Outstanding Makeup For A Multi-Camera Series or Special (Non-Prosthetic), Outstanding Editing For Variety Programming, Outstanding Production Design For A Variety, Nonfiction, Reality or Reality Competition Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in A Comedy Series, and Outstanding Variety Sketch Series.

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