Ken Jeong Curated

Funny actor comedian

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This profile has been added by users(CURATED) : Users who follow Ken Jeong have come together to curate all possible video, text and audio interview to showcase Ken Jeong's journey, experiences, achievements, advice, opinion in one place to inspire upcoming actors. All content is sourced via different platforms and have been given due credit.

  • What do you think Asian American representation in media is like?

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  • What or who is your motivation?

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  • You've also recently starred in "Crazy Rich Asians" and you've been in "Fresh Off the Boat," which have both done a lot to redefine previous stereotypes of Asian characters in Hollywood. In your personal experience, do you see more representation in the industry? Do you see the roles changing and becoming more diverse for people of color?

    Well, I think first of all, "Fresh Off the Boat" is one of the most important shows on television for Asian-Americans, and if it wasn't for that show, I wouldn't have my own sitcom, "Dr. Ken," that was on for two years. I created that show, and that was my big mission was to have more representation. And then "Crazy Rich Asians," man, that just to me, that may be the most important movie I've ever done because it wasn't about me — it was about my kids' future. It was about, really, the future of Asian Americans in entertainment. And because of that film, you have Awkwafina just crushing it right now. You have Gemma Chan, Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Ronny Chieng, and now even outside the "Crazy Rich Asians" circle, you have Ali Wong, who I think for my money is the best Asian-American comic right now, and she did a movie with one of my best friends, Randall park, for Netflix, "Always Be My Maybe." There's more representation than ever, but we still have a long ways to go. I mean, also Bowen Yang of "SNL." He's the first Chinese American cast member. He's a dear friend, and he's my favorite member of "SNL." He's just crushing it right now. He's just so funny, and I I watch the show because of him. So the representation, it is getting better. We still have a long ways to go, but it's getting better and better, and it's exciting.

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  • So, your Netflix standup recently came out and you've been in many great comedies, you know, "The Hangover" and "Pineapple Express." Do you plan on continuing to focus on comedy, or do you see yourself transitioning out of comedy into different types of roles?

    That's a great question. I would love to do — again I don't think of the end product like, "Oh, I have to do a period piece, or I have to do a drama" — but I would love to do a period piece, and I would love to do a drama. I always just try to find a way to maximize whatever opportunity I have before me, but I also, I don't want to limit myself to those things that I haven't done. There might be some things similar to what I've done before that I can find some unique form of joy. So to me, I just want to find a way to just maximize the joy of whatever scenario. Like I never thought in a million years I would do a show like "The Masked Singer," to do a panel show, that's never been in the cards for me, and it's the best decision I ever made. You know, it's my mom's favorite show in Korea because it's based on the Korean show with the same name, and I'm having the most fun, ever, like I'm thoroughly enjoying every second of it. What I'm learning as I get older, it's just you know, man, it's just nothing wrong with going with the flow and finding enjoyment and opportunity and happiness there because you'll get it, and you'll get happiness in the most unexpected places.

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  • How has the transition to fame been for your family?

    Well, they can't make eye contact ever, especially in private, you know that. [laughs]. And I have a Fortress of Solitude that I built in the house that's just for me. But other than that, I think my wife has done the most amazing job of just kind of, and I'm on board with this too, that we tell our kids, "Look, I have an odd job, and the job is just slightly different but the principles of life is the same." Let's say I was still practicing medicine full-time, to me how we are trying to raise our children, raise a family, it's exactly the same. We just, we want them to pursue what they want to do. We want them to be disciplined at what they do, we want them to excel in school, but we also want them to follow their passions, whether it be in academics or in the arts or in athletics, whatever it is. I think my legacy as a parent is encouraging my kids to think outside of the box. My whole livelihood is thinking outside the box and not doing something that's typical, and I want my family, I want my kids to embrace their uniqueness, even if it's something no one else does, or no one else thinks you can do.

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  • You also have two daughters, around 12 years old. Have they seen any of your work? Are there any roles of yours that they hate or love?

    It's so funny, they love "Community." They love every episode of "Community," and they don't like my character, like when they see my character, it's like they want to fast forward it, and even my daughters actually ask me, "Am I insulting you if you're not my favorite 'Community' character or if we watch episodes that don't feature you?," you know? I think you bring up a good point, though, if you're a child of an entertainer. Yeah, I know I probably won't make them laugh as much because they're just annoyed by me anyway, so I think you know, familiarity breeds contempt. You know, that's something I heartily accepted. Yeah, that's just part of the deal.

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  • I know your wife is also a physician. How does she feel about you working with Heineken for National First Responders Day?

    Oh yeah, no, I run everything by my wife and she was definitely very much in favor for it, and she saw the campaign and everybody in that like campaign ad, they're all real life first responders. And I surprised these first responders, they didn't know it was me. So, it was a really cool experience. So to me, my wife's been very supportive of it, and I even showed her the end product as well. We're partners, you know, I could not do this without her. She again is another unsung hero.

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  • I wanted to talk a little bit about your transition from the medical field into acting. Why did you decide to make that career change?

    I always had a passion for performing, so even when I was in college. I was pre-med. Yeah, a lot of people don't know this, but I was doing a lot of theater as well and I had gotten bitten by the acting bug in college. I never did any acting in high school or anything like that. I didn't know I even had it in me to perform. So, I was definitely a late bloomer, and I didn't know where I was going to go with this. All I knew was I just had a deep, deep love of performing. I felt like I had an aptitude for it, but more importantly, I had a passion for it.

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  • So, my grandpa actually used to be a doctor and said that he would drink non-alcoholic beer when he was on call. Did you often drink non-alcoholic beer, or have colleagues who did when they were on call?

    I definitely had colleagues that did, and I think it's a very, very healthy way to decompress when you're on call and you can't drink alcohol, and that's so cool that your grandfather did that. Our campaign represents really your grandfather and what he does — it's like when you're on call, you want to decompress, but you want to do it, obviously, in a way that that makes sense as the right call when you're on call.

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  • Can you talk a little bit about your partnership with Heineken, your role, and why you decided to do it?

    Yes, I am celebrating First Responders Day, and I used to be a physician, and as a medical professional I know first-hand the importance of first responders. They are the most valuable team [and] part of the healthcare team because if I'm admitting a patient into a hospital, they're the ones taking in the patient to the ER, giving me information, you know, "28 year old male with shortness of breath, pain, coughing," and they're giving me all the necessary tools for me to make the diagnosis — and at the same time they're saving that patient's life. They've stabilized that patient. So to me, they have to assess and they have to save, and they never get the credit they deserve. And for me that that's why this cause is near and dear to my heart, because they deserve the most recognition of all of us, and I can't think of a better way to partner up with Heineken 0.0 and just honestly for National First Responders Day, alcohol-free beer, so right call when you're on call.

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  • Interview with Ken Jeong from 'The Hangover Part II': The Funniest Doctor In American Makes A House Call - Aquarian Weekly

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  • How long did it take before you really felt like you achieved some regular success in the entertainment world?

    I think Knocked Up was my biggest break. Up until then I was still working at my day job as a physician. That first movie really opened the doors for me, and it gave me the confidence to pursue acting full-time. [Director] Judd Apatow basically discovered me at an audition. That movie really changed my life in so many ways. And it led to The Hangover, which changed my life yet again.

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  • Did you do any improv in The Hangover Part II?

    Not as much. The script was so good that you didn’t need to improvise that much. Since the script for the second was funnier than the first, I found it easier to do, because I really couldn’t top any of the lines already written on the page for Mr. Chow. It was one of my easiest jobs, creatively.

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  • You have been very successful. What key quality do you believe all successful people share?

    Working hard. There’s really no substitute for working hard. I think that’s my biggest talent. There are always people who are funnier and more talented than I am, but I don’t take anything for granted and I commit myself 100 percent to each of my roles.

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  • You have been very successful. What key quality do you believe all successful people share?

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  • You have been very successful. What key quality do you believe all successful people share?

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  • Have you ever had to treat someone who became ill on the set?

    Yeah, when I was doing All About Steve with Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper. We were shooting in 105-degree weather, and I remember catching one of the extras who was just about to collapse from heat exhaustion and taking them to the medic. So, yeah, I get asked medical advice all the time and, being a doctor, I don’t mind. It’s par for the course for me.

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  • Given the number of years you invested in becoming a doctor, from med school to residency, before switching careers, do you ever wish you had spent that time pursuing your comedy career?

    That’s a great question. My answer is, no. I’m real glad I studied medicine. I truly believe that without my medical background, I wouldn’t have the career I have right now. Medicine really matured me as a person because, as a physician, you’re obviously dealing with life and death issues, issues much more serious than what we’re talking about in entertainment. You can’t get more serious than life and death. And if you can handle that, you can handle anything. So, to me, to have the discipline in comedy to always do the best you can, is a work ethic I credit as coming from my being a physician. And I apply it all the time in my work as an actor.

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  • Do you still keep in touch with any members of the Brown Improv.

    Of course! That was the improv group I worked with every Saturday for three years while I was doing my residency. I credit Brown with really helping me find my comedic voice. And there are many talented actors and comedians I worked with there who I still keep in touch with today. I look back upon Brown as my training ground, my Second City, if you will.

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  • Who is it you credit with telling you to head for Hollywood?

    It was a standup comedy contest in New Orleans called “The Big Easy Laff-Off,” and the judges of the contest were both Bud Friedman, the founder of The Improv, and Brandon Tartikoff, the former President of NBC and ex-Chairman of Paramount Pictures. I won the competition and got to perform at The Improv in Los Angeles. This was 15 years ago. When I finished my residency in New Orleans, I went to L.A. where I would work as a doctor during the day, and then at night I would actually go to The Improv and do standup, all the while kind of cultivating my comedy resumé.

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  • How did you enjoy shooting The Hangover Part II over in Thailand?

    I loved it! It was just great. Being invited to go back to the big dance for the sequel to the movie that made my career was like a dream come true for me. It was an amazing opportunity to revisit the character that put me on the map and to revisit with family. These guys are my favorite crew to work with. I just had a blast!

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  • You mentioned you’re doing voices in Turbo and Despicable Me 2. How much are they looking for you to improv your character vs. sticking to the script and adding a little bit of improv?

    Voiceover is difficult. It’s very exact, but then, yes, you are allowed to ad-lib and honestly, the approach is very similar to live-action comedic acting. There’s a script, you’ve got to stick to it and then—at least, the stuff that I’ve done—they’ll provide four or five alts that they’ve already written, because they don’t know what lines they’re going to use yet. And then I may have to come back four or five months later [because] they have to rewrite it again. “Oh, none of that worked,” and we’ll just read some more alts. And then I also will improvise too; since I’m known for that anyway, they’ll always give me three or four free takes. But the amazing thing about it is, [the actors are] just talking props. That stuff is just an added bonus to my career. I’m not great at it; I won’t even pretend that I’m good at it. I’m just psyched that I can do stuff on that level.

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  • What’s it been like doing the accent for this character? Because I remember when I saw the first Hangover, I was like “I know that guy does not have an accent…” …and I was uncomfortable. But I was like, “Well, as long as he’s ok with it, then I guess it’s all right.”

    Well, let me tell you a secret about the business, man. Every Asian actor has auditioned for a role that requires an accent; that’s just kind of the system you guys designed, you know what I mean? [laughs.] And I’m a doctor, I’m not an idiot, I know what I’m doing; when it comes to stereotypes, if you talk comedy, Chow is a meta-joke on that stereotype. Why do you call a guy “black Doug?” Just call him “Doug,” [but] he’s “black Doug.” There are so many tropes that you’re puncturing; you’re not doing it on a Community-type level, you’re not being that academic about it. But you’re doing it definitely on a subversive level; especially with Zach [Galifianakis] and his brand of comedy. You know, when Zach’s falling out of a car—my favourite scene in all three movies is [adopts Chow voice] “Ha, ha, fat guy fall down, funny.” It’s a meta joke; it’s just like Abed [on Community], it’s just like anybody else. So you’ve got the Asian guy mocking that stereotype, the fat guy mocking that stereotype—there’s so many levels. Me and Zack, we bonded over that in the first movie. Because that was an ad-lib of mine, and it just totally validated that character for me. Trust me, I’ve done several movies where I’ve never had an accent, and they are truly more offensive to me. Because those parts were boring and they sucked, and it was like, I can’t do anything with this character. And the director doesn’t know what to do with me and it doesn’t matter if it has an accent or not, it just sucks. You know, I’d rather do something that’s amazing and be remembered and have an impact than do something that’s by-the-book and suck

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  • Obviously, you’re happy that Community is coming back. But you’re in so many movies lately; Pain and Gain we just saw you in. Would it make your life a little easier if you could just concentrate on one thing for a while?

    I mean, no. Because I barely have a part on Community. Some episodes I’m not even in—which I love, because as an actor you want to do many different things. I love being a part of the Michael Bay family and getting to hang in Miami for a couple of days; what’s not to like? And then I get to do voiceover acting likeDespicable Me 2 and Turbo. It’s a dream right now, where I get to really rub elbows with some of my heroes. I think it’s the best job in the world on Community, because I’m not an integral part of the show, but I love being on that show so much. I mean, Hangover people, they’re my favourite people in the world to work with. Period. Just period. There’s no ego, there’s no diva behaviour; everyone works for a common goal. I tell you, dude: you guys can see from your perspective all you want. But, being in the know, it is pure heaven working with guys like these because there’s just no attitude, man. No one’s competitive, no one’s jealous of each other, we’re just in for the greater good; look what happens when that happens. And to me, I would love to do Chow the rest of my life; Chow’s my favourite character I’ve ever done. Period.

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  • Looking at the Hangover [series] does your character have an emotional journey that he goes on or is staying the same the challenge that he faces?

    I think he has a huge arc. For me, and I might be wrong on this, but after watching the third movie… and I don’t know if this was initially envisioned, but it seems to me with the trilogy, it is kind of this metaphor of good vs. evil where Chow is basically the devil, he’s Lucifer. And the wolf pack, kind of in the first movie, does a deal with Chow to get Doug back. It’s kind of this loose metaphor for doing a deal with the devil. But Chow and Alan are like best friends, and Chow keeps kind of popping in and out; I’m the face of consequence, he just keeps popping in and out of situations. And then by the third movie, everyone’s ready to move on with their lives. Alan needs to grow up, he needs to let go of the past. And the only way he can do that is to dance with [Chow] one more time. But just when you think the devil’s done and out, he’s back. You know, “just when you think the devil’s out, he pulls me back in,” or whatever. So it’s that kind of metaphor that fascinated me on an epic level. Almost on a Shakespearian level, in the third movie. That’s just my own interpretation; I might be wrong. When you see Chow doing karaoke… the narcissistic actor in me, you give me a microphone, I’m gonna sing this bitch, I’m gonna sing this out. But that was all [director] Todd [Phillips]. Because I would sing it good, because I can. And Todd was like, “What the eff are you doing? Chow’s supposed to be vulnerable in this scene, he’s supposed to be nervous. You need to root for this guy.” And so that was all Todd. He was like, “Just do that song, and do it like you’re nervous. Don’t do it like you; you’ve gotta do it like Chow. And that’s all Todd. And then my favourite sequence, which was all Todd, made me and my wife laugh so hard. At the very end, [Chow] just drops the mic. You know, like a guy who’s not used to doing karaoke and thinks he did a bad job, and you’re like, “Ah, screw it!” and goes off stage. I’ve worked with everybody in comedy, and Todd is my favourite director, because that guy knows tone more than anybody else.

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  • Are you the only practicing medical doctor who’s a working comedian in movies and television? Is there a comedian doctor’s guild?

    Yeah, CDG. It’s me and a guy named Nestor. I’ll just say, “Hey, Nestor, what do you got going on? Oh cool, Abrams, huh? Awesome…” I do know of a British comedian—I forgot his name—but he was a practicing doctor in England…

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  • Joel McHale and Ken Jeong Look for Light in the Darkest Timeline - Interview

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  • Ken Jeong 'Dr. Ken' Interview: 'A Nice Departure From Crazy' - TIME

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  • There aren’t that many Asian-American families on television—ABC is also home to Fresh Off the Boat. Does that factor into whether Dr. Ken will talk about race at all?

    Yeah, I feel the show is about a second-generation Asian-American family on TV. The stakes are different and the conversations are different. Fresh Off the Boat is groundbreaking, and quite frankly if it wasn’t for Fresh Off the Boat, Dr. Ken wouldn’t be on the air. That show’s success really enabled Dr. Ken to have a shot. I love those guys. It’s so rare to have an Asian-American family show on TV, much less two Asian-American family sitcoms on one network. What ABC has done is so groundbreaking right now. There’s no other broadcast network doing even one Asian-American family show. ABC is doing two and giving both a lot of love. That is really a testament to Eddie’s story and his amazing journey and the producers and writers of that show, and it’s also a testament to ABC. That network wants to reflect all the diversity you see in our society. They really put their money where their mouth is, and they do it better than any other network. They were so good in the development in the pilot. The head of comedy at ABC and I talked, and I was like, “Will this be a situation where we’re going to be compared to Fresh Off the Boat? You already have your hit show.” She promised me, “This is a Ken Jeong vehicle. We’re not going to compare you to anything like that.” And they never did. We’re just judged by the same metric that every sitcom on ABC is being judged by. Are you telling the right story? How are the jokes? Do they fit the story? They make us feel like this is every day for them. I think they’re the real trailblazers to be honest. I think Fresh Off the Boat’s success has incentivized everybody. I’m able to have my own vehicle. My story is so different from Eddie’s. My background is different, so they’re highlighting diversity within the Asian-American community. Even if I wasn’t on either show, they have three kids in that family, two in mine. You’re seeing five Asian-American kids on TV. That’s amazing. As an Asian-American kid, I saw zero. It’s pretty mind-blowing for me. For me, I don’t go by, “Oh, am I going to do an ethnic storyline or not?” I go by what’s interesting to me right now. Sometimes it is an Asian storyline. My wife is Vietnamese and I’m Korean, and we’ll address some cultural issues, but we’ll do it very organically. We don’t do it the way white people want us to or think we do. That’s the worst. Any Asian-based theme is thoroughly vetted and managed with a fine-tooth comb by me. There’s not going to be a hackneyed dog joke. There’s never going to be a half-baked, stupid Asian bit, which would really bum me out because my life is not like that. I don’t talk like that. I’m in the writers’ room every day. After I get off the phone with you, I’m about to go into the writers’ room. I’m always the guardian of that. In the pilot, if this were 20 years ago, you’d definitely be making an Asian-not-being-a-good-driver joke with Molly getting her driver’s license. That never happened on our pilot. I think we’re making a lot more quiet progress than whatever’s overtly recognized, which is just thrilling to me.

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  • Dr. Ken is the rare medical show not set in a hospital. Is there humor to be found in our health care system?

    Yeah! I worked at an HMO for seven years and definitely have been trying to satirize the tropes of being in managed care. Bad doctors, which I honestly rarely see, sometimes can be less incentivized to work hard because they’re just on salary. I was a very efficient doctor. I would get rewarded with a lot more patients. By the end of my medical career I had maybe 2,000 patients in my practice. Another colleague who had 1,400 was getting paid a lot more than I was because he was a 15-year veteran and I was only there for four or five years. What if Dr. Ken realized that and takes an hour between each patient? He doesn’t do it badly—he just socializes a lot more or watches Funny or Die videos. It’s kind of making fun of the inefficiencies that operate in an HMO system or any job where you’re just salaried. I do think Dr. Ken at its heart is about a great doctor who’s a bit burned out. But even when I was a burned-out doctor, I was still happy and had a life outside of work. I’m not trying to be too trope-y. “Oh hey, how was your day honey?” “Oh, wow, it was really tough being an Asian-American doctor in a health maintenance organization in the San Fernando Valley!”

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  • You were a real-life doctor before you got into acting full-time. What do medical shows get wrong that bugs you the most?

    I honestly never watched a lot of medical shows, because the better they were, the more realistic they were. Twenty years ago, when ER first premiered, it was so good, but I had to stop watching, because it felt like I was watching work in medical school. Comedy was always an escape for me, I just happened to be a doctor. I didn’t have a lot of medical show influences but I did have my own real life as a doctor for seven years that I drew on. I did envision more patient care and more patient cases when we first started thinking about a pilot over two years ago, but it really evolved. Because the cast is so talented and the characters are so well defined right now, we’ve jumped to be really about relationships between the characters. It’s almost like Seinfeld, when they started doing the stand-up interstitials. I almost envisioned the show being like that in many ways, with patient care jokes, and then eventually Seinfeld didn’t do those interstitials anymore. We’re already a few episodes in, and you’re not going to see a patient-of-the-week on Dr. Ken.

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  • What’s it like playing a family man?

    It’s great! It’s something that’s in my wheelhouse because I get to draw directly on my own background as a father of two daughters and being married for 11 years. It’s the most grounded character I’ve ever had to play, and it’s the complete opposite of Señor Chang on Community. It’s a nice departure from crazy. What I like about it is that I can still reference my comedic persona that I’ve cultivated over the past few years that I’ve really honed on Community and channel that into a much more grounded character. Community was the best on-the-job training one could ask for. There’s nothing I haven’t done or encountered. So the transition has been easy, to be honest.

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