Robert Lee Jr. (born September 17, 1971) is an American comedian, actor, and podcaster. From 2001 to 2009, Lee was a cast member on MADtv, and he co-starred in the ABC single-camera sitcom series Splitting Up Together alongside Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson between 2018 and 2019. Lee has also appeared in the films Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004), Pineapple Express (2008), and The Dictator (2012). He co-hosts the podcast TigerBelly along with his girlfriend, Khalyla Kuhn, and he is also the co-host of the podcast Bad Friends with Andrew Santino.
|Born||September 17, 1971|
San Diego, California, U.S.
|Education||Poway High School|
|Alma mater||Palomar College|
|Genres||Observational comedy, black comedy|
|Subject(s)||Human behavior, human sexuality, American politics, gender differences|
|Relative(s)||Steve Lee (brother)|
Early life and educationEdit
Lee was born on September 17, 1971 in San Diego County, California to Korean American parents Jeanie and Robert Lee. He and his younger brother Steve grew up in Poway, California. His parents owned clothing stores in both Escondido and Encinitas, California.
Lee attended Painted Rock Elementary School, Twin Peaks Middle School, and Poway High School. In high school, he was part of a breakdancing team. At 18, Lee moved out of his parents' home and took jobs in restaurants and coffee shops in the San Diego area while attending Palomar College. He later dropped out.
Lee worked various jobs at cafes and restaurants before pursuing a career in comedy. In 1994, the coffee shop he was working at abruptly closed. "I just went next door to get a job," he said, "which was The Comedy Store in San Diego" (also known as the La Jolla Comedy Store). After a few months of working odd jobs at the club, he decided to try stand-up during one of their amateur nights. Within a year of doing regular comedy sets, he received offers to open for both Pauly Shore and Carlos Mencia. Lee went on to work regularly at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles, a comedy club owned by Pauly Shore's mother Mitzi.
Lee has said that his parents had hoped he would continue on with the family business and were less than supportive of his comedic pursuits at first. During a podcast interview conducted by fellow actor and comedian Joe Rogan on February 1, 2011, Lee stated that during the first few years he did stand-up his parents barely spoke to him, however after his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno his father called him and asked how much he had to pay to be on the show and then apologized for not supporting his comedy career.
Lee has included his family in some of his work; his younger brother has appeared in several non-speaking roles on MADtv, and his entire family has appeared in a sketch on the show. Lee also pitched a sitcom to Comedy Central in 2007 about a Korean family which was to star his own family.
In 2001, Lee joined the cast of MADtv, making him the show's first and only Asian cast member. He has publicly expressed that he dreaded playing the characters Bae Sung and Connie Chung, describing them as "Average Asian" skits. Lee remained with the cast until the series' cancellation in 2009 and returned briefly when MADtv was revived in 2016 on The CW. Some of Lee's recurring characters included:
|Kim Jong-il||Host of the imaginary Kim Jong-il Show|
|Bae Sung||The hapless interpreter|
|Tank||Asian-American "Street Tuner" character in the style of the film The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift|
|Xing Lao "Johnny" Gan||Host of Many Shows! With Johnny Gan and Pongo|
|"The Blind Kung-fu Master"||Title character|
|Dr. Poon Ji-Sum||Character on the Korean soap opera parody Taedo-Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive|
|Hideki "The Average Asian"||Asian man whose friends think he adheres to the stereotypes associated with East Asian people|
|John McCain||United States Senator from Arizona|
|Stewie Griffin||Infant super-villain in a live-action re-creation of a scene from the Family Guy episode "Fast Times at Buddy Cianci High"|
|Yamanashi||Student in gym class of Coach Hines (Keegan-Michael Key), who always gets yelled at and harassed by Coach Hines (whether or not he deserved it).|
|Hosted by||Bobby Lee|
|Format||Audio & Video|
|No. of episodes||288 (as of March 23, 2021)|
|Original release||September 1, 2015 – present|
TigerBelly is a video podcast hosted by Bobby Lee and his girlfriend, Khalyla Kuhn, that they started in 2015, with appearances by technical engineer Gilbert Galon and producer George Kimmel. Kuhn became interested in doing podcasts of her own after she was a guest on the DVDASA podcast. The show's intro song "Shadow Gook" was written and produced by Lee and performed by Lee and Kuhn. The hosts discuss events from their lives and news topics from popular culture, often revolving around Asian American issues related to the entertainment industry, adolescence, sexuality, ethnicity, racism, and politics.
Lee and Erik Griffin initially pitched a podcast to All Things Comedy, and they were immediately signed but they could never make the time to meet. Around this time Lee and Kuhn were visiting her family in the Philippines, when Kuhn came down with serious heart trouble. She spent weeks in hospitals and couldn't return to her nursing job. She needed something to do to keep busy and so started her own podcast. Lee came on her show and the chemistry was so good that Lee decided to instead focus on podcasts with Kuhn.
As TigerBelly grew, Lee and Kuhn needed an engineer to watch over the computer and consult on technical issues, so they asked Gilbert to handle the technical side of the podcast; Lee had met Gilbert at a viewing of a Manny Pacquiao fight. Lee met future TigerBelly producer, George Kimmel, when he was working on The Station comedy channel for Maker Studios, where Kimmel was working as a producer.
Lee began taking methamphetamine and marijuana around age 12, and heroin by age 15 and went through three drug-rehabilitation attempts before becoming sober when he was 17. Lee relapsed on Vicodin and ended 12 years of sobriety after receiving negative feedback from a producer. He got sober after MADtv producer Lauren Dombrowski fought for him after he was fired from the show a second time, a story which Lee discusses in his appearance on the pilot episode of Comedy Central's TV series This Is Not Happening. On TigerBelly Episode 224, Lee admitted to guest Theo Von that he had relapsed after his father's death in August 2019 from Parkinson's disease. He subsequently went to rehab and became sober again. Lee has stated that he is a recovering alcoholic.
Lee's younger brother, Steve Lee, is a musician and host of The Steebee Weebee podcast. Steve has also made guest appearances alongside Bobby on MAD Tv, especially in sketches featuring Kim Jong Il and Tank.
|1999||The Underground Comedy Movie||Chinese Man|
|2003||Pauly Shore Is Dead||Delivery Boy|
|2003||American Misfits||Korean General||Video|
|2004||Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle||Kenneth Park|
|2007||Kickin' It Old Skool||Aki|
|2010||Fudgy Wudgy Fudge Face||Kangaroo Hands|
|2011||A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas||Kenneth Park|
|2012||The Dictator||Mr. Lao|
|2014||Bro, What Happened?||Brah Man|
|2016||Laid in America||Goose|
|2016||Keeping Up with the Joneses||Ricky Lu|
|2019||Extracurricular Activities||Mr. Mulnick|
|2020||The Wrong Missy||Check-In Desk Employee|
|2021||Wish Dragon||Tall Goon||Voice|
|2021||How It Ends||Derrick|
|2021||Hero Mode||VP Goodson||Completed|
|2001||Unreal TV||Quang Duck, The Loud Ninja, Lazy Principal||Television film|
|2001–2016||Mad TV||Various||166 episodes|
|2005||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Sung||Episode: "The Korean Bookie"|
|2005, 2006||Mind of Mencia||Gay Pirate / Asian CSI Agent||2 episodes|
|2006||Thugaboo: Sneaker Madness||Mr. Lee Young / William Hung||Television film|
|2007||American Dad!||Danny||Episode: "Bush Comes to Dinner"|
|2009||State of Romance||Andrew||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2009, 2011||Family Guy||Chinese Man / Sharply Dressed Asian Man||2 episodes|
|2009, 2014||The League||Lee Wei Lee / Chu||2 episodes|
|2010||Ktown Cowboys||Bobby Lee||Episode #1.9|
|2010||Cubed||Bob Yamamoto||3 episodes|
|2011||Big Time Rush||T.J.||Episode: "Big Time Reality"|
|2012||Emerald Acres||Sammy No||Television film|
|2012||Samurai! Daycare||Park||5 episodes|
|2012||RVC: The Lone Shopping Network||Hiri||Episode: "Father of My Squids"|
|2012–2013||Animal Practice||Dr. Yamamoto||9 episodes|
|2013||Arrested Development||Mrs. Oh||Episode: "Queen B."|
|2013||Tubbin' with Tash||Tiger Belly||2 episodes|
|2013||Sean Saves the World||Mr. Kim||Episode: "Sean Comes Clean"|
|2013–2015||The Awesomes||Tim / Sumo||30 episodes|
|2014||TripTank||Li Ching / Mongolian / Mongolian Leader||2 episodes|
|2015||The Comedians||Fortune Teller's nephew||Episode: "Billy's Birthday"|
|2015, 2018||NCIS: Los Angeles||Rio Syamsundin / Jeff Carol||2 episodes|
|2015–2019||Nature Cat||MC Ferret||11 episodes|
|2016||Another Period||Sea Captain||2 episodes|
|2016||Son of Zorn||Jakton||Episode: "The War of the Workplace"|
|2017||Comrade Detective||New York Degenerate||Episode: "Two Films for One Ticket"|
|2017||What Would Diplo Do?||Brian||5 episodes|
|2017||Real Rob||Kim Lin||Episode: "Best Play Date Ever"|
|2018||Alone Together||Stan||Episode: "Pop-Up"|
|2018–2019||Splitting Up Together||Arthur||25 episodes|
|2019–present||Magnum P.I.||Jin||7 episodes|
|2020||Dream Corp LLC||Tricky Ricky||2 episodes|
|2021||Nailed It!||Himself||Episode: "Travel Dos and Donuts"|
|2009||"We Made You"||Eminem||Sulu|||
|2010||"2 Different Tears"||Wonder Girls|||
- "MILESTONES: September 17 birthdays for Patrick Mahomes, John Franco, Bobby Lee". Brooklyn Eagle. September 17, 2020.
- Grant, Lee (September 17, 2004). "'Mad' man". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on March 1, 2016. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
- Archer, Greg (September 18, 2013). "Bobby Lee On Comedy, Survival And Being 'A Big, Sweaty Ball Of Flesh'". HuffPost. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Yang, Jeff (April 10, 2007). "ASIAN POP / Mad Man". SFGate. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Woo, Michelle (April 2, 2007). "Kickin' It With Bobby Lee". Character Media. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
- Nguyen, Joe (May 5, 2009). "Face2Face with Bobby Lee". www.asiaxpress.com. Archived from the original on March 1, 2018. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- "Bobby Lee at Levity Live". Visit Oxnard. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Rogan, Lee & Redban 2013 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFRoganLeeRedban2013 (help)
- The Grammys (December 2, 2014). "Set List Bonus: Ninth Annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit At Club Nokia". GRAMMY.com. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
- Laddin, Stephen (March 3, 2020). "Andrew Santino Is A People Person". High Times.
- Lee 2017, p. 10:45 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFLee2017 (help)
- Lee, Bobby; Kuhn, Khalyla; Galon, Gilbert (November 26, 2015). "The Korean Kite 한국 연". Tigerbelly (Podcast). Retrieved February 9, 2020.
- Lee & Griffin 2016, p. 1:17:00 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFLeeGriffin2016 (help)
- Baldwin, Greg; Kalloniatis, Ant (November 19, 2017). "Bobby Lee is a Provoked Panda". Second Chances Podcast (Podcast). Retrieved January 28, 2020.
- Lee 2017, p. 12:00 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFLee2017 (help)
- Baldwin, Drew (January 30, 2012). "Maker Studios Reboots The Station With Bobby Lee". Tubefilter. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Lee 2017, p. 2:03 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFLee2017 (help)
- Demby, Gene (December 21, 2016). "When Swinton And Cho Talk Race, The Point's Lost In Translation". NPR. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Schonberger, Chris (October 27, 2016). "Watch Bobby Lee Take on the Hot Ones Challenge". First We Feast. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Kozlowski, Carl (May 26, 2016). "Why Bobby Lee Is Done with 'MADtv'". Hollywood in Toto. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Lee, Diaz & Syatt 2014, p. 9:30 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFLeeDiazSyatt2014 (help)
- Variety Staff (October 28, 2008). "'Madtv's' Lauren Dombrowski dies". Variety. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Lee, Bobby (December 12, 2019). "Theo Von & The Guillotine | TigerBelly 224". YouTube. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
- "David Choe x Money Mark x Steve Lee starts a band". Upper Playground. August 19, 2014. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Eminem 2009 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFEminem2009 (help)
- Adriane (May 24, 2010). "The Wonder Girls: New Music Video, Exclusive Pics, Videos Here at MTV Iggy!"MTV K. Archived from the original on June 04 2011. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
- "Jencarlos Releases New Single "Dure Dure" with Don Omar". www.peermusic.com. July 28, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2021.
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