Bobby Lee

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.

Bobby Lee
Bobby Lee in "Pauly Shore's Vegas Is My Oyster".png
Lee in 2011
Born (1971-09-17) September 17, 1971 (age 49)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Medium
EducationPoway High School
Alma materPalomar College
Years active1994–present
GenresObservational 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.[1][2] He and his younger brother Steve grew up in Poway, California.[3] His parents owned clothing stores in both Escondido and Encinitas, California.[2][4]

Lee attended Painted Rock Elementary School, Twin Peaks Middle School, and Poway High School.[2] In high school, he was part of a breakdancing team.[5] At 18, Lee moved out of his parents' home and took jobs in restaurants and coffee shops in the San Diego area[6] while attending Palomar College. He later dropped out.[2]

CareerEdit

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.[6][7] "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).[6] After a few months of working odd jobs at the club, he decided to try stand-up during one of their amateur nights.[6] Within a year of doing regular comedy sets, he received offers to open for both Pauly Shore and Carlos Mencia.[2][6] Lee went on to work regularly at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles, a comedy club owned by Pauly Shore's mother Mitzi.[2]

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.[2][6][4] 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.[8]

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.[4]

Lee hosted the 9th MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit Concert in 2013.[9]

In 2020, Lee began co-hosting the Bad Friends podcast with Andrew Santino.[10]

MADtvEdit

In 2001, Lee joined the cast of MADtv,[4] 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.[6] Lee remained with the cast until the series' cancellation in 2009[6] and returned briefly when MADtv was revived in 2016 on The CW.[citation needed] Some of Lee's recurring characters included:

Character name Description
Kim Jong-il Host of the imaginary Kim Jong-il Show
Connie Chung Journalist
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).

TigerBelly podcastEdit

TigerBelly
Presentation
Hosted byBobby Lee
Khalyla Kuhn
GenreTalk
FormatAudio & Video
LanguageEnglish
Length60–90 minutes
Production
ProductionBobby Lee
Khalyla Kuhn
Gilbert Galon
George Kimmel
Bryce Hallock
No. of episodes288 (as of March 23, 2021)
Publication
Original releaseSeptember 1, 2015 – present
WebsiteTheTigerBelly.com

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.[11] The show's intro song "Shadow Gook" was written and produced by Lee and performed by Lee and Kuhn.[12] 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.[citation needed]

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.[13] Around this time Lee and Kuhn were visiting her family in the Philippines, when Kuhn came down with serious heart trouble.[14] She spent weeks in hospitals and couldn't return to her nursing job.[14] 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.[14]

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.[15] Lee met future TigerBelly producer, George Kimmel, when he was working on The Station comedy channel for Maker Studios,[16] where Kimmel was working as a producer.[17]

During an episode in 2016, Margaret Cho recalled an email exchange between her and actress Tilda Swinton over the controversial Ancient One casting in Doctor Strange (2016).[18]

Personal lifeEdit

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.[3][19][20] Lee relapsed on Vicodin and ended 12 years of sobriety after receiving negative feedback from a producer.[21][3] 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.[22] 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.[23] He subsequently went to rehab and became sober again.[24] Lee has stated that he is a recovering alcoholic.[14]

Lee's younger brother, Steve Lee, is a musician[25] 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.

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
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
2006 Undoing Kenny
2007 Kickin' It Old Skool Aki
2008 Killer Pad Winnie
2008 Pineapple Express Bobby
2010 Fudgy Wudgy Fudge Face Kangaroo Hands
2010 Hard Breakers Travis
2011 Paul Valet
2011 A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas Kenneth Park
2012 The Dictator Mr. Lao
2013 Wedding Palace Kevin
2014 Bro, What Happened? Brah Man
2016 Laid in America Goose
2016 Keeping Up with the Joneses Ricky Lu
2018 Public Disturbance Chuck
2019 Extracurricular Activities Mr. Mulnick
2020 The Wrong Missy Check-In Desk Employee
2020 Guest House Benny
2021 Wish Dragon Tall Goon Voice
2021 How It Ends Derrick
2021 Hero Mode VP Goodson Completed
2022 Borderlands Larry

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
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"
2016–2018 Love Truman 10 episodes
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"

Music videosEdit

Year Title Artist Role Notes
2009 "We Made You" Eminem Sulu [8][26]
2010 "2 Different Tears" Wonder Girls [27]
2010 "Hangover" Taio Cruz Captain
2017 "Dure Dure" Jencarlos [28]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "MILESTONES: September 17 birthdays for Patrick Mahomes, John Franco, Bobby Lee". Brooklyn Eagle. September 17, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Grant, Lee (September 17, 2004). "'Mad' man". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on March 1, 2016. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Archer, Greg (September 18, 2013). "Bobby Lee On Comedy, Survival And Being 'A Big, Sweaty Ball Of Flesh'". HuffPost. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Yang, Jeff (April 10, 2007). "ASIAN POP / Mad Man". SFGate. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  5. ^ Woo, Michelle (April 2, 2007). "Kickin' It With Bobby Lee". Character Media. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Nguyen, Joe (May 5, 2009). "Face2Face with Bobby Lee". www.asiaxpress.com. Archived from the original on March 1, 2018. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  7. ^ "Bobby Lee at Levity Live". Visit Oxnard. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Rogan, Lee & Redban 2013
  9. ^ The Grammys (December 2, 2014). "Set List Bonus: Ninth Annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit At Club Nokia". GRAMMY.com. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  10. ^ Laddin, Stephen (March 3, 2020). "Andrew Santino Is A People Person". High Times.
  11. ^ Lee 2017, p. 10:45
  12. ^ Lee, Bobby; Kuhn, Khalyla; Galon, Gilbert (November 26, 2015). "The Korean Kite 한국 연". Tigerbelly (Podcast). Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  13. ^ Lee & Griffin 2016, p. 1:17:00
  14. ^ a b c d Baldwin, Greg; Kalloniatis, Ant (November 19, 2017). "Bobby Lee is a Provoked Panda". Second Chances Podcast (Podcast). Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  15. ^ Lee 2017, p. 12:00
  16. ^ Baldwin, Drew (January 30, 2012). "Maker Studios Reboots The Station With Bobby Lee". Tubefilter. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  17. ^ Lee 2017, p. 2:03
  18. ^ Demby, Gene (December 21, 2016). "When Swinton And Cho Talk Race, The Point's Lost In Translation". NPR. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  19. ^ Schonberger, Chris (October 27, 2016). "Watch Bobby Lee Take on the Hot Ones Challenge". First We Feast. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  20. ^ Kozlowski, Carl (May 26, 2016). "Why Bobby Lee Is Done with 'MADtv'". Hollywood in Toto. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  21. ^ Lee, Diaz & Syatt 2014, p. 9:30
  22. ^ Variety Staff (October 28, 2008). "'Madtv's' Lauren Dombrowski dies". Variety. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  23. ^ https://hopclear.com/comedian-bobby-lees-father-has-passed-away/
  24. ^ Lee, Bobby (December 12, 2019). "Theo Von & The Guillotine | TigerBelly 224". YouTube. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  25. ^ "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.
  26. ^ Eminem 2009
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ "Jencarlos Releases New Single "Dure Dure" with Don Omar". www.peermusic.com. July 28, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2021.

External linksEdit