Ken Kang-Joh Jeong (Korean: 정강조, Hanja: 鄭康祖) (born July 13, 1969) is an American stand-up comedian, actor and former physician. He is best known for playing Ben Chang on the sitcom Community and the drug lord Leslie Chow in The Hangover film series. He was the lead in the ABC sitcom Dr. Ken, of which he is also the creator and for which he was a writer and executive producer. Jeong is a licensed physician but has stopped practicing in favor of his acting career. He currently appears as a panelist on both the American and British versions of the singing competition show The Masked Singer.
|Birth name||Kendrick Kang-Joh Jeong|
|Born||July 13, 1969|
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Medium||Stand-up, film, television|
|Education||Duke University (BS)|
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (MD)
|Genres||Improvisational comedy, sketch comedy, observational comedy|
|Notable works and roles||Community|
The Hangover Trilogy
Ride Along 2
Crazy Rich Asians
The Masked Singer
|Revised Romanization||Jeong Gang-jo|
Early life and educationEdit
Jeong was born in Detroit, Michigan, to South Korean immigrant parents, D.K. and Young Jeong. Jeong was raised in Greensboro, North Carolina as well as being raised in South Korea.
Jeong attended Walter Hines Page High School, where he participated in the regional Quiz Bowl, was elected to student council, and played violin in the school orchestra. He graduated in 1986 at the age of 16 and later went on to receive Greensboro's Youth of the Year award for his achievements.
Jeong began pursuing acting while a sophomore at Duke University. He briefly considered majoring in drama while still continuing his pre-med coursework. He graduated from Duke in 1990 and obtained his M.D. at the UNC School of Medicine in 1995. The summer before medical school, he took theater classes at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
1990–1998: Medical residencyEdit
Jeong's background in theater and improv started while he was still a medical student in North Carolina. He was a regular at open mic nights in the Raleigh-Durham circuit, performing at Charlie Goodnights in Raleigh and Tootie's Durham Comedy Club. He also emceed The Comedy Spot programming series on Duke University campus 1992 and 1993 (produced by his friend Kendrick Jahng) opening for Margaret Cho, Jeff Dunham and others.
Jeong won the Big Easy Laff-Off in 1995 while still in residency. NBC president Brandon Tartikoff and The Improv founder Budd Friedman were judges, and they both urged Jeong to move to Los Angeles.
Jeong moved to Los Angeles in 1998 and practiced medicine for several years as a physician of internal medicine at a Kaiser Permanente hospital in Woodland Hills. He began performing regularly at The Improv and Laugh Factory comedy clubs. His stand up work has led to several television appearances, including NBC's The Office, HBO's Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
He made his film debut in Judd Apatow's Knocked Up as Dr. Kuni, which proved to be his breakout performance. From that point forward he was able to transition from medicine into a full-time career in the entertainment industry. Jeong gave up the practice in 2006 in favor of his acting career, however, he still continues to maintain his medical license.
2008–present: Full time entertainerEdit
Subsequently, he has appeared in Pineapple Express; Role Models as King Argotron; All About Steve; The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard; Couples Retreat; and as Mr. Chow in The Hangover, The Hangover Part II, and The Hangover Part III. He co-starred in Zookeeper and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, released in summer 2011.
Jeong played Señor Chang on the NBC sitcom Community and was nominated for the show's "Male Breakout Star" at the 2010 Teen Choice Awards. He was nominated for two 2010 MTV Movie Awards, winning the award for Best WTF Moment and for MTV Movie Award for Best Villain for The Hangover. In fall 2010, Adidas basketball began a wide-ranging marketing campaign in which he starred as "Slim Chin", alongside NBA stars Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose. On May 22, 2011, he hosted the 2011 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on ABC and was featured in a Hands Only CPR PSA campaign from the American Heart Association on June 15, 2011.
In 2012, it was reported that Jamie Foxx and Jeong have each agreed to star in movies written and produced by the other. Foxx has agreed to take a leading role in the Jeong's buddy comedy After Prom. Jeong, in turn, will star in Foxx's sports comedy All-Star Weekend.
In 2013, he appeared in Michael Bay's Pain & Gain (2013), as Johnny Wu, a motivational speaker. Later that year, he returned in a significantly expanded role as Mr. Chow in The Hangover Part III.
In 2015, Jeong starred, wrote, and executive produced the pilot of his new ABC medical comedy, Dr. Ken, as a frustrated HMO doctor juggling his career, marriage and parenting, but succeeding at none of them. On May 7, 2015, the series was ordered by ABC to debut in the 2015–16 TV season starring Jeong, Suzy Nakamura, Dave Foley, Tisha Campbell-Martin and Jonathan Slavin. The series premiered on October 2, 2015.
Jeong was awarded the Visionary Award by East West Players, the oldest Asian Pacific American theatre company in the United States, for helping to raise "the visibility of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community through [his] craft."
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- "Nominations Are Announced For 3rd Annual Streamy Awards". The Streamy Awards. December 17, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
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- "ABC Orders Ken Jeong's Comedy 'Dr. Ken' to Series". May 8, 2015. Archived from the original on September 30, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
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- "In His Return To Stand-Up, Ken Jeong Tells His Wife: 'You Complete Me'". NPR. February 14, 2019. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
- "Behind the Curtains: The Evolution and Impact of Asian Americans in Theatre | US-China Institute". china.usc.edu. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
- Ramos, Dino-Ray (June 3, 2019). "East West Players Unveils 54th Season Featuring BD Wong-Directed 'The Great Leap', Jiehae Park's 'Hannah And The Dread Gazebo'". Deadline. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
- Wood, Ximón. "East West Players' 51st Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction Honors Randall Park and Ken Jeong on Monday, April 24, 2017 at Hilton Universal City". East West Players. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
- Jeong, Ken (May 7, 2011). "For My Wife, in Celebration of Mother's Day". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
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- Margarita (June 7, 2010). "Dr. Ken Jeong Thanks Wife Dr. Tran Ho During MTV Movie Awards". Vitals. Archived from the original on September 22, 2013. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
- EST, K. Thor Jensen On 12/30/19 at 4:59 PM (December 30, 2019). "Comedian Ken Jeong endorses Andrew Yang for president, jokes "he's offering me $1000 a month to say this"". Newsweek. Retrieved January 3, 2020.
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