Ken Kang-Joh Jeong (Korean: 정강조, Hanja: 鄭康祖) (born July 13, 1969) is an American stand-up comedian, actor and former physician.[1][2] He is best known for playing Ben Chang on the sitcom Community and the drug lord Leslie Chow in The Hangover film series.[3] 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[4] but has stopped practicing in favor of his acting career.[5] He currently appears as a panelist on both the American and British versions of the singing competition show The Masked Singer.

Ken Jeong
Ken Jeong by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Birth nameKendrick Kang-Joh Jeong
Born (1969-07-13) July 13, 1969 (age 50)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
MediumStand-up, film, television
EducationDuke University (BS)
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (MD)
Years active1995–present
GenresImprovisational comedy, sketch comedy, observational comedy
SpouseTran Ho
Children2
Notable works and rolesCommunity
The Hangover Trilogy
Knocked Up
Role Models
Ride Along 2
Dr. Ken
Crazy Rich Asians
The Masked Singer
Websitekenjeong.com
Korean name
Hangul
정강조
Hanja
鄭康祖
Revised RomanizationJeong Gang-jo
McCune–ReischauerChŏng Kangcho

Early life and educationEdit

Jeong was born in Detroit, Michigan, to South Korean immigrant parents, D.K. and Young Jeong.[3][6][7] Jeong was raised in Greensboro, North Carolina[8] as well as being raised in South Korea.[citation needed]

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.[3]

Jeong began pursuing acting while a sophomore at Duke University.[9] He briefly considered majoring in drama while still continuing his pre-med coursework.[3] He graduated from Duke in 1990 and obtained his M.D. at the UNC School of Medicine in 1995.[4][10] The summer before medical school, he took theater classes at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).[3]

CareerEdit

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.[citation needed]

Jeong completed his residency in internal medicine at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.[11]

 
Jeong in March 2015

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.[3][12]

1999–2007: Physician/comedianEdit

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.[9] 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.

In 2002, Jeong landed a spot on Comedy Central's Comic Groove.[9]

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.[4][9]

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[13] and was featured in a Hands Only CPR PSA campaign from the American Heart Association on June 15, 2011.[14]

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.[15]

Jeong won a Streamy Award for "Best Guest Appearance" for Burning Love.[16]

In 2013, he appeared in Michael Bay's Pain & Gain (2013), as Johnny Wu, a motivational speaker.[17] Later that year, he returned in a significantly expanded role as Mr. Chow in The Hangover Part III.[18]

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.[19][20][21] The series premiered on October 2, 2015.[22]

Jeong's first comedy special, You Complete Me, Ho, was released in 2019 on Netflix.[23]

Jeong was awarded the Visionary Award by East West Players, the oldest Asian Pacific American theatre company in the United States,[24][25] for helping to raise "the visibility of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community through [his] craft."[26]

Personal lifeEdit

Jeong's wife, Tran Ho, is Vietnamese American, a family physician, and a breast cancer survivor.[27][28][29] They have twin daughters named Zooey and Alexa (born 2007).[27]

His father, D.K. Jeong, was a professor of economics at North Carolina A&T State University.[3]

In December 2019, Jeong endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang for the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries.[30]

FilmographyEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Ancestry.com. U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 1 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, US: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
  2. ^ Barshad, Amos (May 23, 2011). "The Surprisingly Earnest Ken Jeong on the Secret Messages of The Hangover". Vulture.com. Nymag. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Lopez, Robert (June 16, 2009). "The doctor is in — films". News & Record. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "Medical Board of California - Licensing details for A 65869". dca.can.gov.
  5. ^ Yorio, Nicole. "A Side of Community's Ken Jeong You Haven't Seen". Redbook.
  6. ^ Lee, Chris (June 10, 2009). "Doctor provides best medicine". The Columbus Dispatch. Archived from the original on September 26, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  7. ^ Ken Jeong (October 4, 2015). "Ken Jeong on Twitter: "@S0fak1ng83 born in Detroit, moved to NC when I was 4. My father got his PhD in Economics from Wayne State."". Retrieved August 31, 2016.
  8. ^ Williams, Jessica (May 10, 2019). "Ken Jeong inspires at UNC-G commencement". The Times News. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d Jeong, Ken (August 27, 2015). "Ken Jeong: How to Ditch Medicine for a Career in Comedy and Diagnose Castmates". Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  10. ^ Dodson, Aaron (March 31, 2017). "Ken Jeong has degrees from both UNC and Duke — but where does his loyalty lie?". The Undefeated. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  11. ^ Guillermo, Emil (December 2, 2009). "Dr. Ken Jeong". Justforlaughs. Archived from the original on August 6, 2013. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  12. ^ "'Hangover' actor saw his career start in New Orleans -- at Ochsner". NOLA.com. Archived from the original on September 21, 2015. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  13. ^ "Far*East Movement will perform at Ken Jeong-hosted Billboard Music Awards". Asia Pacific Arts. May 12, 2011. Archived from the original on August 30, 2018. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
  14. ^ "Ken Jeong AHA Hands-Only CPR video". June 15, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  15. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (October 10, 2012). "Jamie Foxx and Ken Jeong agree to trade movies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  16. ^ "Nominations Are Announced For 3rd Annual Streamy Awards". The Streamy Awards. December 17, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  17. ^ Kit, Borys (April 5, 2012). "'Community' Star Ken Jeong Joins Michael Bay's 'Pain and Gain' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  18. ^ Siegel, Tatiana; Belloni, Matthew (July 12, 2012). "Ken Jeong Signs on for Expanded Role in 'Hangover: Part III' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  19. ^ "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.
  20. ^ "Medical Comedy Starring 'Community's' Ken Jeong Scores ABC Pilot Order". The Hollywood Reporter. February 10, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  21. ^ "Dr. Ken Series Premiere Date Announced". ABC Go. June 10, 2015. Archived from the original on September 4, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  22. ^ Tribune Content Agency, Luaine Lee (October 1, 2015). "Ken Jeong was a doctor, and now he plays one on TV". Greensboro News & Record. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  23. ^ "In His Return To Stand-Up, Ken Jeong Tells His Wife: 'You Complete Me'". NPR. February 14, 2019. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  24. ^ "Behind the Curtains: The Evolution and Impact of Asian Americans in Theatre | US-China Institute". china.usc.edu. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ a b Jeong, Ken (May 7, 2011). "For My Wife, in Celebration of Mother's Day". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  28. ^ Deerwester, Jayme (September 3, 2009). "Ken Jeong transitions from doctor to in-demand jokester". USA Today. Archived from the original on August 6, 2013. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ 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.

External linksEdit