Ken Jeong, the onetime physician, parlayed roles in Knocked Up and the Hangover trilogy to become Hollywood’s king of outrageous comedy. Get to know the world’s funniest doc turned comic in our Q&A below.
Men’s Journal: What do you get called most—Mr. Chow, Señor Chang or Dr. Ken?
Ken Jeong: Early on it was Mr. Chow but lately it’s been Dr. Ken. And I never mind Señor Chang. Community is one of the greatest TV comedies in the last 15 years.
Any tips for guys who might need to jump out of a car trunk naked?
Would you do that scene from The Hangover again now?
Comedy is completely different in 2022 than it was in the aughts. It’s our duty as artists to be forward thinking and not repeat yourself.
Was your role as King Argotron in Role Models one of your funniest?
Brother, thank you for bringing that up because I feel like that kind of gets buried beneath The Hangover and some of the other roles. It may technically be one of the best roles I’ve done. On the DVD, [director] David Wain accurately stated like, “He researched his role and was so intense you’d think he was like De Niro, just really being method.”
Who’s on your Asian comedians Mount Rushmore?
Definitely Margaret Cho. Ali Wong. Ronny Chieng. So many other people, but I’d have to say Awkwafina. Working with her on Crazy Rich Asians, I don’t think I’ve ever worked with anyone quicker. She has this flow to her comedy that’s different from any comedic actor I’ve ever worked with.
You’re involved in the #StopAsianHate movement. How do we stop Asian hate?
The simplest way is to tell people to stop it. During the pandemic, when terms like “kung flu” were being weaponized, everyone, not just Asian Americans, everyone has to say just stop it. It’s really not that hard.
Is it a big deal that Bowen Yang is on the SNL cast?
Yes! Bowen Yang is not only the future of Asian-American comedy, he is the present of Asian-American comedy. He’s the gold standard right now. Can I amend that Mount Rushmore to five people? Can you just allow me to add Bowen Yang? I will pay for the extra head to be chiseled there.
Was it tough on you when Dr. Ken got cancelled?
Yes. The whole show was my life. When it ends, I think it’s the toughest emotion you can go through in this line of work. Having said that, doing Dr. Ken for 44 episodes, honestly, there is nothing I have done past, present or future that can be as fulfilling.
It came from an idea of mine and actually made it to the screen. If anyone really wants to know who I am as a person, watch episodes of Dr. Ken, because I made sure every story was authentic.
Were you a Cameron Crazy while attending Duke in the ’80s?
I was. We had tents before it was named Krzyzewskiville.
You attended Coach K’s final home game. Traumatic moment?
To me it was a celebration to see the greatest coach of all time leave on his own terms. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. I’m getting emotional even thinking about it right now.
- Bedside manner?: Empathetic. Intense. I wasn’t Patch Adams.
- Chill-out ritual? Watch ESPN on my treadmill at home.
- Pump-it-up song? “Can’t Stop,” Red Hot Chili Peppers.
- Approach to The Masked Singer? I’m not a musician. There’s no pressure. I’m just there to have a good time.
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