Bobby Lee

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Bobby Lee
Bobby Lee in "Pauly Shore's Vegas Is My Oyster".png
Lee in 2011
Pseudonym"The Slept King"
Birth nameRobert Young Lee Jr.
Born (1971-09-17) September 17, 1971 (age 49)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Years active1994–present
GenresObservational comedy, black comedy
Subject(s)Human behavior, human sexuality, American politics, gender differences
Relative(s)Steve Lee (brother)

Robert Young Lee Jr. (born September 17, 1971[A 1]) is an American actor, comedian and podcaster, best known for being a cast member on MADtv from 2001 to 2009 and for his roles in the films Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004), Pineapple Express (2008), and The Dictator (2012).[5] Between 2018 and 2019, Lee co-starred in the ABC single-camera sitcom series Splitting Up Together alongside Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson.

In 2016, Lee started a weekly podcast titled TigerBelly, which currently has over 472,000 subscribers and over 87 million views on YouTube as of October 4, 2020.

Early life and education[edit]

Lee was born Robert Young Lee, Jr. in San Diego County, California to parents Jeanie and Robert Lee.[6] He and his younger brother grew up in Poway, California.[7] Lee attended Painted Rock Elementary School, Twin Peaks Middle School, and Poway High School.[6] In high school, he was part of a breakdancing team.[8] At 18, Lee moved out of his parents' home and took jobs in restaurants and coffee shops in the San Diego area[9] while attending Palomar College. He later dropped out.[6]

Lee's Korean American parents owned clothing stores in both Escondido and Encinitas, California. His mother currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.[6][10] Lee's younger brother, Steve Lee, is a musician[11] 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.


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.[9][12] "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).[9] After a few months of working odd jobs at the club, he decided to try stand-up during one of their amateur nights.[9] Within a year of doing regular comedy sets, he received offers to open for both Pauly Shore and Carlos Mencia.[6][9] Lee went on to work regularly at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles, a comedy club owned by Pauly Shore's mother Mitzi.[6]

Lee has admitted in several interviews that his parents had hoped he would continue on with the family business and were less than supportive of his comedic pursuits at first.[6][9][10] 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.[13]

Lee is known to include 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 very own family.[10]

Lee hosted the 9th MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit Concert in 2013.[14]

In 2020, Lee began co-hosting the Bad Friends podcast with Andrew Santino.[15]


In 2001, Lee joined the cast of MADtv,[10] 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.[9] Lee remained with the cast until the series' cancellation in 2009[9] 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 podcast[edit]

Hosted byBobby Lee and Khalyla Kuhn
FormatAudio & Video
Created byKhalyla Kuhn
Length60 – 90 min
ProductionBobby Lee
Khalyla Kuhn
Gilbert Galon
George Kimmel
Bryce Hallock
No. of episodes265 (as of October 4, 2020)
Original release2016 – present

TigerBelly is a video podcast hosted by Lee and his girlfriend, Khalyla Kuhn, which currently has over 470,000 subscribers and 87 million views on YouTube as of October 2020. Also on camera is actor and comedian Gilbert Galon, and behind the scenes producer and frequent on-screen personality, George Kimmel. Kuhn became interested in doing podcasts of her own after she was a guest on the DVDASA podcast.[16] The show's intro song "Shadow Gook" was written and produced by Lee and performed by Lee and Kuhn.[17] 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. Towards the end of the show, host Galon reads listener questions, which are addressed in a segment jokingly referred to as "Unhelpful Advice". Periodically, the end of the show features a segment called "MMA minute" in which the hosts discuss mixed martial arts and the UFC.

Lee and Erik Griffin initially pitched a podcast to All Things Comedy and they were immediately signed but the two could never make the time to meet.[18] Around this time Lee and Kuhn were visiting family in the Philippines, when Kuhn came down with serious heart trouble.[19] She spent weeks in hospitals and couldn't return to her nursing job.[19] 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 drop Griffin and instead focus on podcasts with Kuhn.[19]

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.[20] Lee met future TigerBelly producer, George Kimmel, when he was working on The Station comedy channel for Maker Studios,[21] where Kimmel was working as a producer.[22]

In 2016, the podcast was reported in multiple media outlets after guest Margaret Cho in Episode 71 recalled an email exchange between her and actress Tilda Swinton over the controversial Ancient One casting in Doctor Strange (2016).[23]

Personal life[edit]

Addiction and sobriety[edit]

Lee began taking methamphetamine and marijuana around 12, and Heroin by age 15 and went through three drug-rehabilitation attempts, ending his meth abuse around 17. During his period of drug abuse, Lee claims that he not only competed in a wrestling tournament but won under the influence of methamphetamine and LSD.[7][24][25] When he started MADtv, a producer told him that "he wasn't funny and that they wouldn't use him in the show very often."[26] Lee relapsed on Vicodin and ended 12 years of sobriety.[7] He got sober after MADtv producer Lauren Dombrowski fought for him after he was fired from the show a second time. Dombrowski died of cancer on October 8, 2008 in Los Angeles at the age of 51.[27] Lee said that one of the only times he has ever cried was at Dombrowski's funeral. On TigerBelly Episode 224, Lee admitted to guest Theo Von that he had relapsed after his father's death in August 2019. At the time of recording, he was 11 days sober and had recently left rehab.[28]

Lee has stated that he is a recovering alcoholic.[19]

Selected filmography[edit]


Year Title Role Notes
2001-2009, 2016 MADtv Various
2002 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Self Aired April 26 [29]
2005 Curb Your Enthusiasm "The Korean Bookie" [30]
2005 – 2006 Mind of Mencia An Asian CSI agent, gay pirate Episodes: "#1.6" and "Stereotype Olympics"[30]
2007 American Dad! Danny
2007 Sales Guys Earl Wayne Thurman
2009 – 2011 Family Guy Various
2009 State of Romance Andrew [9]
2010 Cubed Bob Yamamoto
2010 Ktown Cowboys Bobby Lee
2011 – 2014 Chelsea Lately Round Table Regular [31]
2011 Big Time Rush T.J.
2012 Samurai! Daycare Park
2012 RVC: The Lone Shopping Network Hiri
2012 Animal Practice Dr. Yamamoto [32]
2013 Arrested Development Mrs. Oh Episode: "Queen B."[33]
2013 Sean Saves the World [34]
2014 The League Lee Wei Lee Episodes: "The Usual Bet" and "Epi Sexy"[35][36]
2013 – 2015 The Awesomes Voice of Tim/Sumo Animated series on Hulu[37]
2015 NCIS: Los Angeles Rio Syamsundin Episode "Blame it on Rio"[38]
2017 What Would Diplo Do? Brian [39]
2016 – 2018 Love Truman On Netflix, with Gillian Jacobs[40]
2018 NCIS: Los Angeles Rio Syamsundin
2018 – 2019 Splitting Up Together Arthur On ABC - series regular[41][42]
2019 – 2020 Magnum P.I. Jin Episodes: "Honor Among Thieves", "Make It 'Til Dawn",[43] "A Game of Cat and Mouse", and "A World of Trouble"
2020 Game On! CBS
2020 The Cabin with Bert Kreischer Himself Episode 3: RELEASE (On Netflix)

Guest with Donnell Rawlings


Year Title Artist Role Notes
2009 "We Made You" Eminem Sulu from Star Trek, and an Inuit [13][44]
2010 "2 Different Tears" Wonder Girls [45]
2010 "Hangover" Taio Cruz Captain


Year Title Role Notes
1999 The Underground Comedy Movie Chinese Man
2003 Pauly Shore Is Dead Delivery boy
2003 American Misfits Korean General
2004 Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle Kenneth Park [41]
2005 Kims of Comedy Self With fellow Korean American comics Steve Byrne, Ken Jeong and Kevin Shea in a stand-up comedy tour and accompanying film
2006 Undoing Kenny
2006 Thugaboo: Sneaker Madness Mr. Lee Young / William Hung TV Movie
2007 Kickin' It Old Skool Aki [8]
2008 Killer Pad Winnie
2008 Pineapple Express Bobby [42]
2010 Hard Breakers Travis the stoner
2011 Paul Valet
2011 A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas Kenneth Park [7]
2012 The Dictator Mr. Lao [12]
2012 Emerald Acres Sammy No TV Movie
2013 Final Recipe Contestant with Michelle Yeoh[46]
2013 Wedding Palace Kevin Directed by Christine Yoo
2014 Bro, What Happened? Brah Man Directed by comedian Dante
2016 Laid in America Goose A British comedy film released direct-to-digital on September 26, featuring Olajide Olatunji and Caspar Lee (no relation)[47]
2016 Keeping Up with the Joneses Ricky Lu [41]
2019 Extracurricular Activities Mr. Mulnick
2020 The Wrong Missy Toki Dum Dum / Check-In Desk Employee
2020 Guest House Benny Comedy film from Pauly Shore


  1. ^ While talking on his podcast to Bert Kreischer and Kyle Dunnigan, Lee said that he was born in 1971.[1][2] Also, on the September 20, 2018, Episode 160 of TigerBelly they celebrate his 47th birthday.[3] According to the California Birth Index, Robert Y. Lee was born September 17, 1971 in San Diego County.[4]



  1. ^ Lee & Kreischer 2018, p. 6:00
  2. ^ Lee & Dunnigan 2018
  3. ^ Lee 2018
  4. ^ "Robert Y Lee, Born 09/17/1971 in California". California Birth Index. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  5. ^ Lee 2016
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b c d Archer, Greg (September 18, 2013). "Bobby Lee On Comedy, Survival And Being 'A Big, Sweaty Ball Of Flesh'". HuffPost. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Woo, Michelle (April 2, 2007). "Kickin' It With Bobby Lee". Character Media. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Nguyen, Joe (May 5, 2009). "Face2Face with Bobby Lee". Archived from the original on March 1, 2018. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d Yang, Jeff (April 10, 2007). "ASIAN POP / Mad Man". SFGate. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ a b "Bobby Lee at Levity Live". Visit Oxnard. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Rogan, Lee & Redban 2013
  14. ^ The Grammys (December 2, 2014). "Set List Bonus: Ninth Annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit At Club Nokia". Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  15. ^ "Bad Friends w/ Andrew Santino and Bobby Lee". January 23, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  16. ^ Lee 2017, p. 10:45
  17. ^ Lee, Bobby; Kuhn, Khalyla; Galon, Gilbert (November 26, 2015). "The Korean Kite 한국 연". Tigerbelly (Podcast). Retrieved February 9, 2020.
  18. ^ Lee & Griffin 2016, p. 1:17:00
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Lee 2017, p. 12:00
  21. ^ Baldwin, Drew (January 30, 2012). "Maker Studios Reboots The Station With Bobby Lee". Tubefilter. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  22. ^ Lee 2017, p. 2:03
  23. ^ Demby, Gene (December 21, 2016). "When Swinton And Cho Talk Race, The Point's Lost In Translation". NPR. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  24. ^ Schonberger, Chris (October 27, 2016). "Watch Bobby Lee Take on the Hot Ones Challenge". First We Feast. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  25. ^ Kozlowski, Carl (May 26, 2016). "Why Bobby Lee Is Done with 'MADtv'". Hollywood in Toto. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  26. ^ Lee, Diaz & Syatt 2014, p. 9:30
  27. ^ Staff, Variety (October 28, 2008). "'Madtv's' Lauren Dombrowski dies". Variety. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  28. ^ Lee, Bobby (December 12, 2019). "Theo Von & The Guillotine | TigerBelly 224". YouTube. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  29. ^ "Season 10, Episode 131 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno". Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  30. ^ a b "MADtv Cast". MADtv. Archived from the original on June 7, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  31. ^ "Chelsea Lately | TV Guide". Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  32. ^ Bobby Lee's Official 'Animal Practice' Premiere Interview, retrieved January 26, 2020
  33. ^ Voss, Erik (June 13, 2013). "'Arrested Development' Episode Reviews: Smashed / Queen B." Vulture. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  34. ^ Stanhope, Kate (November 5, 2013). "Exclusive Sean Saves the World Sneak Peek: Does Sean Have the Hots for His Dry Cleaner?". Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  35. ^ Viruet, Pilot (November 5, 2014). "The League: "Epi-Sexy"". TV Club. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  36. ^ FK (December 4, 2009). "The League – Recap & Review – The Usual Bet". TheTwoCents. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  37. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth; Wagmeister, Elizabeth (December 18, 2015). "Hulu Cancels Seth Meyers' Animated Series 'The Awesomes'". Variety. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  38. ^ "Bobby Lee | TV Guide". Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  39. ^ "'What Would Diplo Do?': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  40. ^ Miller, Liz Shannon; Miller, Liz Shannon (March 11, 2017). "'Love' Season 2 Review: Netflix's Relationship Comedy Delivers Heartbreak As Promised". IndieWire. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  41. ^ a b c Otterson, Joe (March 17, 2017). "Bobby Lee Joins ABC Pilot 'Splitting Up Together,' Diona Reasonover Cast in NBC's 'Relatively Happy'". Variety. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  42. ^ a b Média, Bell. "Funnyman Bobby Lee Isn't Slowing Down". Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  43. ^ Burbridge, Wendy (October 27, 2019). "Magnum Reloaded: 'Magnum P.I.' presents intriguing Hawaiian-style Halloween episode". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  44. ^ Eminem 2009
  45. ^ 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.
  46. ^ Adams, Mark (September 23, 2013). "Final Recipe". ScreenDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  47. ^ Spangler, Todd (July 25, 2016). "Raunchy Comedy 'Laid in America' With YouTube Stars KSI, Caspar Lee Gets Release Dates". Variety. Retrieved January 26, 2020.

External links[edit]