Ken Jeong

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ken Jeong
Jeong in 2012
Birth nameKendrick Kang-Joh Jeong
Born (1969-07-13) July 13, 1969 (age 54)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Years active1995–present
Tran Ho
(m. 2004)
Korean name
Revised RomanizationJeong Gang-jo
McCune–ReischauerChŏng Kangcho

Kendrick Kang-Joh Jeong (Korean정강조, /ʌŋ/ JUNG; born (1969-07-13)July 13, 1969) is an American stand-up comedian and actor.[1] He rose to prominence for playing Leslie Chow in The Hangover film series (2009–2013) and Ben Chang in the NBC sitcom Community (2009–2015). He created, wrote and produced the ABC sitcom Dr. Ken (2015–2017), in which he portrays the titular character, and he has appeared in the films Knocked Up (2007), Role Models (2008), Furry Vengeance (2010), The Duff (2015), Ride Along 2 (2016), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), Scoob! (2020) and Tom & Jerry (2021).[2]

Jeong is a licensed physician in California[3] but has since stopped practicing in favor of his acting career.[4] He appears as a panelist on the American version of the singing competition show The Masked Singer and appeared on the first series of the British version. He also serves as the host of I Can See Your Voice.

Early life and education[edit]

Kendrick Kang-Joh Jeong was born on July 13, 1969,[3][5][6] in Detroit, Michigan,[7] to South Korean immigrant parents, D.K. and Young Jeong.[5] He moved to North Carolina at the age of four,[7] and was raised in Greensboro, North Carolina.[8]

Jeong attended Walter Hines Page High School, where he participated in the regional quiz bowl, was elected to the 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.[2]

Jeong began pursuing acting while a sophomore at Duke University.[9] He briefly considered majoring in drama while still continuing his pre-med coursework.[2] He graduated from Duke in 1990 and obtained his M.D. at the UNC School of Medicine in 1995.[3][10] The summer before medical school, he took theater classes at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).[2]


1995–1998: Medical residency[edit]

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 at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.[11] 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.[2][12]

1998–2006: Physician/comedian[edit]

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 led to several television appearances, including NBC's The Office, FOX's MADtv, HBO's Entourage, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

In 2002, Jeong landed a spot on Comedy Central's Comic Groove.[9] Jeong was also on Kims of Comedy.[13]

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 maintains his medical license and has assisted with medical emergencies during performances and on-set.[3][9]

2006–present: Full-time entertainer[edit]

Jeong in 2011

Early in Jeong's career, he studied with director Natalia Lazarus at the Los Angeles Performing Arts Conservatory where she coached him for his film debut in Knocked Up. Lazarus coached Jeong from 2006 – 2012 for all of his film and television roles through The Hangover Part II.

Subsequently, he has appeared in Step Brothers; 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, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Crazy Rich Asians.

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

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, would star in Foxx's sports comedy All-Star Weekend.[16] He also started as the voice of Dr. Yap in the animated comedy series Bob's Burgers.

Jeong won a Streamy Award for "Best Guest Appearance" for Burning Love.[17]

In 2013, he appeared in Michael Bay's Pain & Gain (2013), as Johnny Wu, a motivational speaker.[18] Later that year, he returned in a significantly expanded role as Mr. Chow in The Hangover Part III.[19] He voiced Kim Ly in the animated film Turbo (2013). 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, and Jonathan Slavin.[20][21][22] The series premiered on October 2, 2015.[23]

In August 2018, Fox cast Jeong as a celebrity panelist on its upcoming music competition series The Masked Singer, based on the South Korean series King of Mask Singer.[24] Additionally, Jeong appeared as a panelist on the first series of the British adaptation of the show. In January 2019, Jeong made a guest appearance on King of Mask Singer, performing "Creep" by Radiohead as the Golden Pig.[25]

Jeong's first comedy special, You Complete Me, Ho, was released in 2019 on Netflix.[26] The Epilepsy Foundation issued a statement regarding a joke in the performance that used an inaccurately referenced seizure first aid technique.[27]

Jeong was awarded the Visionary Award by East West Players, the oldest Asian Pacific American theatre company in the United States,[28][29] for helping to raise "the visibility of the Asian Pacific American (APA) community through [his] craft."[30]

In February 2020, Fox named Jeong as host and co-executive producer of its upcoming music game show I Can See Your Voice, also based on a South Korean format.[31]

In March 2020, Jeong started a podcast with fellow Community actor Joel McHale, The Darkest Timeline with Ken Jeong & Joel McHale, as a response to the social isolation brought on by COVID-19 pandemic.[32] They became the new hosts of Fox's New Year's Eve special New Year's Eve Toast & Roast 2021.[33] The second edition was canceled due to the quickly-rising cases of Omicron variant in the COVID-19 pandemic.[34] He also voiced Dynomutt in the Scooby-Doo animated film Scoob!.

In July 2021, Jeong appeared with Joel McHale as a guest judge on Crime Scene Kitchen.[35] Also in 2021, Jeong provided the voice of Sprout Cloverleaf in the Netflix animated film My Little Pony: A New Generation.[36]

In April 2022, Jeong walked off the show The Masked Singer after Rudy Giuliani was revealed as the latest singer on the show. Jeong was seen saying "I'm done," before walking off the show.[37]

Personal life[edit]

Jeong's wife Tran Ho is Vietnamese-American and a family physician.[38][39][40] They have twin daughters (b. 2007).[38] Jeong and his family reside in Calabasas, California.[41]

Jeong and his close friend and Community costar Joel McHale[42] have hosted a podcast together titled The Darkest Timeline.[43]



  1. ^ Ariana Brockington (September 21, 2021). "Ken Jeong Debunks Nicki Minaj's Vaccine Claims, Breaks Down Delta Variant on 'Late Late Show'". Retrieved June 11, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e Lopez, Robert (June 16, 2009). "The doctor is in — films". News & Record. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Medical Board of California – Licensing details for A 65869".
  4. ^ Yorio, Nicole (May 16, 2011). "A Side of Community's Ken Jeong You Haven't Seen". Redbook.
  5. ^ a b DeCwikiel-Kane, Dawn (May 10, 2019). "'Find your passion,' Ken Jeong tells UNCG graduates". Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved May 9, 2023.
  6. ^ Jeong, Ken [@kenjeong] (July 13, 2022). "Thanks so much for all the birthday love!!!" (Tweet). Retrieved May 9, 2023 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ a b Jeong, Ken [@kenjeong] (October 5, 2015). "born in Detroit, moved to NC when I was 4. My father got his PhD in Economics from Wayne State" (Tweet). Retrieved May 9, 2023 – via Twitter.
  8. ^ Williams, Jessica (May 10, 2019). "Ken Jeong inspires at UNC-G commencement". The Times News. Archived from the original on November 1, 2019. 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". The Hollywood Reporter. 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?". Andscape. 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". Archived from the original on September 21, 2015. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  13. ^ Vinson, Chuck (September 1, 2005), Kims of Comedy (Comedy), Special Interest Productions, retrieved March 21, 2022
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ "Ken Jeong AHA Hands-Only CPR video". YouTube. June 15, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2013.[dead YouTube link]
  16. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (October 10, 2012). "Jamie Foxx and Ken Jeong agree to trade movies". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  17. ^ "Nominations Are Announced For 3rd Annual Streamy Awards". The Streamy Awards. December 17, 2012. Archived from the original on December 31, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  18. ^ Kit, Borys (April 5, 2012). "'Community' Star Ken Jeong Joins Michael Bay's 'Pain and Gain' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ "Medical Comedy Starring 'Community's' Ken Jeong Scores ABC Pilot Order". The Hollywood Reporter. February 10, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  22. ^ "Dr. Ken Series Premiere Date Announced". ABC Go. June 10, 2015. Archived from the original on September 4, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2015.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (August 2, 2018). "Fox Orders 'The Masked Singer' Celebrity Competition Series With Nick Cannon To Host – Watch The Trailer". Deadline. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  25. ^ "WATCH: Hollywood star Ken Jeong surprises on Korean tv show 'King of Masked Singer'". SBS PopAsia. January 14, 2019. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  26. ^ "In His Return To Stand-Up, Ken Jeong Tells His Wife: 'You Complete Me'". NPR. February 14, 2019. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  27. ^ "Epilepsy Foundation Statement on Ken Jeong's Netflix Comedy Special". Epilepsy Foundation. Archived from the original on January 8, 2022. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  28. ^ "Behind the Curtains: The Evolution and Impact of Asian Americans in Theatre | US-China Institute". Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ Schneider, Michael (February 6, 2020). "Fox to Adapt South Korean Game Show I Can See Your Voice, Hosted by Ken Jeong". Variety. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  32. ^ Darwish, Meaghan (May 18, 2020). "Joel McHale on 'Community' Movie Chances, 'The Darkest Timeline' Podcast & Reunion Table Read". TV Insider. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  33. ^ Sippell, Margeaux (December 31, 2020). "How to Stream Fox's 'New Year's Eve Toast and Roast 2021' With Ken Jeong and Joel McHale". TheWrap. Retrieved December 21, 2021.
  34. ^ White, Peter (December 21, 2021). "Fox Cancels 'New Year's Eve Toast & Roast 2022' Due To Omicron". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 21, 2021.
  35. ^ "'Crime Scene Kitchen': Guest Judge Ken Jeong Steals Joel McHale's Thunder (Exclusive Video)". TheWrap. July 14, 2021. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  36. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (June 30, 2021). "Netflix's Animated 'My Little Pony' Movie Gets A Title And A Release Date; Voice Cast Revealed – Update". Deadline. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  37. ^ Stump, Scott (April 21, 2022). "Ken Jeong walks off 'The Masked Singer' after Rudy Giuliani reveal". Today. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  38. ^ a b Jeong, Ken (May 7, 2011). "For My Wife, in Celebration of Mother's Day". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  39. ^ 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.
  40. ^ 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.
  41. ^ "Comedian Ken Jeong buys an upgraded home in Calabasas for $3.95 million". Los Angeles Times. October 19, 2016.
  42. ^ "15: S1E15 – A Conversation with Very Special Guest Ken Jeong – Six Seasons & a Podcast". Retrieved June 4, 2023.
  43. ^ Calvario, Liz (April 17, 2020). "Joel McHale Talks 'Community' Movie and His 'Darkest Timeline' Podcast With Ken Jeong (Exclusive)". Retrieved June 4, 2023.

External links[edit]