Ever since his wild role in The Hangover, I have been a big Ken Jeong fan. As a professional with a strong pull toward the arts, I was intrigued by his decision to leave his medical training behind and enter the world of comedy.
Now, there is no worries about my career taking a turn…being a professor is as innate to my being, as is my strong desire to craft. However, watching Dr. Ken Jeong’s path from Duke University to medicine and onto the big screen gives me some relief to know that there is not necessarily one way for folks to get to their goals – there might be unexpected stops along the way.
Today I actually had the chance to talk to Dr. Ken Jeong via phone as part of this sponsored blog campaign, and I asked him a few questions about careers, comedy, and his hit ABC sitcom, Dr. Ken.
Dr. Ken is what the actor claims to be an exaggerated version of his real life. In the show that he produces and stars in, Dr. Ken plays a fun-loving, zany doctor who loves his family. In episode 203 “Ken’s Banquet Snub”, airing Friday at 8:30 PM EST on ABC, Jeong’s real-life daughter Zooey will be making a guest appearance as a neighborhood girl who stands outside the kitchen window staring at Albert (Jeong’s on-screen son) while Molly (his on-screen daughter) and D.K (his on-screen father) try to scare her off. Dr. Ken is also surprised when a colleague is asked to emcee a banquet, while Clark and Damona debate relationship styles.
Dr. Ken on Kids and Their Bad Jokes
In my interview, I asked Dr. Ken the following question:
My kids like to tell jokes, but often they are not funny. What is your trick to comedy?
I mean my kids tell really bad jokes. In a crowded waiting room today, one of them blurted out, “Knock, knock.” Playing the doting parent role, I innocently answered, “Who’s there?” Do you want to guess who was there? DOODY BUTTCHEEKS, whoever that is… And while my three boys erupted in laughter, the woman sitting with her teen daughter across the room raised her eyes at me – not in support, but by reading her face I would guess she took their joke with a combination of disgust and bafflement.
Dr. Ken, after taking a moment to chuckle at my question, admitted that he doesn’t think he is funny. He noted that he has a good sense of humor about things. A good sense of humor, he suggests, is more important than being funny. When he is in a role, he considers the character and imagines the type of humor that makes that character laugh. As you can imagine, Mr. Chow (The Hangover) and Dr. Ken Park have different qualities that drive their comedy, but Ken Jeong considers all of that as he acts – resulting in some really outlandish and laugh-out-loud comedic moments.
Dr. Ken on Following Your Passion
Although Ken Jeong still holds his medical license, he does not plan on practicing again in the near future. His path from doctor to actor has always fascinated me – maybe because I am in an academic position, yet I often feel a pull toward my creative spirit. Now that I have earned tenure, I have begun to explore ways that make the academic world the perfect space for cogitating and creating in unison – our makerspace project is the perfect example of how I am beginning to find a path toward combining my two passions.
Dr. Ken attended Duke, where he was admitted to their acting school, but continued on the path to medical school instead. He notes that his wife and parents were huge supports in his shift from doctor to actor, and that his wife, Tran, married him 12 years ago knowing that he was really an actor at heart.
Dr. Ken on Family
A common thread in my whole interview with Dr. Ken was how much he cherishes his family. Any chance he had, he raved about his wife and their twin 9-year old daughters. It was evident immediately that Dr. Ken loves his family and that they are constantly at the center of his heart and mind.
In our interview, he shared that he runs all of the storylines, particularly those involving his on-screen wife, through his real-life wife, Tran. Work-life balance was important to him, as he stated that he tells his daughters, “I am a guy with a really odd job. And when that job is over, I am here.”
His pride for his daughter’s guest spot on this week’s episode was overflowing – watch tonight to see her hilarious role!
Dr. Ken airs Friday nights at 8:30 PM EST/ 7:30 PM CST on ABC.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network. All opinions expressed within are my own.