While training for his residency in internal medicine at Oshsner Medical Center in New Orleans, Jeong moonlighted, pursuing his love of theater and comedy. In New Orleans, he won the “Big Easy Laff-Off,” judged by late NBC president Brandon Tartikoff and Improv comedy club founder Budd Friedman, both of whom encouraged Jeong to move to Los Angeles to pursue his entertainment dreams.
While working as a practicing physician, seeing patients for seven years at Kaiser Permanente, Jeong performed at Los Angeles’ famed Improv and Laugh Factory comedy clubs. His side gigs gave him the experience he needed to secure higher-profile entertainment jobs, and he soon appeared on ABC’s The View and earned the title “The Funniest Doctor in America.”
Several television appearances followed, including on Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000), HBO’s Entourage (2004), NBC’s The Office (2005) and ABC’s Boston Legal. Jeong’s feature film debut, as a wisecracking doctor in Judd Apatow’s 2007 hit Knocked Up, opened more doors for the rising star. He went on to land roles in films like Role Models, Step Brothers and Pineapple Express—all released in 2008—and 2009’s All About Steve.
Also in 2009, the actor-comedian was cast in his breakthrough role, as Asian mobster Mr. Chow in the sleeper-hit comedy film The Hangover, starring opposite Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis. The film became one of the highest-grossing R-rated comedies of all time and lifted the Chow character into the comic canon. He returned for the sequels, The Hangover Part II (2011) and The Hangover Part III (2013).
After The Hangover‘s release, Jeong became a regular on the hit NBC show Community, which aired from 2009 to 2015. He then created, wrote and co-executive produced the sitcom Dr. Ken, which ran on ABC from 2015 to 2017. The show was based on Jeong’s life as a doctor prior to becoming an actor.
Along with his featured roles on television, Jeong made appearances on shows like Hot in Cleveland and Fresh Off the Boat and contributed his voice to animated fare like BoJack Horseman. On the big screen, he landed roles in Ride Along 2 (2016) and the hit rom-com Crazy Rich Asians (2018).
Jeong also hosted the 2011 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas and appeared in television specials like 2017’s A Christmas Story Live! He opened 2019 with a judging gig on The Masked Singer, an adaptation of a popular Korean singing competition series, and returned to stand-up that year with the release of a Netflix special.
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