As actor Ken Jeong tells it, his Hollywood ubiquity can be chalked up to a hangover he’s still experiencing.
“Honestly, it is The Hangover dust that gets me these jobs” the 41-year-old comedian/physician (yes, you read that correctly) told the Associated Press in a recent interview. “Everything I have done in the last two years, in all honesty, is directly because of The Hangover.”
Since that seminal buddy-comedy flick arrived in theaters two summers ago, Jeong has made appearances in movies like Furry Vengeance, Despicable Me and Vampires Suck, and has become a fan favorite on NBC’s Community.
Jeong received his degree in medicine from the University of North Carolina in 1995 and completed his medical residency at a New Orleans hospital while honing his stand-up skills. He eventually won a stand-up competition that gave him the chance to perform at Los Angeles’ famed Improv comedy club. He jumped at the opportunity.
“I had to take up a day job at an HMO here in L.A., and at night I would just do stand-up comedy in town, and all the while, actually, hoping I could kind of go back to acting,” Jeong told the AP. “Really, just four years ago, I was working full time as a physician. Every day is, like, ‘I can’t believe, I can’t believe I’m doing this.’”
The renaissance man was even able to help a co-star’s friends on the set of The Hangover sequel in Thailand. “One of Ed Helms‘ friends got sick with food poisoning and I was worried that it would be a very serious infection. So, I got in doctor mode and I’m on the phone and everyone was listening, and I’m like, ‘OK, this might be C. dificile colitis, and if that is the case, you need to go to an ER stat,’” Jeong recounted. “I was getting that hardcore about it, and that probably was more shocking to the cast and crew — you know, slack jaw — to hear me talk like that than probably anything I do in a movie.”