Ken Jeong Exclusive Interview: Dr. Ken, Dicky Wexler and a Career High


Ken Jeong took time out of his extremely busy day, Ken actually called me from the editing bay of Dr. Ken, and spoke with Mike’s Film Talk about his start in the entertainment business, Dr. Ken, and why Dicky Wexler’s Last Show is an episode he counts as a career high. We also spoke about his stint as stand-up comedian, his fellow cast members,  the show finale, Randall Park and Jamie Foxx.

Ken Jeong has amassed a gross of screen credits on both the small screen and the larger cinema screen. He got his start in 1997 on television but the real beginning was while attending pre-med courses at Duke University. He took an acting class where he caught the bug instantly. Ken realized that he loved acting.

So much so, in fact, that he auditioned for the acting school at Duke. He was accepted and then had to contemplate switching majors.

Ken: “So in reality my love for acting began over 25 years ago way before my career in medicine ever got started. I did continue with medicine and developed a passion for it. My wife is a doctor; she still practices, and it is a big part of my life. In a way, Dr. Ken is a culmination of areas of my life.”

After making the hard decision to keep studying medicine, Ken never got over the lure of performing and started doing stand-up comedy throughout his remaining educational time and while doing his medical residency.

It was, Ken says, a logical choice.

Ken found that his natural gift for comedic acting transferred well to the arena of stand-up and he won a contest where the prize was a “golden ticket” to perform at the world famous Improve Club in Los Angeles. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Before talking about Dr. Ken, and Ken’s favorite episode Dicky Wexler’s Last Show, we talked about his passion for performing.

Mike’s Film Talk (MFT): Looking at your bio and the various interviews you’ve done in the past, it looks like stand-up comedy is your first love.

Ken: Well…I’ve got to say that acting is my first love. Although going right back childhood, my first love was for academics and then acting, without any inkling of performing either ability, or even ambition.

MFT: Oh.

Ken: What happened was I really wanted to do theatre when I was in college. When I got fortunate enough to be accepted to medical school, I had to stop the acting school and finish what I’d started medically, or pre-medically. Then once I started in medical school I still had this desire to perform, but I had no idea what to do. So I thought, ‘why not give stand-up a try.’ Because I’d always excelled at ‘comedy’ acting and this is kind of a manifestation of that.

MFT: Right.

Ken: And Stand-up became like a great hobby. You could go to an “open mic” event once or twice a month and just let off some steam. I really viewed it as my hobby while in med school and during my residency and it was not anything I was trying to do professionally. But it just so happened I could do it well enough to do it professionally, and one thing led to another. Winning the contest to go to LA and perform at the Improv in Hollywood and that got my foot in the door in LA.

MFT: The move to stand-up makes a certain amount of sense. Once you have experienced the immediacy of feedback from a live theatre audience, nothing else really fulfills that experience, so the switch over to stand-up sounds like a brilliant replacement.

Ken: Oh yes, the immediacy of the audience feedback doing is hard to describe if you’ve never experienced. But, yes there is a high, a performance high, that get out of doing that. It is funny though, while I was doing it, I had opportunities to go on the road and open for high profile comedians but I opted not to.

MFT: Why not?

Ken: Well as much as I love stand-up, and a lot of my friends are in stand-up as well; I really love acting and wanted to do ‘proper’ acting. This is what prompted me to book a part in “Knocked Up” and later Hangover. I truly love acting more than stand-up but I really enjoyed my time while doing stand-up. There is a lot of grey involved there, it’s not black or white situation as in “Oh I like this, I don’t like this.”

MFT: I know looking at the bio it seemed that comedy had been your starting point, like Steve Martin or Robin Williams, and that you’d gravitated over to acting but actually the reverse is true.

Ken: Yeah the reverse is true. It was more like theatre acting, stand-up and then acting. But to your point; like in the Dicky Wexler episode, there is an affinity for stand-up comedy with my character and that will culminate in the season finale where stand-up will be involved.

MFT: Oh brilliant!

Ken: Oh yeah, it goes there. And it will be a point where Ken will try his hand at stand-up comedy. There is a lot of “art imitating life” so I’m glad you feel that way after reading my filmography and credits and also following the show because what you said…although in my “exact” life I had a more nuanced experience than that, but in the universe of the show, Ken’s love for stand-up is real and genuine.

And I don’t think it’s coincidence that in an episode like “Kevin O’Connell” that he was doing stand-up for the HMO banquet…Which is also based on a true story. At the physicians HMO banquet every year I would do stand up comedy and that pertained to that.

MFT: Oh that’s brilliant! I was going to mention that early on in the series, in one of my reviews, I called Dr. Ken “the Woody Woodpecker” of medicine in that he said and did things no one else would dare to and was quite unapologetic about it. He was Ken Park, doctor, and he was going to do things his way.

Ken: Exactly. He doesn’t have  a filter he’s not sensitive or self aware and  I think that’s the big difference in our characters. In the life of Dr. Ken, he overreacts but has no self awareness, but in real life I overreact but I’m painfully self-aware. I’m a very sensitive guy and I really do care what other people think.

MFT: Which is all part of being an actor…

Ken: Yeah, that is part and parcel of being an actor, absolutely.

MFT: I was going to ask, just for a laugh, who you’d rather go to..obviously you wouldn’t want to go to Dr. Park.

Ken: Yeah, that’s because as a physician, in real life as a doctor I tried not to be funny with my patients. I never really liked doing that. It is funny that when people meet me they are very surprised at how low-key I am and how seriously I took medicine. That was what I wanted to do growing up so I  took that seriously. 

MFT: Yes.

Ken: I’ve said in interviews before that I never jerked around patients like Patch Adams. I never went around saying, “Aw you got herpes, but I got your nose! Honk! Honk!” 

MFT: (Laughing) Which would probably result in a lawsuit these days.

Ken: (laughs)

MFT: I’ve watched “Dicky Wexler’s Last Show” twice now. Now I have to say, my two favorite episodes so far have been “Ken at the Concert” and “Dicky’s Last Show” and both for the same reason. They each made me laugh and cry a little. Now I’m a soppy old git and I’ve cried at Scooby Doo before…

Ken: (laughing)

MFT: And the odd commercial. But these episodes  each contained the perfect blend of comedy and that little touch of pathos, or poignancy. In the concert episode, Ken is trying so hard do connect with his little girl who’s outgrowing his sphere of fatherly influence and at the concert he realizes,  in the parent lounge,  that the other parents have given up and Ken decides he’s going to “rescue” his relationship with Molly.

Dr Ken: Ken at the Concert – Ken, Molly and Emblem3 (Review)

Dr Ken: Ken at the Concert was a splendid mix of comedy with a touch of “lump in the throat” poignancy. Every parent longs to connect with their teenage offspring.


Dr Ken: Ken at the Concert was a splendid mix of comedy with a touch of “lump in the throat” poignancy.  Every parent longs to connect with their teenage offspring.  Ken’s attempt to remain relevant in his daughter’s life, and still be the “dada” by grabbing the Emblem3 concert tickets for Molly (Krista Marie Yu) and her friends results in Jeong knocking it out of the park (no pun intended…) with a hilarious wine-fueled vow of “heart” for his teenage daughter.

The entire storyline is a reversal of parenthood and child raising.  There is a variation on the “baby-viewing” rooms in the cinema where parents with crying and noisy (that’s spelt embarrassing and annoying to both the parents of said child and the other cinema patrons) can sit to watch the film and not stress out the other audience members:

This variation is called the parent lounge.

At the concert, an embarrassed Molly sends Ken away from her,  and the bestie’s who have been invited to the concert,  before he leaves Molly gives Ken, “the list.” Two mother’s see Ken’s predicament and explain that they know his pain.

Ken is taken to the parent lounge.  There the exiled inhabitants imbibe wine and gouda cheese. Ken is a hit with his fellow denizens and as he and the mother’s who share his misery get deeper into the wine, Dr. Park learns that these are parents who have given up on their teenagers.

Ken’s captive, and intoxicated audience in the Parent Lounge

Grabbing a gouda to go, Ken heads back down to Molly and her friends. He tries to express his feelings and is shut down by his embarrassed teen. After sitting down, Ken notices a fan jump on the stage and the upset father gets an idea.

Ken rushes on stage and declares that while Molly is no longer his “little girl” she will always be his daughter. Molly cringes at this PDA until she realizes her friends are impressed by Dr. Park’s little speech. Ken is then tackled by the band’s onstage security guard.

Dr. Ken; Ken at the Concert goes back to the storyline of “Pamona” just in time to see them break up. The Pat and Damona breakup takes place at Welltopia where Dave shows up with Allison after stepping on a rusty nail at the birthday party.

“It wouldn’t have gone through my shoe if you’d let me wear the wedges.”

The lion’s share of the episode dealt with Molly and Ken.  A truly funny look at a father devoted to his teenage daughter a’la “Super Dad” but with that Ken Jeong touch.  But, as is natural for this show, other players managed to shine comically as well.

Dave’s invitation to a birthday party:

“Legit or class invitation? It doesn’t matter let’s just savor the victory.”

The whole “tetanus” injection scenario:

Dr. Julie Dobbs: “I’m great with kids…I used to be one.”

Allison Park: (no reaction)

Later when Dave is locked in the exam room:

Clark: “I’m great with kids, I used to be one.”

Allison: (gales of laughter): “It must be the way he says it…”

Clark telling Julie and Damona how to get out of a relationship:

“Tell him that your grandmother has died and that you are the chief suspect.”

Later Damona has trouble trying to explain to Pat that she wants to break up, he is not getting her message, and she blurts out the “grandmother” line in desperation. Pat’s reaction is to invite her to a romantic getaway at a B&B.

Dave freaks out at the idea of the injection and after he escapes from the exam room, he finds refuge in Pat’s office. Before that Juan-Julio gets another moment in this episode:

“He’s in the vents. We’ll have to smoke him out.”

As Dave sits in Pat’s office he starts to explain his dilemma of the tetanus shot.  Cue one brilliant “Up” reference:

Pat: “All right. You’ve got my attention Park…Whup! But you lost it…Pigeon…”

Standout Moments:

Were many, but there were a few that really made their mark –

Juan_Julio’s creepy smile after the “smoke him out” line.

Ken’s drunken singing to Molly and then his on stage appearance.

Juan-Julio, again, “Until the men in the suits took him sailing.”

Pat’s desperate: “My grandmother’s dead and I’m the chief suspect!”

Kate Simses proving yet again that she is Queen of comedic timing with her stricken, yet accusatory, look when Allison laughs at Clark saying “the kid” line.

Damona, again, “Well I’m waiting for the D.A. to call me about my grandmother, but I guess I got a minute…”


Ken: YOLO, LOL, OMG, et al.

Final Verdict:

Dr. Ken: Ken at the Concert was a brilliant look at the chasm that is created when our kids “out-grow” us. Krista Marie Yu killed it as the embarrassed, initially, teen who “hearts” her dad right back by the end of the episode.  Ken Jeong also kills it as the dad who desperately still wants to be part of his little girl’s life.  Albert Tsai, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Dave Foley and Marques Ray all rocked this week.

Emblem3, aka E3 (which feels a little like a blatant rip off of the gaming conference, just saying…) had little time to perform but this appearance must have provided a great chance to celebrate their getting back together. While not a fan (I’ve only just learned of their existence.) it is easy to see why the characters on the show were such fans.

Dr Ken airs Fridays on ABC, tune in quick as there are only five episodes left in season one.



Dr Ken: Meeting Molly’s Boyfriend – Omelets, Overlap & Origin Stories (Review)

Note: This episode is also “out-of-sequence” in terms of the Damona/Pat and Clark storyline. In Dr. Ken this week Meeting Molly’s Boyfriend as well as Mexican wrestling masks there are omelets, origin stories and “overlap” on offer.


Note: This episode is also “out-of-sequence” in terms of the Damona/Pat and Clark meets his man storyline. In Dr. Ken this week Meeting Molly’s Boyfriend as well as Mexican wrestling masks there are omelets, origin stories and “overlapping” affairs on offer. Krista Marie Yu kills it this week with an impressive delivery of fun lines and at least one excellent “look.”

Although to be fair, the episode was also “owned by”  Ken Jeong, Suzy Nakamura, Dave Foley and there was an epic “win” by Marques Ray as Juan-Julio. Guest star David Valdes does well by playing it perfectly straight and it sets up the comedic interchanges between his character and Dr. Ken brilliantly.

The storyline has Molly introducing her boyfriend Sean (Valdes) to her parents.  Ken goes all out to welcome the high school wrestler to the “family.”  Allison learns that Sean’s mother is a patient of hers and she attempts to move the woman to another doctor. She learns, to her dismay, that Sean is “cheating” on Molly with a girl named Chloe.

At Welltopia, Pat goes to Ken for support on his subordinate evaluation and Ken tries to help by telling the administrator that he needs to be nice to his “underlings.”  Pat does his usual “cockeyed” approach to dealing with the hospital staff until he hits on the winning idea of free omelettes.

Ken and Allison are furious that Sean is cheating on Molly, but when Ken attempts to force a confession from the teen wrestler, it is Molly who cracks. Although it is Allison getting carried away and shouting, “You’re a cheater,” that causes Molly to reveal she “overlapped” Sean with her prior boyfriend.

Ken becomes distraught when he learns that Allison  “overlapped” him when they met and later, he borrows a line from Sean (using an A-Ha reference) and gets busted by Allison who  knows it.


Before the end credits roll, everything is sorted out. Allison proves that she does cherish the Park “origin” story, although Ken does ban her from Facebook.

In terms of standout  moments, this episode of Dr. Ken has a plethora of bits that tickle the funny bone to the nth degree.

Standout Moments:


Molly’s entrance at the episode start. Her opening lines were spot on.

“Seriously mom control your man”

Molly: “Dad, your fly…”

Ken: “I’m supa fly.”

Molly: “No, Dad, your fly is supa open…”

Molly’s “look” at Dave’s revelation about left-handed toilet paper..

Her threat of revenge to her parents:

“I don’t know how I’m gonna retaliate for this, but it’s probably gonna be older, and it’s probably gonna drive a motorcycle.”


“Apricot! Apricot!”

In response to Pat’s ham-fisted attempts to be nice to his subordinates: “Pat, this is gonna take forever…”

The matching Mexican Wrestling masks.

“A frying pan? Allison, this is a sport not a cartoon!”

Re: The wrestling masks, the match between Sean and “Ken” at the end of the episode.

Ken And Clark:

Ken’s “Cheater Pan” and Clark’s response:

“Look I can lie!”


“Cheatwood Mac…”



After both Clark and Dr Julie do their impressions of Pat, Juan-Julio then does the perfect impression of Pat:

“Oh, but this morning, when I asked if you would pay me to make omelets, you said, ‘You’re a valet. Why would I pay you to make omelets, Juan-Julio?'”

Sidenote:This is truly hysterical, if watching on a tablet or  an iPad, or even your phone in a public place, be prepared to burst out laughing (in delight) at this perfect moment.  You have been warned.


“This is our first fight!”

Honorable mentions:


This could have been a standout moment, but due to the out-of-sequence episodes; as in the last two are before the Damona/Pat “wild thing” affair, Damona’s line is ironically, yet hysterically, funny. Pat attempts to help Damona carry some files and her retort is brilliant:

“Get the hell offa me grandpa…”

Oh the irony…

Allison’s telling  Ken,  after his “spring rompers” line:

“You need more male friends.”

Final Thoughts:

All’s well that ends well.  The storyline this week had more than its fair share of laughs and chortles. Krista Marie Yu rocked it, as did Albert Tsai (an alternative subtitle was “Dave’s First Break Up”).  The comedy was unremitting, from Ken’s safe word (“You guys have a safe word? Gross.” says Molly.) to the wrestling bit at the end, and those “named” masks, this episode proves that this show just keeps getting better and funnier regardless of whether the sequencing is in order or not.

Ken Jeong vs David Valdes

Dr. Ken airs Fridays on ABC. If you like to laugh, tune into the funniest scripted show on television. Mike’s Film Talk has been informed by a very reliable source (Ken Jeong himself) that the out-of-sequence sequencing is now over…



Dr Ken: The Wedding Sitter – “Selfish Dancer” Review

Dr. Ken: The Wedding Sitter had a lot going for it, a brilliant “sort-of” cross-over where Fresh Off the Boat regular (Ian Chen who plays Evan Huang) steps in as Dave Park’s doppelgänger.


Dr. Ken: The  Wedding Sitter had a lot going for it, a brilliant “sort-of” cross-over where Fresh Off the Boat regular (Ian Chen who plays Evan Huang) steps in as Dave Park’s doppelgänger. There is some great Molly (Krista Marie Yu) showcasing and a sweet ending for Clark (Jonathan Slavin) in a Four Weddings and a Funeral fashion  as well as a great “selfish dancer” storyline which ends on an uplifting note…almost.

Sidenote: There was one issue. Okay, this is “sitcom-land” where logic does sometimes have to fly out the window. However…Either this episode has been aired out-of-sequence or the Pat/Damona “colleagues-with-benefits” storyline has taken an odd turn. Since everyone, and by everyone meaning all the folks at the clinic, know about the two “doing the nasty” Pat’s insistence that “the three of you” avoid him at the wedding makes no sense at all.  Can we have a collective shrug? 

Still, this episode had some brilliant comic moments.  Dr Ken, (Ken Jeong) cuts a mean rug and does some great moves…”yo.” In terms of highlights the two dance sequences at the Tuttle wedding the first where Ken is a “selfish dancer” and the second where he and Allison (Suzy Nakamura) do their ballroom dance sequence, with disastrously funny consequences,  rock.

So too do the brief flashbacks where the young actor picked to portray Dr Ken is the same height (If not taller?) than his adult “self.” Ken Jeong is great at playing these height gags with an aplomb that is envious (take,  for example, Dave’s Valentine).

The storyline this week has all of the clinic being invited to Dr. Tuttle’s wedding, although Julie (Kate Simses,  who also rocked it this week with her “shouting” at the doctor), Clark and Damona (Tisha Campbell-Martin) are clearly on the ‘B’ invite list.

Julie: “Mine was addressed to “Dr. Julie Dobbs or current resident.

Wrong wedding…oops.

Later, the trio’s suspicions are confirmed when they learn that they have no seats at the event. However, on the up side, Clark meets his perfect match in Connor (Stephen Guarino) although the two get separated when the group learn they are at the wrong wedding reception.

At the Park residence, Molly is press-ganged into babysitting duty since the regular sitter is ill.  After giving in, the teenager then enlists a former (and much older) sitter to look after her brother so she can go to the grove with friends.  Not to be outdone by this show of cunning, Dave then hires Henry (Ian Chen) to be his “stand-in” for the evening so he can attend a magic show.

At the real wedding reception, Ken dances with Allison,  proving that he is not a selfish dancer after all.  Clark is reunited with Cooper and Pat, who is initially overjoyed at seeing the trio he brushed off prior to the reception,  ends up out in the cold.

Standout Moments:

Ken’s dancing.

Those flashbacks, or more correctly the reactions of those privy to Park’s walk down memory lane.

Molly and Dave with their quickly concocted story and the fist-bump.

Julie shouting at Tuttle twice, but not in a bad way.

Henry and Mrs. Pancake discussing the wall and immigration (after Dave told him not to bring it up).

Clark and Connor.

Ian Chen proving that he rocks whether he is on Fresh Off the Boat or on Dr Ken.

Mrs Pancake (Jill Basey) and Henry (Ian Chen).

Apart from that “clanging moment” where Pat totally seemed to be disrespecting his “shag partner” this was another instance of Dr Ken proving once again it is one of the funniest shows on television.   While Ken Jeong effortlessly turns in a comic performance that leaves one almost breathless with laughter, and not a little awed, the rest of the cast also manage to prove that their comedic chops are mighty.

It as to be said that Dave Foley, as Pat, has become a particular favorite, like an American “Terry Thomas” but with a touch of discomfort that makes his sexually obsessed hospital administrator a delight to watch.

Overall Thoughts:

The entire episode is excellent crack, apart from the Pat/Damona misstep. It was great fun to see Chen from Fresh Off the  Boat  (The “Huang children” on the other ABC sitcom comedy are favorites of Mike’s Film Talk and it would have been brilliant to see all of them worked into the show somehow…just saying.)  and the cake scene was well done.

Ken: “Whew! That was close.”

It was a nice touch to see why Ken was a selfish dancer and it allowed the series to add a little bit more to the character of Dr Ken Park.

Pat just before getting his comeuppance…

Dr Ken airs Fridays on ABC. Stop by, take a seat and prepare to laugh.


Dr Ken: Delayed in Honolulu – Black Monday and Dr Oz (Review)

After their break for the holidays, Dr Ken returns with Delayed in Honolulu and provides a comical look at “Black Monday,” celebrity doctors, as in Dr Mehmet Oz, Ken’s being a 90s “hip-hop” wanna be and Dr Dobbs’ stepping up to the line for a waiting room full of flu sufferers.


After the required break for the holidays, Dr Ken returns with Delayed in Honolulu and provides a comical look at “Black Monday,” celebrity doctors, as in Dr Mehmet Oz, Ken’s being a 90s “hip-hop” wanna be and Dr Dobbs stepping up to the line for a waiting room full of flu sufferers.  While Ken gets the lion’s share of the action, with his approaching and annoying Dr Oz, the rest of the ensemble cast get some “standout moments.”

Dr Ken and family are trapped in the Honolulu airport and Dr Dobbs is the physician in charge as Ken’s official locum has the flu.  Ken’s airport layover problems includes one of their seats being separate from the rest, Dr Oz has the one needed to keep the family together and he is, ultimately,  annoyed by Ke and refuses to swap tickets.

Back at Welltopia, Kate is slowly seeing to the full waiting room of flu patients, Pat has Julio help him overcharge the waiting room for drinks and snacks while Damona and Clark get stressed out by how long it is taking Dr Dobbs to get through each individual patient on the waiting list.

Standout Moments:

Pat’s line about the waiting flu patients:

“When life gives you phlegm, you make ‘phlegm-onade.'”

Molly ditching  Trevor after his desperate texting and (too many)  emojis when he gets mom Allison’s text dumping him.

Ken’s faux English approach to get Dr Oz to trade tickets:

Ken: “Hello, Dr. Oz. Nice to meet you. Big fan…”

Dr Oz: “Nope.”

Ken: “Bollocks!

Alison accidentally sending the “dump” text to Trevor and Ken immediately distancing himself from the whole thing.

Dr. Dobbs (Kate Simses) wishing Damona “Best wishes” on Black Monday.

Clark’s line about the overly full waiting room:

“Have you seen the waiting room? It looks like “the walk-in dead.”

Dave playing cards with the college lads from Arizona State and starting his deal with “my Old Maid deck.”

Dr Oz having to come back to Dr Ken and trade the ticket so he can charge his new “8.”

Dave,  turning into The Cincinnati Kid and cleaning out the college kids.

Honorable Mentions:

The $20 faint gag.

Dr Dobbs’ line about addicts in the waiting room, of which there are actually two:

“And if you’re a drug seeker looking to score some Vicodin, it’s not gonna happen.”

Pat being bullied by Julio about the bacon wrapped hotdogs.

Dave, again, paying off the extra baggage fees and the desk attendant from his “winnings.”

“And this is for you. Get yourself something nice.”

Allison’s “I have fat thumbs, it’s the last place I lose weight.”

Ken’s response, “Let me! My thumbs are like babies’ pinkies.”

Overall thoughts:

Ken Jeong’s Dr Ken Park goes back into full “Woody Woodpecker” mode, with a  90s hip-hop wannabe vibe, that cranks things up nicely.  The fun behind the entire Honolulu delay is first counting the ways things will go wrong and then watching them happen.  We know that Ken is going to ultimately irritate Dr Oz (the TV doctor looks humorless and a bit “up his own bum.”) just as we know that utilizing his WW luck, Ken will ultimately get what he needs from Oz.

Dr Ken for the win, with Dr Oz…

Sidenote: Dr Mehmet Oz does a splendid job “sending himself up” here and  proves that it is not just “Dr Phil” who can take a joke.

Once again the interaction between Albert Tsai and Krista Marie Yu is spot on, the “Hey! You spilled my macadamia nuts” and the response of “Text walkers get priority” was funny and delivered with just the right amount of sibling irritation.

The Welltopia crew, Kate Simses, Tisha Campbell-MartinJonathan Slavin and Dave Foley kill it with the whole “Black Monday” scenario and Marques Ray (as Juan-Julio) gets his chance to shine. 

Dr Ken has characters that are fun and funny. Ken’s obvious channelling of his “inner thug/Hip-Hop artist yo” continues to be amusing, as is Alison’s, and in this episode Dr Oz’  reaction to it. The gags in this comedy can be enjoyed by everyone.


Dr Ken airs Fridays on ABC. Tune in and catch a comedy show that is uncomplicated and  guaranteed to make you laugh.