Dr Ken: A Park Family Christmas – Fun Allison, D.K.’s Bad Santa and Connor (Review)

 ALBERT TSAI, DANA LEE, KEN JEONG, KRISTA MARIE YU, SUZY NAKAMURA

Dr. Ken delivers another brilliant dose of comedy with a generous helping of sentimentality on the side. A suicidal patient, D.K. as grumpy Santa and Allison working overtime to prove to her colleagues at Welltopia that she can be fun. Clark tries to get Connor the perfect gift and Molly manages to meet and impress Pat’s Stanford friend.

The real tour de force of this Christmas episode however was the “perfect gift” that Connor gave his boyfriend Clark.  A bended knee proposal that insured there would not be a dry eye in the house.

Ken Jeong and his ensemble team of performers have once again delivered that mixed bag of treats; comedy with just a touch of “watery eye” and lump in the throat moments.

We get to see just what makes Allison tick. Not only is she above and beyond professional in her dealings with patients, she also seems them as friends. In other words, Allison cares for those she counsels as much as she cares about how her Welltopia workmates see the real Dr. Park.

The teaming of Allison and Ken at the clinic has seen Dr. Ken changing ever so slightly from the irascible medico we met in the first season.  While this has enabled the couple to learn from each other at work, they also mesh better at home, to the benefit of all.

D.K. continues his contrary behaviour this week with his ever so grumpy Santa. Telling all the kids that they will get a ball instead of what they want, Dave is more than mortified at his grandfather’s depiction of jolly old St. Nick.

When he explains the motivation behind Father Christmas, D.K. thanks his grandson and tells him that he too will get a ball for Christmas. Dave is not impressed.

Apart from D.K.’s splendid comic offering, the women of the Park household get to shine in this episode.  (Although when D.K. presses the send button on Molly’s application, her expression is beyond  priceless.)  Allison proves once and for all that she is the mistress of multitasking and can, indeed, be fun.

Molly shows that when the party chips are down that she can orchestrate the perfect game plan to save the day. She manages to impress not only the man from Stanford but the rest of the party goers as well.

This season has seen a move toward letting the character’s on the show progress in satisfying arcs. Allison is more rounded this year and twice as funny as a result. Molly is growing up before the audience’s eyes and Dave has also advanced logically. (He does still maintain that comic “off the wall” personality that makes his character so much fun though.)

Another storyline that has been undergoing an evolution of sorts is the Connor and Clark storyline. We see in this episode that Connor puts a lot of thought and love into every gift he gives Clark. Clark tries to match that with his Christmas gift and it is touching to see how well it goes over.

Connor manages to beat his boyfriend in the perfect gift stakes when he proposes to Clark. This was a sweet end to these two and their romance throughout the second  season. Damona is still with Eric and while there are no wedding bells in the air for these two, they are a pretty satisfactory match.

The end of the episode gave Ken Jeong a chance to show off his “pipes.” If there were any dry eyes in the audience after Clark and Connor’s scene, the heartfelt rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” meant at least a Texas-sized lump in the throat  of all who watched.

Standout Moments:

ROSE ABDOO, ALBERT TSAI, GEMMA BROOKE ALLEN, DANA LEE

The entire D.K. and Dave scene in the library.

Ken’s attempt at talking Allison out of hosting the party.

Pat’s canceling the party remark.

Clark and Connor and that bended knee proposal.

Ken showing up at Welltopia to support Allison and the two of them inviting  their patient to the party.

The moment D.K. hits send on Molly’s laptop.

Molly’s saving the party and the “sushi” bit.

Allison’s “this is the party I planned.”

Mistletoe.

“That’s what Santa does…”

The song at the end.

Final Thoughts:

This was a splendid episode with the right amount of comedy and sentimentality. Christmas episodes have a tendency to be downright mawkish on a lot of shows. Nothing in this offering from Dr. Ken was over done, we believe implicitly in Allison’s move to invite her patient to their party.

We also believe that she is sincere in her wish as appearing more than just “Professional Allison.” Suzy Nakamura brings equal measures of comedy and clearcut moments of truth to her role.

Albert Tsai and Dana Lee were the new “Park” double-act in this episode. This allowed Krista Marie Yu the chance to hone her comedic skills most admirably. Jonathan Slavin continues to round out Clark and Tisha Campbell-Martin manages to seemingly do so much with so little effort.

(On a sidenote: Stephen Guarino, who plays Connor, is steadily becoming another regular, more as straight-man than anything else, who delivers each time he appears.)

Dr. Ken continues to be the best family show on Friday night television. It consistently brings a wonderful mixture of  laughter and tears which is the mark of any quality comedy series.

Cast:

Guest starring Mark Bloom as Curt.

Dr Ken: Ken Learns Korean – Out of the Mouths of Babes (Review)

KEN JEONG, VANA KIM

Dr. Ken this week leaves traditional Halloween tales behind and focuses instead on heritage and honoring our past. “Ken Learns Korean” is a more intimate look at remembering our family’s traditions and culture.

Another theme addressed is how children can surpass expectations and teach us as parents. “Out of the mouths of babes” means just that as Dave shows Ken later in the show.

Molly also teaches Allison something while practicing to retake her SAT.

The Storyline:

Dr. Ken starts with Ken encountering a patient who only speaks Korean. She talks to Ken who immediately checks that a translator has been called for. In seconds Troy shows up.  The patient has Troy translate her apology. She explains that she thought Ken was Korean.

Clark has been made the union rep for all the nurses and he will be handling negotiations with management. Pat overhears and tells the new negotiator that he will be looking forward to the meeting. Clark is intimidated.

Molly is working on improving her vocabulary for her upcoming SAT retest and practices on her mother at dinner. D.K. tells Allison that he is having a card game and needs a bag of ice around nine o’clock.

She is not impressed and tells Ken that she will not be bringing ice for D.K. Ken says he will tell his dad that there will be no game. D.K. then comes in to say they need a fourth. Would Ken like to sit in?

Ken would.

D.K. and his old buddies make fun of Ken for not knowing how to speak Korean.  Hurt and angry Ken goes in the kitchen and tells Dave that he will go to Korean class with him.

Pat rips Clark apart at  the negotiations. The hospital administrator has the floor and uses it to verbally run circles around Clark.

At the school Ken gets off to a shaky start.  The class are calling out numbers in Korean and Ken says his name. He then learns that they are doing numbers so he says “four.” The teacher asks for the number in Korean and Ken says it with an accent.

The teacher is not impressed.

Molly and Allison continue their vocabulary contest and confuse D.K. while back at the school Ken has more problems with learning  his father’s language.

He manages to successfully translate “where is the zoo”  but cannot give the directions in Korean. The phrase she wants is “over there.”  Ken asks the boy beside him for help. This is a bad move as the child has Ken say the zoo is on the teacher’s bottom.

KEN JEONG
The zoo is where?

Once again the teacher is not amused and she forces Ken to stand in the back corner…Again.

At Welltopia Clark is frustrated at how the negotiations went. He mentions striking and Damona goes off.

Meanwhile Ken tells Dave he is giving up Korean lessons.  Dave sets his father down and talks to him.  He explains that taking the lessons connects everyone. He does not “want to be the one to break the chain.” he says. “Do you,” he asks his father.

Ken is impressed enough to continue taking the lessons.

Back at the hospital Clark is pushing for the nurses to strike and no one supports him. Pat overhears and tells Clark that he stands alone, “like the cheese.”

Clark’s response is to go full out Norma Rae and his spiel is so impassioned that everyone, even the doctors, agree to the strike. His sincerity and passion moves Pat as well who agrees to the shorter hours.

Clark has won.

Molly finally stumps Allison with the word adumbrate, “to foreshadow or portend,” and Allison gracefully accepts defeat. When Molly leaves the kitchen, savoring her victory, Allison mutters, ‘Adumbrate. You’re adumbrate.”

D.K. comes in the kitchen to ask for ice and Allison puts her foot down. “You need to show me more respect,” she says and D.K. reaches into his back pocket for an envelope.

It is her “cut” from the last game. Allison is impressed. She will be cheerfully providing ice and scotch.

Ken comes in to play in the card game and speaks Korean  to Bum-Kun.  D.K.’s card playing cronies are not impressed till Ken goes on to “burn” Bum-Kun…In Korean.  Ken now feels accepted. He does, however, mess up by calling his fellow card players “old people.”

The episode ends with D.K., Dave and Ken watching Korean soap operas.

Standout Moments:

Luke Cage.

Ken being placed in the corner at Korean School.

Dave’s “Whose dad is that” and “DAD!”

Clark’s impassioned “Norma Rae” speech.

Allison and Molly’s “dueling vocabulary.” (Like dueling banjos but with words.)

D.K.’s game night and Allison’s reaction to her “cut.”

Ken at the card game.

“You wouldn’t understand, its a Korean thing.”

“Four.” (With an accent.)

Pat “owning” Clark at the negotiation table.

“Wounded gazelle meet hungry hyena.”

“I didn’t even want to date him!”

“You’re both sounding super silly.”

“Sure your dad is jacked…”

“The peninsula country in Asia where we come from.”

Final Thoughts: 

This episode was primarily about keeping in touch with our roots and how easy it is to forget where we come from.  It is also, like the rest of the season so far, about family.

Even Clark’s storyline was about “family” the people we work with day in and day out, our work family.

Since the underlying theme was about children teaching their parents a thing or too, Clark standing up to Pat, as daddy, is also a parent child relationship. Although arguably the hospital administrator can be seen as another child more often than not…

DANA LEE, KEN JEONG, ALBERT TSAI

The end of the episode with the three generations of the Park men watching a Korean soap opera was just brilliant.

Major kudos to Jonathan Slavin for knocking it right out of the park with his nurses speech.  His passion was so real that it induced goosebumps in at least one viewer…

Mad props to Dave Foley for his politician style double-talk during the negotiation segment. (And his Farmer in the Dell reference.)

Also a huge nod to Albert Tsai. His embarrassed cry when Ken tells the teacher that the zoo is on her bottom had this reviewer in stitches.

Dana Lee and his two card playing chums were spot on in this episode as well.

Another win for the Dr. Ken cast and crew, “Ken Learns Korean” was warmly funny and touching in all the right places.

Dr. Ken airs Fridays on ABC. Tune in for a family friendly comedy show that will light up your night.

Cast:

Guest starring Joshua Elijah Reese as Troy the translator, Tom Yi  as Bum-Kun, Nancy J. Lee as the teacher, 

Dr Ken: Child of Divorce – Like Father, Like Son (Review)

KEN JEONG, DANA LEE

Dr. Ken this week looks at divorce.  In keeping with this season’s focus on family, “Child of Divorce” (aka D.K.’s Divorce) looks at how we turn into children when faced with our own parents’ divorce.  D.K. reveals to Ken that his marriage ended two years ago and Ken is devastated.

The fact that his parents broke up after so many years of marriage bothers Ken and he worries that his relationship with Allison is in danger. Dave, proving that he is his father’s son, decides that his relationship with Emily is also doomed.

The episode begins with a slightly awkward “welcome meal” for Allison where she learns that Ken has been telling stories about their personal life. The awkward shifts into high gear when Pat spies D.K. with a young blonde in the restaurant.

As the group watch, D.K. and the blonde kiss and Ken is not happy. Later he confronts his father about the incident and D.K. reveals that not only have he and Ken’s mother gotten divorced, but Ken is literally the last person to know.

D.K. and Ken’s mother both believed the news would be too traumatic and that Ken would not be able to handle it.   After Ken assures D.K. that everything is fine, he goes into the kitchen ands screams silently. Allison, waits a beat and asks, “So how’d it go?”

Later she tells Dave and Molly about the breakup. Molly immediately asks how her father is taking the news and Dave worries.  Both kids know where their dad goes to cry.

Pat believes that D.K. has  mastered the dating scene and is determined to learn his secrets.  Ken panics and works overtime to “save” his marriage to Allison. He brings her lunch and then, after “overthinking the situation” takes the food away.

Molly treats her grandfather to a psychiatric session. She tells him that Ken is not handling the news well at all. D.K. shows up at Welltopia to see his son and gets hijacked by Pat. He takes Ken’s dad to buy him a beer and pick his brain.

DANA LEE, DAVE FOLEY
DANA LEE, DAVE FOLEY

Damona pranks Ken and he goes to the bar to talk with D.K.  After learning why his parents broke up, Ken tells his father about his worries. D.K. explains that Ken and Allison have a good marriage as they talk about things and have a chemistry.

The episode ends with Ken talking to his mother on Skype and learning that she has a new male friend. Cue more upset from Ken.

Standout Moments:

Ken’s silent scream and collapse in the kitchen.

Allison’s deadpan reaction to the silent scream.

D.K. telling Pat to talk less.

Molly’s practicing psychiatry. “I read ahead.”

Ken surprising Allison at work with flowers and takeaway only to leave with all the gifts seconds later.

Molly and D.K. and their counseling session. “Well, that’s our time…”

Dave and Emily in the kitchen playing monopoly. “Someone’s in a chatty mood.”

Damona’s “dead dad” prank that she plays on Ken.

Molly saving Dave and Emily’s “broken” relationship.

Dave clearly wanting his girlfriend to be less verbal; as in silent.

D.K. with his explanation of how he and Ken’s mother grew apart:

“She watch a lot of golf…I hate golf. Ball go up, ball come down.  I fall asleep. Woke up 30 years later and we have grown apart.”

Pat’s reaction to D.K. making him buy “Asian Doogie Howser” a beer. “Sexy, sexy man.”

Final Thoughts:

This episode was one of the funniest episodes this season. However, apart from the laughs and the divorce plunging Ken into instant childhood, the show revealed a number of things  about the Park family.

Dave is clearly just like Ken in some areas and Molly takes after Allison in others.  The kids have grown this season. Molly is less about the parties, boys and being popular and more about school and family.

D.K.’s pep talk where he helps Dave make friends in an earlier episode  may have helped but the youngest Park is also growing up. Although he still has to learn about letting girlfriends talk if he wants to keep one.

Ken’s relationship with Molly has also matured. He is less focused on losing his daughter.  With Allison now almost literally working down the hall he is more focused on his relationship with his wife.

This was a splendid direction for the show to take. There is just enough mischief at the “office” to keep things interesting and the addition of D.K. makes the Park family comedically complete.

Kudos to Dave Foley, Jonathan Slavin and Tisha Campbell-Martin. Slavin and Martin are the new Dr. Ken double act and Foley is truly hysterical as the single-minded Pat.

ALBERT TSAI, ZOOEY JEONG, KRISTA MARIE YU
ALBERT TSAI, ZOOEY JEONG, KRISTA MARIE YU

Albert Tsai and Krista Marie Yu are “Mary Poppins” kids; practically perfect in every way and have an effortless give and take.  Zooey Jeong is beyond perfect as Emily and the day she and Dave break up will be a sad one.

Ken and Suzy Nakamura continue to be “that” couple.  They are sharing the laughs evenly this season and the show’s familial comedy is stronger for it.

Dana Lee as D.K. nails it, each and every time he is on screen. He is the master of comedic gravitas.

Dr. Ken continues to be one of the best ensemble comedy shows on television. The series airs Fridays on ABC. Stop by and get ready to laugh…hard.

Cast:

Dr Ken: Ken’s an Expert Witness – Ken Rests (Review)

In Dr. Ken: Ken’s an Expert Witness the doctor’s confidence takes a battering, going all the way down from a level 10, to an eight and dropping. The episode if full of surprises. That Ken can actually lose confidence in himself being the biggest. Other surprises follow with Dave revealing a natural talent in clothing manufacture and an attraction between Juan-Julio and Dr. Julie.

 JIM RASH, JONATHAN SLAVIN, KEN JEONG

In Dr. Ken: Ken’s an Expert Witness the doctor’s  confidence takes a battering, going all the way down from a level 10, to an eight and dropping.  The episode if full of surprises. That Ken can actually lose confidence in himself being the biggest. Other surprises follow with Dave revealing a natural talent in clothing manufacture and an attraction between Juan-Julio and Dr. Julie.

Juan-Julio actually has two surprises, that  he apparently likes to perform at a local venue and he invites Damona and Julie to a lip-sync show where he will sing as “Prince” doing a Beach Boys number.  (The theme is “celebrities” singing Beach Boy tunes in their style and not the style of the Beach Boys.) The second surprise is his ability to analyze people by the state of their cars.

Even though Damona gives Julie the “thumbs down” sign, the intern tells Juan-Julio that they will go. An excited Juan-Julio leaves the reception and Damona is more than annoyed. Exhibiting the thumbs down sign again she asks Julie:

“What?  What do you think this means?”

Julie: “That we’re down to go.”

Later, Ken is asked by Pat to be the medical expert for a trial.  The administrator reveals that the other eight doctors he asked refused. Ken is overjoyed to be an expert for the court.  At home he excitedly tells Allison about now being an expert.

Molly comes down and makes an announcement.

Molly: “Hey, legal guardians. I just found a way to save our family a bunch of money.”

Allison: “Molly, we’ve been through this. We’re keeping Dave”.

It turns out Molly wants a new dress for the Spring Formal and she explains that she can wear the same garment to her wedding and even her parents funerals.  Both Ken and Allison decline the purchase and Molly asks them what she will wear instead. The parents trot out ideas and Molly storms off into the kitchen.

KRISTA MARIE YU, ALBERT TSAI

Dave offers to make Molly the dress and after initially reacting poorly big sis agrees but only after seeing that Dave has reprogrammed the “Rhoomba into a robot that brings me fudge.” The exchange between the two is not promising at first:

Dave: :What’s wrong?”

Molly: “Grown-up stuff. When I have a “Yo Gabba Gabba!” related problem, I’ll come to you.”

At the Juan-Julio performance the valet comes out as Prince (formerly known as “symbol”)  who then does “Kokomo.” He “ropes” Dr. Julie up on the stage to be part of the act and she is clearly having the time of her life.

Ken has his day in court.

As Dr. Ken leaps to enter the witness box, Clark tapes the proceedings on his mobile phone. Despite being giddy with the experience of testifying he starts giving  his evidence clearly and professionally.

The attorney (Jim Rash) for the plaintiff then rips Ken apart on the stand.  He mocks the doctor, imitates him and strips Ken of his credibility.  Flamboyance and exaggeration allows the lawyer to confuse Dr. Ken and  his actions devastate the doctor.

Dave makes the dress and dislikes it. He ask Allison to buy one instead. (This leads to a misunderstanding that is just brilliant. ) It seems that the little brother is anxious for Molly to appreciate and respect him. Allison offers to make the dress herself.

It is clear that Allison is out of her depth here as Dave has to point out that there is no thread in the sewing machine. Later her efforts as not appreciated by Molly at all, who believes Dave made the dress and she thinks there might be something wrong with him:

“Seriously, Mom. I thought something might be wrong with him. I was gonna say something to you privately.”

ALBERT TSAI, SUZY NAKAMURA

Ken complains to Allison later about the “triflin’ attorney” and she tells him not to worry but the doctor is stressed about the six jury member’s “he killed.”

“When I close my eyes I can still see their faces.”

At work, Ken is shaken after the trial and Julie feels that she and Juan-Julio have a connection. After Ken has a meltdown moment with a patient his staff try to help him after discovering the his confidence level is at an all-time low of eight. Clark tells Ken that he has nothing to prove and this motivates the doctor to action.

Forcing his staff to do an “all-nighter” they find the evidence that Ken needs to slam the attorney. While learning what his co-workers have found, the staff are all cranky and snapping at one another and Julie has heart palpitations.

Ken has a triumphant return to the courtroom and nails it.

KEN JEONG, JIM RASH

Molly sees the dress that Dave actually made and loves it, declaring that he has  real talent.  Allison is not happy as Molly goes on and on about the dress Allison made. Ken is back to up 10 on the confidence scale and Juan-Julio gives Dr. Julie a pep-talk.

Standout Moments:

The attorney blithely killing off half the jury and Ken’s guilt about it.

“You’re dead. You’re dead. You’re dead. You’re dead. You’re dead. You initially recover but then, but then out of nowhere… boom. Dead. And you hope to get a second opinion, but you couldn’t… ’cause your doctor killed you.”

Allison’s reactions to Molly, and Dave, dissing her attempt at dress-making.

Juan-Julio.

Ken’s “Matlock” moment and “You can’t handle the truth!”

Pat’s listing of all the things that Clark, Damona and Dr. Julie say not to mention.

Dr. Julie’s line to Damona about Pat:

“I know you and Pat boned a bunch of times, but still.”

Dr. Julie again with her heart issues and Ken’s reactions to her problem.

Dave’s “you pinned the blame on me.”

Final Thoughts:

As usual the cast of Dr. Ken killed it.  Guest star Jim Rash, another Community alumni, was hysterical as the attorney.  Clarks “crush” on Rash’s character was brilliant as was the entire Molly dress-capade.  The highlight of the show was Ken returning triumphant to that courtroom, but that short Prince sings the Beach Boys sequence was right behind it.  Kate Simses allowed her character to look euphoric while on that stage.

The “all nighter” bit was genuinely funny and once again Dr. Julie lets out a little fire with her retort to Ken about the website.

Kudos to Krista Marie Yu, Albert Tsai and Suzy Nakamura for the entire bit of the Molly’s dress storyline. These three performers have meshed beautifully as family and the comedy was sweet.

Mad props to Marques Ray who plays Juan-Julio, he absolutely rocked it to the max in this episode.

Generally, the theme this week was confidence: An overabundance (Ken), too little (Dave and then later Ken again) and then the building of same.

Dr. Ken: Ken’s an Expert Witness was a good follow on from the Dicky Wexler episode with an emphasis on broader comedy, more light-hearted and a guest star that just killed it. Another win for Dr. Ken.

Dr. Ken airs Fridays on ABC. This show is not to be missed.  Laughter is the best medicine and Dr. Ken provides it effortlessly.

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

KEN JEONG (WRITER/EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)

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.