UB Distinguished Speakers Series: Ken Jeong

Actor, "The Hangover;" "Knocked Up;" & "Community" | Comedian | Producer

ken jeong portrait smiling at camera.

October 11, 2022
7 p.m.

Center for the Arts
Mainstage Theatre

Tickets: $55.00 - $75.00

Known for his scene stealing abilities, actor, producer, writer and comedian Ken Jeong has established himself as one of today’s top comedic stars. Since his feature film debut playing the doctor in “Knocked Up” in 2007, Jeong has gone on to create memorable roles on both TV and film.

Jeong can currently be seen as a panelist on “The Masked Singer,” the hit show that received an Emmy nomination in the category of Outstanding Competition Program in 2020. Jeong is also the host and executive producer of “I Can See Your Voice,” as well as a panelist on “The Masked Dancer.” We’re calling Wednesday “Kensday.” The actor can recently be seen in Mike Meyers’ Netflix limited series “The Pentaverate” alongside Meyers, Keegan-Michael Key, Debi Mazar, Richard McCabe, Lydia West and Jennifer Saunders. The comedy series is about a secret society that has been working to control world events since 1347. Jeong can also recently be seen in Will Arnett’s “Murderville,” Netflix’s new series where Arnett and his celebrity guests improvise their way through a murder investigation without a script.

Up next, Jeong will be seen in AppleTV+’s “The Afterparty” alongside Elizabeth Perkins, Zach Woods, Paul Walter Hauser, Poppy Liu, Anna Konkle, Jack Whitehall and Vivian Wu, as well as returning stars Tiffany Haddish, Sam Richardson and Zoë Chao. Season 2 will revolve around a murder at a wedding, with Richardson and Chao taking on lead duties solving the crime, and  Haddish back as Detective Danner.

Prior to headlining “Kensday” on FOX, Jeong starred on ABC’s “Dr. Ken,” where he was the creator, writer and executive producer. He also was a series regular on the critically acclaimed NBC show “Community” from 2009-2015, which won the Critics' Choice Award for Best Comedy Series in 2012. In 2015, Jeong directed an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “Student Athlete,” and he also starred in and produced the Sundance award-winning film “Advantageous” which received an Independent Spirit Award nomination.

In addition to his work on “Dr. Ken” and “Community,” the actor can be seen on TV hits such as “The Office,” “Entourage” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” In 2008, Jeong had his first major film role opposite Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott as the villain in David Wain's “Role Models.” That same year he also appeared in the cult comedy hits “Pineapple Express” and “Step Brothers.” In May of 2009, Jeong appeared as the Asian-mobster “Mr. Chow” in the sleeper-hit comedy “The Hangover” also starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis, which earned Jeong an MTV Movie Award in 2010, and the film itself won The Golden Globe for Best Comedy/Musical and Critics' Choice Award for Best Comedy in 2010. The film was the highest-grossing R-rated comedy to date, with over $467 million worldwide, only to be trumped by “The Hangover II,” which grossed $581 million worldwide. Jeong reprised his iconic role in “The Hangover III.” His other film credits include “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Pineapple Express,” “Step Brothers,“ “Ride Along 2,” “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” “Couples Retreat,” “Goosebumps 2” and “Tom & Jerry” among a steady list of roles.

Jeong has lent his voice to a plethora of animated films and was recently heard in Netflix’s Oscar- nominated “Over the Moon,” Warner Brothers’ “Scoob,” and Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp.” Jeong’s other voice over credits include “The Casagrandes,” “Wonder Park” and “My Little Pony,” among a lengthy list.

In February 2019, Jeong returned to his stand-up roots for his first-ever hit Netflix comedy special, “Ken Jeong: You Complete Me, Ho, which earned him a People’s Choice nomination for The Comedy Act of 2019. Filmed at The Ice House Comedy Club in Pasadena, California, where Jeong first got his start in comedy, the special reflects on how he went from being a doctor to a comedy superstar. He opens up about how his wife’s courageous battle with breast cancer led to him starring in one of the biggest comedy franchises of all time, “The Hangover,” and more recently, “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Jeong’s career path started off on a different course. He earned his undergraduate degree at Duke University and went on to get his medical degree at the University of North Carolina. Jeong completed his internal medicine residency in New Orleans all the while developing his comedy. In 1995, Jeong won the Big Easy Laff Off. The competition, which was judged by former NBC President Brandon Tartikoff and Improv founder Budd Friedman, turned out to be his big break as Tartikoff and Friedman urged Jeong to head to Los Angeles.

Jeong dedicates his spare time to volunteering with Stand Up 2 Cancer, which is a cause very close to his heart. Jeong has also been very outspoken on the rise in racism and hate crimes against the AAPI community in the last year. He is using his platform to call attention to these issues and advocate for change in hopes of having a lasting impact. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and twin daughters.