Tag Archives: Judd Apatow
“It’s kind of like (former New York Knicks guard) John Starks. He was bagging groceries (before playing college ball), and all of a sudden goes to the Knicks and becomes an amazing player,” said Jeong, who is reprising his role as flamboyant Las Vegas gangster Leslie Chow as “The Hangover Part II” opens nationwide Thursday.
“Pat Riley believed in him, and (producer/director) Judd Apatow was kind of like my Pat Riley. Definitely. He brought me in, auditioned me and gave me my big break. Because of that, I think it allowed other directors to say, ‘OK, if he’s good enough for Judd, then we’ll consider working with him.’ Judd gave me credibility, like Riley did Starks.”
Jeong, 41, who got his medical degree at the University of North Carolina, was working at Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center in Southern California when he decided to prescribe himself a new career.
He had moved to Los Angeles after winning the 1997 Big Easy Laff Off in New Orleans, a competition judged by late television executive Brandon Tartikoff and Budd Friedman, founder of the Improv comedy club.
He continued to perform comedy at night after performing emergency room miracles during the day.
But the acting bug never left him, and he got his big movie break when Apatow cast him as Dr. Kuni, an OB/GYN handling Katherine Heigl’s pregnancy. Jeong’s performance led to parts in “Pineapple Express,” “Role Models,” “All About Steve,” “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard,” “Couples Retreat” and “The Hangover” in 2009.
Jeong played the criminal boss Chow, who stole the show when he popped naked out of the trunk of a car and beat star Bradley Cooper with a tire iron before finally running away into the Vegas desert. “The Hangover” grossed $467 million worldwide after costing only $35 million to film. Jeong was nominated for two MTV Movie Awards, winning the “WTF Moment” for the tire-iron scene. And it solidified his decision to set medicine aside to follow his dream.
Even though he still maintains his California medical license and works a few emergency room shifts here and there, Jeong now focuses on his comedic acting career. That now includes “The Hangover Part II,” which stars Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis as the goofy “Wolfpack.”