04 Jan Q&A WITH DR. KEN AND SUZY NAKAMURA OF DR. KEN
It’s difficult to put these film festivals on, particularly in the age of “Netflix and chill.” We’re so proud to have the San Diego Asian Film Festival in our city for 16 years—this is a huge accomplishment.
Ken Jeong is an incredible talent. We fell in love as soon as they opened the trunk door and not car in Las Vegas. And a multitude of performances since then. In San Diego, Asian Pacific Islanders represent 15% of this city’s population. And yet we are too often not a part of the conversation, certainly in political circles, often in popular media. And so, we are all so excited that “Doctor Ken” is playing on ABC. You’ve got to support our community to get our faces out there. And the fact that “Dr. Ken” has a multicultural Asian family on television is also a big deal. So we want to support that in this city. Diversity is our strength. – Councilmember Todd Gloria
JENNY YANG: HAVE YOU GOTTEN USED TO WATCHING YOURSELF IN FRONT OF A LIVE AUDIENCE? IS IT WEIRD?
KEN JEONG: Well, first of all, thank you for being here. Thank you. I’m very moved by the, this whole day and I can’t thank you enough for inviting me and Suzy to be here and also thank you to Jenny Yang for moderating this. I’m not just an actor on the show, I’m also one of the main executive producers. So to your question, I’ve been in the edit bay editing this, to show it for you guys as well to get it out to the press. I’ve been sick of seeing myself for the longest time, way before a crowd. Even in my high school yearbook, I have been afraid. I’ve been hating to see my face.
YANG: WHAT’S YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN LIKE WATCHING YOURSELF?
SUZY NAKAMURA: It’s different when you’re doing it, you know, and you’re living with the script for that week then you’re performing it. So when I actually see it from, you know, as a viewer, as an audience member I feel like I’m watching someone else. I didn’t see the scenes that they shot at, you know, like Julie’s apartment and that kind of stuff. So it’s very new to me and I find myself enjoying it like an audience member.
YANG: MY SORT OF TAKE ON THIS PANEL THAT WE’RE GOING TO BE DOING IS AS A STANDUP COMEDIAN AND A WRITER, I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROCESS. I MEAN, HONESTLY, ONLY A HANDFUL OF STAND UP COMICS HAVE A CHANCE TO REALLY CREATE THEIR OWN TV SHOW. THERE’S ONLY A SELECT FEW. I’M SURE IT’S A LEARNING PROCESS BECAUSE THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME CREATING YOUR OWN VEHICLE. THAT’S WHAT I’M CURIOUS ABOUT. HOW MANY IN THE AUDIENCE ARE WRITERS OR FILMMAKERS? OKAY, GREAT. HOPEFULLY, THIS KIND OF INSIDER BASEBALL-ISH KIND OF QUESTIONING MAYBE, IT COULD BE HELPFUL. I HAVE A LOT OF QUESTIONS, BUT WHY DON’T WE FIRST TALK ABOUT THE EPISODE THAT WE JUST WATCHED. NUMBER ONE. CAN I JUST TELL YOU, WHEN I SAW THE HUMBUG, I FREAKING FREAKED OUT. THIS IS PROBABLY THE FIRST TIME THAT WE’VE EVER SEEN ON NETWORK TELEVISION KOREAN CROSS DRESSING. THERE’S SO MANY. ALSO, I’D LIKE TO ADDRESS OTHER FIRSTS. IN THIS EPISODE PROBABLY PER MINUTE, THE MOST WORDS SAID OF KOREAN OVER AND OVER AGAIN ON NETWORK TELEVISION KOREAN. KOREAN WORDS BEING REPEATED JUST BRINGS ATTENTION TO THE CULTURE.
JEONG: As a fledgling writer myself you write what you know. You write your truth. In real life, my real life my wife is Vietnamese and I’m Korean. So these are issues that was based on real life. Basically a real life issue between me and my wife is I have twin daughters they’re eight years old. They were learning when they were two they could count to 20 in Vietnamese. I was just totally lazy in teaching them Korean. But this was amplified, I wasn’t jealous of my wife. I wasn’t resentful of my wife, but I was, I was definitely jealous that she was just so much better at it than me.
Tran, my real life wife would also overextend and she’d be like let’s go to Korea Town. She bought a Korean book. In real life it was definitely a sweeter happening than this. When you prepare for a, a TV show, you have eight to ten weeks of pre production. Where it’s just all the writers in the room just going over story ideas. It’s difficult, really hard, and really fun to me in many ways. As a producer it’s even more fun, because you’re creating this from scratch. We just went around the room. But mostly me because I wanted to show it was more than just a cultural show. It was a cultural show reflecting my life. It was reflecting my life and the multicultural house that I truly have. We’ve had for the last 12 years of marriage. I wanted a show, to reflect that. Then one by one, the writers are like, hey, let’s just make this a thanksgiving episode. I think it was actually our show runner that said we could merge your story about Korean and Vietnamese conflict into a thanksgiving cultural conflict. Also, incorporate Suzy’s real life ethnicity which is Japanese.
Then actually what was beautiful about it, in the genesis of it was, you know, it became less my life and more Suzy’s life. Maybe her parents are not first generation. I define myself as a second generation and others different language. I was born in Michigan and United States. So I think that some people say first generation or second generation, but I was the first one of my generation born in the United States. So I wanted to stay true to that. Talking to Suzy and knowing there’s layers and layers of generation. I feel like we also wanted it to be just subtle, but we didn’t really want it to make a big deal out of it. But showing that there’s not only multicultural but also multiple generations of Asians in a subtle way.
YANG: I GREW UP IN TORRANCE, I DON’T KNOW IF ANY OF YOU KNOW ABOUT TORRANCE, BUT THERE’S A LOT OF JAPANESE AMERICANS. THAT WAS TO ME PERCEIVE AS THEY’RE LIKE THE MOST AMERICANIZED OF ALL THE ASIANS THAT I KNEW. BUT WHAT’S REALLY INTERESTING IS THAT IN THIS EPISODE IT PORTRAYED THE DIFFERENT WAYS THAT SORT OF WE RETAIN OR TRIED TO EXPLORE CULTURE. ON THE ONE HAND YOUR CHARACTER WASN’T AS REALLY INTO THE KOREAN BUT YOUR FATHER IS AN IMMIGRANT. THEN ON YOUR SIDE IT SOUNDED LIKE THE PARENTS THAT I KNEW OF THAT WERE JAPANESE AMERICANS. NO ACCENT, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN?
NAKAMURA: There’s a difference between the second generation and third generation, not just in the Asian communities. In any community, there’s a big jump between the children of the immigrant families and then their children. I felt we displayed the typicalness of that difference without underlining it or having to explain it. That’s just the kind of the way I grew up. I knew a lot of the kids that I knew their parents were immigrants from either Mexico, Puerto Rico, or the Philippines. I even had Polish friends. I grew up in Chicago, you know, a lot of Polish and Irish. You went to their houses and there was always different food and they spoke a different language and that kind of stuff. But a lot of people, you know, don’t have that experience. But in my experience, that’s typical. I love that we got to sort of explore that a little bit in this episode.
JEONG: I was very hands on, with some episodes as of lately I’ve been very busy from wearing many different hats. Sometimes I’m more into the editing than the video. This one was was kind of like the pilot. I was involved in every aspect of this. My mantra to the writers, we were just trying to go for jokes that haven’t typically been done. Even in my own stand up or even in my own, my own comedic life. I just kept telling everybody like, mimic real life conversation. I would ask my wife like, okay, what are some real life conflicts? How do we address culture? I just did not want it to feel fake or phony. Especially anything that Ken is in. He really is just insecure that Alison is doing a better job as a mother. Not just culturally, but just in general. She was, and it was, I know it was actually, it was small rewrite of the line where I think Alison was supposed to apologize. I don’t think Allison did anything wrong in this episode, so why should she even apologize? They were just like, while we’re filming it and you know, it cause in the script I was like, oh, there’s a mutual apology we make up and blah blah blah life goes on.
But I suggested we just follow the cadence of an apology and not actually have her apologize. Mike used that and was like, okay, yeah, that’s it. Well, it’s the cadence. Oh no, I’m just apologizing to speed it up so you can hurry up. I think that’s what people do. It’s what you do in marriage at times, you know, to resolve conflict like these little glimpses.
YANG: I JUST WANT TO ASK YOU, BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHEN, WHEN IT COMES TO A MULTICAM, RIGHT? WHERE IT’S SORT OF A FOURTH WALL, THERE’S AN AUDIENCE AND IT’S 22 MINUTES. IT’S SUCH A HEIGHTENED REALITY OF LIFE. WHAT HAS IT BEEN? HAVE YOU EVOLVED IN HOW YOU DECIDE WHAT ARE THE SORT OF JOKES OR TAKES THAT YOU KEEP? YOU KNOW, WHAT IS YOUR SORT GUIDELINE OR RUBRIC FOR THINKING ABOUT HOW YOU EDIT THAT?
JEONG: So my whole life has been, my whole career has been like more movies and community with single camera for, for like six years. And so for me I’ve been learning as I go along, but my attitude was to, you know, funniest, funny and you want it. I’m learning new parameters and I’m still learning to be honest. I don’t think I fully have gone down in terms of the multi camera, but the showrunner Mike , which has, he’s been under every great shows since we’ve been friends. He was one of the main original writers of Friends. So, he really knows that landscape so well and we’ve become very close collaborators. So he’s helped kind of take my vision that is mostly single camera and cinematic. So it’s, it’s definitely been a partnership in that way, but we’re both benefiting a lot.
Obviously I’ve benefited so much from his wisdom and his knowledge, but he benefits from me because it’s a bit of a fresh take on things and I’m always looking to do something new and do something just a different take, even for an Asian American show. Where community was a multicultural show that didn’t make a big deal out of that. No one thinks about that, but at its height in second and third year, there were more minorities on their show with the main cast then there were Caucasian. So you had Danny Pudi, Yvette, Nicole Brown, Donald Glover, Donald Glover, you had myself. So there were four out of like six or seven that were in the main cast. I loved how the creator and show runner, Dan Harmon had really not made a big deal.
NAKAMURA: When you write a pilot, you, it hasn’t been created yet. You’ve created these characters from nothing and then you know, and then all of a sudden you do it. And for the actors as well, you know, we’ve just been introduced to the characters were playing. But once the writer’s meet the actors and they start to see what we can do and who our characters are, and when they characters become more clear, then they can start writing jokes, character jokes. As opposed to joke jokes, you know, with like a setup and a payoff, the character can say something and you know, hopefully the audience knows this person well enough to understand, you know, where it’s coming from. You can get the laughs from the characters as well.
But our ultimate gauge really is the audience. The fact that we do it in front of a live audience. , you can write whatever you want on the page, but until you do it in front of someone, that’s the ultimate, litmus test of whether it’s working or not working. And we have such an amazing group of writers that are on the floor with us while we’re shooting so they can tweak things and change things based on what the audience is doing at that moment. That’s the great thing about Multicam is you had that audience there. I mean, you know from community when you shoot single camera it’s you’re just shooting in front of the crew.
JEONG: I mean sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad because you don’t know if the jokes are landing or not. And then if you’re in post on a single camera show and if that joke isn’t landing in the Edit Bay, then you’re kind of freaked. You don’t know. At least you know in a multi camera whether that joke has been vetted so many times. So in many ways it’s editing itself while while we’re producing it. We film on a Tuesday, we’ve had three full days of rehearsal, just like the episode that we’re doing right now. We’re just going over the jokes, right? Are the jokes landing? Are they true to the characters? Are they innocent and everyday changes, like significantly these scripts and then and Monday and even while we’re shooting it on Monday we’ll do some pre shoots and that’s going to change because I think that will happen.
We haven’t gotten it right. Then on Tuesday in front of the audience, hopefully we’ve gotten a right but a lot of times we don’t. Then we’ll be changing on spot. We know that the script is like a newspaper. It just changes from day to day. That’s kind of Suzy’s point about in terms of end. To answer your question, in the eight week pre production process, we interviewed every actor. Every actor came in the writer’s room where we had lunch with all the actors and got to know them better. If all the actors knew this, we devoted a single day in our first week, we devoted a single day to Alison, a single day to Albert’s character. Like 10 hours, just discussing nothing but that character and addressing anything from the pilot that we thought didn’t work well, it worked.
There’s stuff in this pilot that didn’t work at all. How do we improve that? Even if we got the psychosis credit. I subscribed to that too, we weren’t just happy getting a series on the air. We wanted to make it good. We want to make it better. We knew that the pilot, in my opinion, you know, I helped write it, so I’m blaming myself. So it had its problems and it wasn’t great. Then you have, like you said, you’re really riding in a vacu and you have no leverage while you’re writing a pilot. You’re really writing, it’s like an industrial video writing to sell something. And it’s a completely different process of a pilot.
When you’re doing a series episode, when then you really get to, this is what I wanted the show to be about. Talking to Suzy, getting to spend time with all the actors. When we started filming the show, they were like, oh, this is what this is like. Ken doesn’t do this very well. Like maybe we avoid those. We’ll write to that. This is what Albert does really well.
YANG: WHAT DOES KEN DO WELL AND NOT DO WELL?
JEONG: I do a whole a lot of things not well. They cover me up real nice, you know, but they cover up all my flaws. There are many as an actor. What’s great now actually as it shows were able to watch the shows and see, oh, this episode work or this episode could have been better in some spots. So it’s really great to have that continuous feedback and to be in production while the show was airing. That’s been actually really valuable to the editing of this episode. I’m know we edited this week and even though I was on hiatus last week and I spent my whole hiatus looking for something to cut. I was really down to the second. I was really in o certain episodes that I really want one want to make a statement about. If I have time I’ll do that.
YANG: BY THE WAY, I FORGOT TO CONGRATULATE YOU ON GETTING THE BACK NINE ORDERED FOR THE FULL SEASON. THANK YOU GUYS. I MEAN THAT’S ANOTHER THING I FORGOT TO SET UP IS THAT, I MEAN ALL THE HEADLINES ESSENTIALLY NAMED DOCTOR KEN AS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL SITCOM OF THE SEASON OR THE COMEDY OF THE SCENE.
JEONG: Well after that’s out of our control. That’s really the thing we only can crank out. But honestly that is just to the goodwill of the fans watching the show. You know, that the chances of getting a full season is so remote. People have to know. The chances of getting a pilot made it’s like a lottery. It’s like the lottery, just to even get a script to pilot. I would say like 80 to 90% of freshman shows don’t get picked up. So to get a full season or even don’t get a full season. I presented the show, you know. I feel like I’m a glass in that in terms of that. In terms of like the public, I’m a glass half full guy where I’m just so grateful to the fans that are really watching. That actually motivates me right now at this point in my career. I just want to keep getting better and better at what I do. And to really please the audience that, really got me here.
YANG: I HAVE A QUESTION FOR SUZY. AS AN ASIAN AMERICAN WOMAN, YOU KNOW, YOU, I’M SURE THERE’S CERTAIN OPPORTUNITIES AND LIMITATIONS TO THE KIND OF ACTS AND ROLES THAT YOU CAN PLAY. HOW HAS IT FELT FOR YOU AS AN ACTOR TO BE IN THIS TYPE OF A SHOW?
NAKAMURA: Well, honestly, I didn’t spend that much time thinking about it only because as an actor, you just go from job to job, to job. You don’t have that much of a choice in what you play because you just need to work. This was it, this was an opportunity to work with Ken, which I wanted to do. When I got it, I was like, great, good. I can pay my rent or whatever, you know, and you don’t think about it. Then I started doing interviews and they were saying like, so what’s it like to be a TV mom in the footsteps of all these other TV moms? And I didn’t really think about it. I don’t know if I can think about it too much cause I don’t want to get too into my head. I feel like right now I’m coming from a place of like, I feel like I know Alison and I love her. I’ve grown to love her and the relationship that she has with Ken. So that’s what I’m kind of focusing on. But I don’t like to put it in the context of like the history of television moms or moms on television because I feel like we’re telling a different kind of story.
JEONG: You don’t want to leave that for history to judge? We’re, actually just trying to do the now and so it’s hard enough to just kind of do what we’re doing right now. So you really can’t fault it. But when you’re talking to your point about the background and the success of Doctor Ken was also due to fresh off the boat. I think that show is the gold standard of Asian sitcoms right now. I mean, they really are, they set the bar so high. I’ve just grown to love everybody on that show, on and off camera; even the producers. I’ve gotten some of their advice too off the record. I think fresh off the boat is in many ways the reason why we’re here right now.
I guarantee you there are other networks and I’m sure other networks are going to want to do what Fresh off the Boat is doing right now because that is doing so well. It’s really impacting us. I’m very proud to say like Albert, next week he’s already a recurring character on a Fresh off the Boat. He’s coming back, going back next week he’s filming another Fresh off the Boat episode. It’s a crossover. That’s already been announced in the entertainment weekly. So we’re doing a little bit of a swap and Ian Chen who plays one of the sons, he’s coming to a Dr. Ken. So it’s really cool and you know, and it’s just the genuine love behind the scenes our shows have for each other. How wonderful that both shows are on the same network. What ABC has done, I mean with Quantico, you have three shows with Asian leads. They’re generating numbers. To me that’s a testament to ABC. It’s the American Broadcasting Company. It’s America, which is minorities. They have How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal. Like really giving minority actors a chance. We, I feel like at ABC, we have the biggest chance to, to succeed. I’m so grateful.
YANG: So speaking of Fresh Off the Boat, I would love to identify something that I’ve noticed is I don’t really see other shows where the jokes that are made are at the expense of white people. I don’t say that as a bad thing. I just find it really interesting that there’s actually an Asian American show that, you know, has a little bit of an edge on that comedy. Cause honestly, I mean this just as a standup comic who, you know, as an Asian American woman on stage for standup comedy, I’m already like weird to people. They’re not used to seeing me. Then most people’s understanding of what it means to be ethnic and onstage is maybe, you know, a lot of black. You don’t have a lot of history of black history in black comedy. Latino maybe, you know, and then Asians. What’s Asian American history, right? So for me in this show, the fact that Dave Foley is like white dude for me. Just ending with that final tag of like when the white man invades is amazing. Where do you hear that? You know what I’m saying? Like I just think it’s an element. Even in Fresh Off the Boat, the way that grandma Wong is right? She speaks in Chinese and she’s always saying the most messed up things about white people and it cracked me up. Because honestly and this is totally just me speaking for myself, that shit’s real. That’s just real. I’m so sorry white people, sometimes our people will say some stuff out of prejudice but I just to me it’s just almost like so different that I get to see that reflected, you know on network television.
JEONG: Yeah, you’re right. Growing up, I never had that. I think growing up African American in, we’ll say in the 70s, right. You had either Good Times, The Jefferson’s, Different strokes maybe or something like that. I’m 46 so as an Asian American, like I don’t remember having that. There wasn’t anything I referenced that was distinctly Asian American. Asian American kids, we’ll have two shows and I know there will be more. I know there will be more there. It’s just how you can feel it. Behind the scenes, you can just feel it.
YANG: So just to me, it just feels like there’s just a little bit more of a freeness to the expression of how we think and how we might feel.
NAKAMURA: Seeing it informs the audience this has been missing, even though they didn’t know why they thought this is a small point.
YANG: BEFORE WE GO TO Q AND A, WHAT DOES YOUR WRITER’S ROOM LOOK LIKE? HOW DID YOU KIND OF ARRIVE AT THE NUMBER AND THE MAKEUP OF THE WRITER’S ROOM? A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THAT, THE PROCESS FOR HOW YOU GUYS GET IT?
JEONG: To me it was really just interviewing honestly the best writers we could possibly find. As you know, as a writer and producer myself, I wanted it for me. I wanted to have as much of a community of people because they knew my voice and style. So to me we were very blessed. Friends of mine who are writers that know my voice, you know, in general. We’re very lucky to have two writers who I’ve worked with for many years. That was really important to me because I think they also get the multicultural aspects of it. But I wanted that kind of tone being pervade.
I had my writing partner I work with all the time, Michael Connolly, he was instrumental in writing the pilot with me. He knows the voice. I’ve known him for 20 years and he knows everything about me, you know, good and bad. So we wanted something like, it really didn’t reflect it. It was even deeper than culture. We do have an Asian American writer Nicolson he’s writing the current episode that we’re filming right now. Molly’s boyfriend episode, which is like, she’s a younger writer and really identifies with Molly. I think she writes, the best Molly episode that we have so far. To me it was really getting the right tone. I’m there all the time like after we do rehearsals and even Friday nights, sleeping.
YANG : ARE YOU SLEEPING KEN?
NAKAMURA : He does not.
YANG: ARE YOU APPLYING YOUR MED SCHOOL STUDY HABITS TOO?
JEONG: I mean, well I never slept in med school. I mean it was one of those things that to me it had to be done just right and so you kind of have to be a bit of a control freak about it. Because it’s just my name on it. Then I got not just the content of the show and the people who work on it. I feel responsible like to provide jobs for. It’s different pressure levels, different sessions. Doing the Hangover movies, it was only the responsibility of myself. I didn’t create those characters didn’t produce, I didn’t write them. It was one thing. My mentality was just keep getting jobs. Right now I don’t have anything else on the back burner. This is all so time consuming that I can’t possibly have anything else on the back burner. Like early yesterday morning I was doing like a promo thing for the show and then have full rehearsal. I was up at 6:00 AM just filming something outside of the show. Then for the show I’m doing rehearsal all day. Then I had to present it to the network, a full like rehearsal in front of the ABC network. They give us their feedback, what they liked, what they didn’t, and then we live tweeted. We did some photo shoot. Yeah, that’s it. Suzy and I did a photo shoot. Then after that I was at the writer’s room until about 11 or midnight last night.
YANG: I WROTE AND PERFORMED IN TWO MINUTE BUZZFEED VIDEOS AND I WAS ALREADY FREAKING OUT, PLUS I’M NOT PROVIDING THE SALARIES FOR BUZZFEED PEOPLE.
JEONG: No, it’s a different thing when you’re in. I do feel responsible for, you know, the 200 people casting crew that work on the show. So it’s a bit, you know, you really just want to work even extra hard for them too.
YANG: ANY OTHER SORT OF THOUGHTS BEFORE WE GO TO Q AND? A?
JEONG: No, I just want to thank you and the city of San Diego. I don’t even know what to say. I did not expect that at all. On behalf of Dr. Ken we’re all very moved. I’m so, so grateful for Suzy to be here. Albert’s probably at some party. I wouldn’t say it’s a playboy mansion because they don’t show nudes but he’s probably there.
AUDIENCE: AS A FILMMAKER FROM KOREA. KEN, IF YOU’D BE INTERESTED ANYTIME WORKING WITH A KOREAN FILMMAKER FOR A KOREAN FILM? WHETHER IT’D BE A DRAMA OR?
JEONG: So me and my writing partner actually did write something where it’s just, it was just a treatment right now of the lake. I don’t want to give away too much because we were still working. It’s something set in Korea and it was little bit more understanding, more dramatic. Similar to Dr. Ken, the guy maybe who’s growing up in America who’s just kind of like the ugly American. Thinking of himself as American. He goes to Korea and realizes where, you know, you’re really from. He goes to Korea really knows what he’s about. I saw that when I was in Korea a few years ago. I was visiting with a lot of production companies. I would love to live in Korea.
AUDIENCE: THE FIRST TIME I DISCOVERED YOU, YOU WERE AT THE APOLLO, WHICH IS A DIFFICULT STAGE. THE WHOLE HIP HOP THING I WAS REALLY SURPRISED TO SEE COMING FROM A DOCTOR COMEDIC. WHERE DID YOU LAND ON THAT? THAT WHOLE HIP HOP THING?
JEONG: It was something like my father. My father actually is a retired economics professor at an all African American college in Greensboro, North Carolina. He made me talk in economics class with him when I was a kid and he would actually work the room like a comedic from the Apollo. He was literally doing crowd work and because my dad had a black Cadillac that he would drive to work. I swear to God he would drive to work and then they’ll be like Dr. Jeong why do you have a black Cadillac? It was so beautiful, I mean he would say all these things. My Dad is amazing.
YANG: I want to hang out with your dad. I was a poli sci major. I used to work in politics. I want to hang out with him when we screen the East coast feed of the episodes. I love that question because you still do the hip hop hands sometimes. Just, you know, I see it. I grew up with hip hop.
AUDIENCE: IS THERE ANY TRUTH THAT DAVE FOLEY WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR BETTY WHITE HITTING ON YOU GUYS ON THE SET OF HOT IN CLEVELAND?
JEONG: Now, to your point, one of the main reasons why I wanted to work with day Foley because I worked with Dave Foley and Albert Tsai on a live episode of hot in Cleveland last year. And it was one of my favorite things ever, was in front of an audience, it was taped and filmed, live and broadcast to everybody. We were already friends, but I really got to know him a lot better. I was like, I got to work with him again. I saw Albert on trophy wife. I was a huge fan, but I got to work with him on this Hot in Cleveland episode. It was because of hot in Cleveland that I booked a third of the cast of Dr. Ken. No comment about getting hit on by Betty White.
AUDIENCE: HOW DOES YOUR FAMILY FEEL? BECAUSE I WENT TO FILM SCHOOL AND MY FAMILY WAS ALL AGAINST IT BECAUSE IT WASN’T A LAWYER OR A DOCTOR. YOU’RE A DOCTOR, BUT YOU’RE GOING BACKWARDS DOING IT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA. SO I’M WONDERING HOW YOUR FAMILY APPRECIATES THAT. THAT’S ALSO FOR SUZY.
NAKAMURA: What’s up? What’s up bro? Wow. We just, you know what, I thought my parents were against it for many years. But truth is they were just worried about me. They’re worried about how am and how I’m going to retire? How am I going to have health insurance and that kind of stuff. But honestly they did support whatever I wanted to do. They didn’t want to worry about me. My backup is retail though. His backup is a medical doctor to like show off. I mean, as long as you can like feed yourself and behave. I think most parents would be cool about it. They don’t want to stop you there. They’re just worried about you.
JEONG: Yeah, to Suzy’s point, my parents were just petrified because he didn’t know that. My Dad was always like, I know and my mom too is I know you have the talent, but I don’t know if you could succeed in it because it’s not a fair business. There isn’t an NRC rate of minority actor? Who knows that the opportunities you’re going to have and not going to be many. But I do remember my wife after I filmed, knocked up, long story short, my wife encouraged me to do this full time. She’s a doctor and she’s been very supportive. If it wasn’t for Tran, I wouldn’t be here right now. When my, my dad found out, when we told my parents, I was just like well Tran insisted that I do this full time. My dad was like, you got to have the support of your family when you make an important decision. Tran is now your family, so you have my support. So that’s where, because of the support of Tran it really just galvanized my career.
AUDIENCE: A LITTLE BIT OF PERSONAL QUESTION. THE GENTLEMAN JUST SUGGESTED GOING BACKWARDS, SORT OF FROM MEDICINE TO ACTING. TO ME IT’S ALMOST THE OPPOSITE. YOU KNOW, I, I VIEW YOU AS A HERO IN A WAY. WE WERE BOTH BORN IN THE MIDWEST AND YOU TOOK WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE GIVEN, I GUESS, AND TURN IT INTO SOMETHING PERSONAL IN SOMETHING. TO ME, YOU’RE A HERO AND I JUST WANTED TO KNOW IF YOU GOT THAT FROM OTHERS OR IS IT JUST ME?
JEONG: Oh, you’re too kind. I love the you. I just think of myself as very, very lucky I’m blessed with the best wife and the best family in the world also the best cast. It takes a village and, and it’s just, it’s so hard. It’s so stressful and, and it’s just, you just got, I’m just very, very lucky. I do along the way in entertainment at least, I always try to tell myself, you did Dr. Ken. I remember after we did the pilot, it was before we found out about the ratings. I was just like, Oh, you know what?
No one can take away. I did the pilot. No one can take that. I mean, I’m always the glass half full guy. Even if it all ended right now. But you know what, no one can take away with that. No one can take away Thanksgiving Day. I mean, to me, I’m just trying to kind of celebrate the present as much as possible, rather than, than, than think too much about it. But thank you for your kind words and it just motivates me to work even harder and be even better.