How Ken Jeong Went From Doctor To ‘Hangover’ Villain Mr. Chow

MTV Movie Award winner developed love for stand-up comedy during his medical residency.

With Aziz Ansari hosting and lively personalities like Zach Galifianakis and Les Grossman attending, it was obvious that the 2010 MTV Movie Awards were going to be side-splitting and outrageous (which they were). But perhaps the biggest surprise of Sunday night’s show was that it had moments that were so emotional and heartfelt. Sandra Bullock’s eagerly anticipated appearance to accept the MTV Generation Award was certainly honest and moving, but who could have guessed that the night’s best tears would come from “The Hangover” star and Best WTF Moment winner Ken Jeong ?

During his acceptance speech , Jeong talked warmly about “The Hangover” director Todd Phillips and co-star Bradley Cooper and the emotional support they provided him while his wife, Tran, dealt with breast cancer during the filming of the movie. “The reason why I [appeared in 'The Hangover'] is that [my wife] taught me that life is short, so don’t be afraid to take chances,” he told the crowd at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles while trying to hold back tears. The chance he took was appearing mostly nude in his key scene in “The Hangover,” a bit of business that was his own idea.

Jeong’s road to Hollywood didn’t follow the straightest of lines. He is sometimes referred to as “Dr. Ken,” and that’s not just a fun nickname or a reference to his character in “Knocked Up.” Jeong is actually a physician. He received a medical degree from the University of North Carolina and was a medical resident at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans. But along the way, he developed a love — and a talent — for stand-up comedy.

After winning a local comedy competition, Jeong moved to Los Angeles to further his stand-up career. His ability to improvise lead to a number of appearances on top-shelf comedy television series, including “The Office,” “Entourage” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” But his career really took off after Judd Apatow cast him in “Knocked Up” as Dr. Kuni, Katherine Heigl’s cigarette-obsessed physician.

Once he was embraced by Hollywood’s comedy elite, the roles just kept coming. Jeong scored scene-stealing parts in “Pineapple Express,” “Role Models,” “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard” and his now award-winning turn as the oft-naked Mr. Chow in “The Hangover.”

“There are people who I don’t know [who don't] even make eye contact with my face,” href="http://www.mtv.com/videos/movies/524748/ken-jeong-has-a-hangover-ha
ng-up.jhtml#id=1640594">Jeong told MTV News’ Jim Cantiello regarding his bold nude turn in the film. “They’re always like, ‘Ha ha ha ha ha!’ ” he said while pointing at his crotch.

In addition to his MTV Movie Awards win, there’s plenty of other good news for Jeong. His wife (who is also a doctor) has been cancer-free for two years. And Jeong has a handful of films rolling out over the next year, including “Despicable Me,” “Transformers 3″ and “The Zookeeper.” He also has a recurring role as Señor Chang on the NBC sitcom “Community.” Most people are either just doctors or famous comedians, but Jeong managed to swing both.

What’s your favorite Ken Jeong role? Let us know in the comments?

Relive the wildest, funniest and most-jaw-dropping moments of the 2010 MTV Movie Awards, watch revealing red-carpet interviews and get exclusive movie clips after the show at MovieAwards.MTV.com.