After the smart-aleck sitcom Community and the outrageous Hangover movies, the rude and raging comedian is returning to standup
Rage, mania and disinhibition are the common factors in Ken Jeong’s comedy. That’s whether he’s springing naked from the boot of a car in The Hangover and landing crotch-first on Bradley Cooper’s mouth like the face-hugger in Alien. Or stalking the stage at the start of his new Netflix special, making slow-motion masturbatory hand gestures, his fingers miming the spray of ejaculate in his fans’ faces. Far from being offended, the crowd squeals delightedly, recognising it as the trademark of Mr Chow, the camp, motormouthed gangster played by Jeong in all three Hangover movies, which cemented his move from physician to jobbing comic to film phenomenon and ensured that, should he so choose, he could leave behind the standup circuit for ever.
And yet here he is, back on the road again after a decade of film and television success, and heading to London for his first UK date a few weeks shy of his 50th birthday. “I never, ever want to quit standup,” he tells me from his home in Los Angeles, his default tone one of grave and emphatic humility. “Standup has become a deeply personal journey for me, and I’m very grateful to have the career I do.”