So far, Renaissance man Ken Jeong is the only licensed physician to ever receive several MTV movie awards. Best known for his high-strung performances in The Hangover trilogy, Crazy Rich Asians, and Community, Jeong has been blending comedy and medicine his entire adult life. A doctor by training, he started his medicine practice in New Orleans. At night, Jeong would trade out his scrubs for an open mic, where he developed his comedy and cult-like following in the stand-up circuit.
In 1997, he made his screen debut with the role of a doctor in the television series The Big Easy. During the first decade of his acting career, Jeong remained a physician. It was after his first major break in 2007 with the film Knocked Up that he started taking acting seriously. After appearing in several television shows and films, Jeong became part of comedy film history with his iconic role of 'Mr. Chow' in The Hangover, the highest grossing R-rated comedy in history. Since his rise in Hollywood, Jeong has participated in several national and global marketing campaigns for Adidas and the American Heart Association, as well as hosting the 2011 Billboard Music Awards on ABC.
Jeong's unconventional path to stardom began at Duke University when he took an introductory acting course his sophomore year. Until then, Jeong had been following the pre-med curriculum and never considered acting as a viable option. Still, he was "bitten by the acting bug" and performed in several plays while a student at Duke. In fact, he loved the stage so much that he briefly considered abandoning his pre-med coursework so that he could major in drama, but ultimately decided against it. In 1990, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from Duke.
Since those early days, Jeong has not been shy about his loyalty towards Duke. During the run of his TV show Dr. Ken (2015-2017), Jeong made it a point to have his character occasionally wear those royal blue Duke T-shirts. In addition, after becoming a verified celebrity, he's returned to his alma mater several times in order to watch Duke's basketball team fight it out with rival Carolina.
But it was in 2020 when Jeong was slated for his biggest honor at Duke when he was supposed to be that year's commencement speaker, in addition to receiving an honorary degree from Duke during the ceremony. Unfortunately, the ceremony was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Jeong still participated in the school's virtual Marking the Moment ceremony. Speaking with a school newspaper later, Jeong expressed the importance that his alma mater has had on his career.
"If I can give anybody advice, especially at Duke University which is near and dear to my heart and what shaped me to become the person I am today, I am living proof of not denying your potential. Never sell yourself short."