Ken Jeong Delivered His Funniest Performance To Save His Wife

Ken Jeong took the part of Mr. Chow in The Hangover to help his wife cope with her bout with cancer.

By Douglas Helm | Published

Ken Jeong as Mr. Chow in The Hangover

Ken Jeong’s performance as Mr. Chow is definitely one of the funniest parts of the 2009 comedy The Hangover, but he almost didn’t take the role. At the time, Jeong’s wife Tran had been diagnosed with cancer, and he was thinking of turning down the opportunity. However, his wife suggested that the role could be therapeutic for him and he ultimately decided to take it to get some anger out and make his wife laugh.

Thankfully, Tran Jeong has been cancer free for years now, despite facing an aggressive stage III case of breast cancer. Ken Jeong would go on to star in more movies in The Hangover franchise and continue to provide us with one of his funniest characters. While those years were undoubtedly a tough time for the Jeong family, it’s a relief that everything ended up turning out alright.

Ken Jeong’s story of taking his role in The Hangover and his wife’s battle with cancer is just one of many short stories that now see on the Redglass Pictures website. Redglass Pictures teamed up with PBS and documentarian Ken Burns to bring these short stories about cancer to light. If you want to view more of them, you can watch The Story of Cancer here.

Although Ken Jeong was a reliable character actor before The Hangover, the 2009 comedy was something of a breakout role for him. In addition to earning him roles in future movies for the franchise, Jeong also got more prominent roles in TV and film. Most notably, Jeong had a major supporting role in the long-running comedy Community as Ben Chang.

Ken Jeong with the gang in The Hangover 2 (2011)

Shortly after Community ended, Ken Jeong got to lead his own show called Dr. Ken, which ran for two seasons. Jeong’s next project that will be coming out in 2023 is the animated Paramount+ Original Adventures in Wonderland. Jeong also had two big projects on the way where he’ll play the lead role.

While Ken Jeong is known primarily for his comedic roles like The Hangover, he’ll get a chance to flex his dramatic chops in the upcoming film The Great Divide. The Great Divide explores the anti-Asian racism that intensified in America during the COVID-19 pandemic and follows a Korean American family that moves to Wyoming during the pandemic. The film is directed by Jean Shim with a screenplay by Shim, Jeff Yang, and Martina Nagel.

The film will star Emerson Min, Ken Jeong, Jae Suh Park, MeeWha Alana Lee, Miya Cech, West Muholland, Seamus Dever, Marshall Allman, and Jamie McShane. Although the film doesn’t have a release date yet, it did wrap up principal photography in October. Hopefully, we’ll find out more about the release date soon.

Ken Jeong will also return to his The Hangover comedy roots as the lead for a CBS comedy called The Emperor of Malibu, where he’ll play a Chinese tech billionaire who moves his family to LA. The series is created by Crazy Rich Asians writer Kevin Kwan. You can also see Jeong as a panelist on The Masked Singer, which premieres its ninth season on February 15.