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'I Can Hear Your Voice': Meet iconic host Dr Ken Jeong who once juggled medical residency and comedy career

A sudden gig at 16 enticed Jeong towards the world of stand-up comedy but his intellectual father DK Jeong didn't give in immediately when he knew about his son's plans for his future
Dr Ken Jeong (Getty Images)
Dr Ken Jeong (Getty Images)

If you are an ardent watcher of 'The Masked Singer', you'd agree that Dr Ken Jeong with his wrong guesses is one of the most entertaining elements of the show. So much so that the UK iteration of the show too enlisted him as a judge, apart from the US version for which he was already on the judges panel. His wild popularity on the US version knew no bounds and ITV were so keen to sign him up that they sent producer Daniel Nettleton to the US to seal the deal, according to the Sun' report. The energetic and showy personality has piqued the interest of a lot of people with everyone wanting to know the man who's responsible for bringing in the maximum laughs with his TV gig. Not many would know that he's referred to as Dr Ken Jeong, not as a joke but because it is as real as it can get.

Born to South Korean ­immigrant parents, Kendrick Kang-joh Jeong said that he was not always a goofy personality. Describing ­himself as a fairly serious child, Jeong revealed that he'd been a “popular nerd” during his growing up years. A sudden gig at the age of 16 enticed Jeong towards the world of stand-up comedy but his fairly intellectual father DK Jeong was a tough cookie to crack and didn't give in immediately when he knew about his son's plans for his future. DK Jeong, now a retired professor of economics, once revealed the following about his deal with his son: “I promised him that if he got into medical school, I would give him the opportunity to develop his hobby and go anywhere in the world to (do so).” A performance at the mock beauty pageant at high school, in which Jeong appeared in Speedos and performed Lionel Richie’s Three Times A Lady, had given Jeong enough confidence and a lot of love for the stand-up life. He agreed to the deal offered by his father and off he went, first to university and then to a medical school in North Carolina, all the while performing in student shows.

It was during his medical residency in New Orleans when he entered in a stand-up competition. Called the 'Big Easy Laff-Off, Jeong was declared the winner of the show that gave him the confidence to make the big move to the glitzy and opportune city of Los Angeles. The move was triggered by his hunger to perform at improvisation nights and he did exactly the same. He worked at a hospital by day and did a stand-up gig by night that paid him $25. Jeong once said: “The ultimate compliment to me from a patient was, ‘I could never imagine a guy like you could do comedy’.” His first gig in Hollywood was in the 2007 comedy film 'Knocked Up' wherein he played doctor. The response he received for the role was enough for Jeong to give up his day job and fully focus on his love for stand-up and comedic acting. Jeong is a noted comedian at present and even though he no longer is a practising doctor and doesn't intend to practise anytime in the near future, he makes sure that he renews his licence every year. In a 2015 interview, he'd said that he does so as a “reminder to keep me grounded”.

Jeong's fun shenanigans has earned him a brand new gig of hosting the new show 'I Can Hear Your Voice' that will start airing tonight, at 9 pm, just after the Season 4 premiere of 'The Masked Singer'.