Comedian Ken Jeong came to TCA to talk about his new ABC comedy series Dr. Ken, but he was faced to answer the obvious elephant in the room: What’s the state of Community, particularly after Joel McHale’s statements in the press saying it’s over; that the cast’s six-year contracts had expired. Yahoo, which currently streams the series that was axed by NBC in May 2014, was forced to issue a statement today.
“As it is with that show, I’m completely in the dark,” said Jeong. Nonetheless, he hinted that better prospects might lie ahead. “I would love to do a movie. Doing a movie would be amazing. Those guys on Community made me the actor that I am today. I wouldn’t be here as a lead on my own show.”
On October 2 at 8:30 PM, Korean American stand-up comedian Jeong debuts his family-workplace comedy series Dr. Ken. The show arrives 21 years after Margaret Cho’s All-American Girl aired. While ABC of late has pulled solid reviews and ratings for Fresh Off The Boat, All-American Girl misfired, rubbing critics and Asian-American audiences the wrong way. Cho would go on to detail the behind-the-scenes horrors from the show, from executives criticizing her weight to producers hiring a coach for her to be more Asian.
Jeong didn’t seem to be fazed by ABC’s previous mishap with All American Girl, a series which arguably didn’t incorporate Cho’s comedy. In all fairness, it was a completely different group of executives running ABC at the time. Jeong said that his ABC series, which is loosely based on his life as an HMO general practitioner, “is an ensemble show. Everything I’ve done from Community to The Hangover is ensemble driven.” His take is that the workplace and home backdrop of the show is universal in its reach. “The writing is by Mike Sikowiz and the emphasis is on the cast, it’s not really me. I’m more the building block of this specific universe…The writers’ room and production, it’s really important that they get my specific sensibility. I’m paying attention with a fine tuned comb” said Jeong.
Co-star Suzy Nakamura further separated Dr. Ken from All-American Girl: “20 years ago, Margaret didn’t receive good creative input (on her show). We have an unprecedented amount of good creative input.”