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Ken Jeong talks stunts, breaking tropes and the evolution of Mr. Chow in “The Hangover 3”

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Mr. Chow is back and badder than ever in the third and allegedly final installment of “The Hangover” trilogy — which forgoes the formula of the first two (retracing the Wolf Pack’s steps after a forgotten night to retrieve a lost friend) and puts Phil, Stu, and Alan in the middle of a heist. First order of business is to steal their one-time nemesis/sometime friend, Mr. Chow, “the driving force of the third movie,” which meant Ken Jeong had to do some dizzying action sequences this time around.

“I’m definitely becoming an actor who will show that he will commit to the fullest,” Jeong told IFC. “When actors talk about taking themselves out of their comfort zones to do a part, that was me, because I was doing that with regularity.”

Jeong’s biggest risk in the first “Hangover” was popping out of the truck nude — his idea, by the way. (Director Todd Phillips made him sign a nudity waiver in case he changed his mind). But for “The Hangover III,” he had to do a 30-foot freefall for one scene during a prison break, and then for another scene, he had to simulate parasailing over Las Vegas, which required him to be suspended 40 feet in the air. Both scenes meant he had to conquer a “massive” fear of heights. “It’s not like I could be sitting in a Lazy-Boy recliner yelling ‘I love cocaine’ in front of a green screen,” he laughed. “I had to sell it. And I’m the kind of guy who would cry on roller coasters and Ferris wheels.”

Jeong started working with stunt coordinator Jack Gill six weeks before the shoot, heading over to the Warner Bros. lot every Friday after shooting “Community,” to attempt a systematic desensitization of being in a harness at a great height. “We would do five feet, then ten feet, then fifteen feet, then twenty feet,” Jeong recalled. “And then once I was used to being up there, then I would learn to move, and then to move at an accelerated rate. I had to learn to be a daredevil.”

For the prison break, Jeong — who was safety-harnessed — was able to dive repeatedly from a tank “with water falling behind my back” so that Chow could be swept out of a tunnel and fall 30 feet. Gill told him, “Only three people in the biz have attempted what you’ve done: Tom Cruise, Jason Statham, and Queen Latifah.” (“So I’m among royalty!” Jeong laughed). And for Chow’s escape from his Caeser’s Palace penthouse, Jeong did the close-up shots for the Las Vegas parachute jump, but a team of stuntmen helped him do the rest. “I can’t express enough gratitude and respect for what they do,” he said, noting that four jumpers (who actually launched themselves from helicopters) stood in for him during different points of the 1,000 foot run. “Still, I conquered my fear of heights, so that’s a personal triumph for me,” Jeong said.

Stunts aside, Jeong was also happy to develop Chow into a more fleshed-out character, and reveal his vulnerable side. “When you see Chow doing karaoke, he really is a little lonely,” Jeong said. “I could sing that song better, because I sing better, but Todd told me to sing it like Chow.”

But even if “The Hangover” series comes to an end, Jeong holds out hope that he would get to continue to explore Chow in a spinoff (potentially involving Paul Giamatti from the second film). “We could learn his origins, how he became an international criminal. I would love to know that,” Jeong said, explaining that Chow exists as a meta joke about stereotypes.

“In the first movie, when I’m releasing Black Doug, I say, ‘Cachik!’ which means ‘Chicken die!’ in Vietnamese. And I say, ‘Camong!’ which means ‘Thank you’ in Vietnamese,” he said. “Those were ad libs of mine, to make my wife laugh because she’s Vietnamese. But I also wanted to puncture the Asian stereotype of the obligatory Asian lines, so I did these non-sequiturs to make fun of the standard lines. Who better to say that than the guy making fun of the Asian archetype? Playing Chow is puncturing all these tropes on a subversive level, and he’s easily my favorite character that I’ve ever played.”

Compared to his villain/sometimes friend/always an outsider character Chang on “Community,” Jeong said that Chow would eat Chang alive. “Chow is strong,” he noted. “Chow would never live in an air vent. Chow would find the money to buy the school.” He was worried that “Community” was about to be canceled, and had concession tweets ready to go, so he’s “ecstatic” that the show was renewed for another season. “Six seasons and a movie!” he laughed.

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Holiday Extra Special

Make The Holidays ’80s Again

Enjoy the holiday cheer Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Whatever happened to the kind of crazy-yet-cozy holiday specials that blanketed the early winter airwaves of the 1980s? Unceremoniously killed by infectious ’90s jadedness? Slow fade out at the hands of early-onset millennial ennui? Whatever the reason, nixing the tradition was a huge mistake.

A huge mistake that we’re about to fix.

Announcing IFC’s Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special, starring Tony Hale. It’s a celeb-studded extravaganza in the glorious tradition of yesteryear featuring Bridget Everett, Jo Firestone, Nick Thune, Jen Kirkman, house band The Dap-Kings, and many more. And it’s at Joe’s Pub, everyone’s favorite home away from home in the Big Apple.

The yuletide cheer explodes Wednesday December 21 at 10P. But if you were born after 1989 and have no idea what void this spectacular special is going to fill, sample from this vintage selection of holiday hits:

Andy Williams and The NBC Kids Search For Santa

The quintessential holiday special. Get snuggly and turn off your brain. You won’t need it.

A Muppet Family Christmas

The Fraggles. The Muppets. The Sesame Street gang. Fate. The Jim Henson multiverse merges in this warm and fuzzy Holiday gathering.

Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas

To this day a foolproof antidote to holiday cynicism. It’s cheesy, but a good cheese. In this case an Alpine Gruyère.

Star Wars Holiday Special

Okay, busted. This one was released in 1978. Still totally ’80s though. And yes that’s Bea Arthur.

Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special

Pass the eggnog, and make sure it’s loaded. This special is everything you’d expect it to be and much, much more.

Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special premieres Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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It Ain't Over Yet

A Guide to Coping with the End of Comedy Bang! Bang!

Watch the final episodes tonight at 11 and 11:30P on IFC.

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After five seasons and 110 halved-hour episodes, Scott Aukerman’s hipster comedy opus, Comedy Bang! Bang!, has come to an end. Fridays at 11 and 11:30P will never be the same. We know it can be hard for fans to adjust after the series finale of their favorite TV show. That’s why we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide to managing your grief.

Step One: Cry it out

It’s just natural. We’re sad too.
Scott crying GIF

Step Two: Read the CB!B! IMDB Trivia Page

The show is over and it feels like you’ve lost a friend. But how well did you really know this friend? Head over to Comedy Bang! Bang!’s IMDB page to find out some things you may not have known…like that it’s “based on a Civil War battle of the same name” or that “Reggie Watts was actually born with the name Theodore Leopold The Third.”

Step Three: Listen to the podcast

One fascinating piece of CB!B! trivia that you might not learn from IMDB is that there’s a podcast that shares the same name as the TV show. It’s even hosted by Scott Aukerman! It’s not exactly like watching the TV show on a Friday night, but that’s only because each episode is released Monday morning. If you close your eyes, the podcast is just like watching the show with your eyes closed!

Step Four: Watch brand new CB!B! clips?!

The best way to cope with the end of Comedy Bang! Bang! is to completely ignore that it’s over — because it’s not. In an unprecedented move, IFC is opening up the bonus CB!B! content vault. There are four brand new, never-before-seen sketches featuring Scott Aukerman, Kid Cudi, and “Weird Al” Yankovic ready for you to view on the IFC App. There’s also one right here, below this paragraph! Watch all four b-b-bonus clips and feel better.

Binge the entire final season, plus exclusive sketches, right now on the IFC app.

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Everybody Sweats Now

The Four-Day Sweatsgiving Weekend On IFC

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This long holiday weekend is your time to gobble gobble gobble and give heartfelt thanks—thanks for the comfort and forgiveness of sweatpants. Because when it comes right down to it, there’s nothing more wholesome and American than stuffing yourself stupid and spending endless hours in front of the TV in your softest of softests.

So get the sweats, grab the remote and join IFC for four perfect days of entertainment.

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It all starts with a 24-hour T-day marathon of Rocky Horror Picture Show, then continues Friday with an all-day binge of Stan Against Evil.

By Saturday, the couch will have molded to your shape. Which is good, because you’ll be nestled in for back-to-back Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

Finally, come Sunday it’s time to put the sweat back in your sweatpants with The Shining, The Exorcist, The Chronicles of Riddick, Terminator 2, and Blade: Trinity. They totally count as cardio.

As if you need more convincing, here’s Martha Wash and the IFC&C Music Factory to hammer the point home.

The Sweatsgiving Weekend starts Thursday on IFC

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