DID YOU READ

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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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

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IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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