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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Forget Oscar

Find Your Spirit Animal

The Spirit Awards are LIVE this Saturday at 2p PT/5p ET.

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In just a few precious days, the greatest, most epic, most star-studded awards ceremony of the year comes to IFC.

And please, we’re definitely not talking about the Oscars. We’re talking about the Spirit Awards. Hosted by iconic comedy duo Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, it’s a relatively under-the-radar awards show with serious cred. And if the past is any indicator, we’re in for a wild night.

If you feel like doing your homework, you can find a full list of nominees and performance excerpts here. It reads like a who’s who of everyone that matters – those larger-than-life personalities with status that borders on mythological. Our celebrity spirit animals, if you will.

This isn’t hyperbole. Literally everyone who takes the stage at the awards show is spirit animal material. Let’s see if we can help you find yours…

Do you

Live in someone else’s shadow despite shining like the sun? Do you inexplicably vandalize your pretty-boy good looks with a sloppy-joe man bun and a repellent pubic-hair beard? Do you think sounding stoned and sounding thoughtful are kinda the same thing?

Congratulations, your spirit animal is Casey Affleck.

He’s the self-canonized patron saint of anyone who’s got the goods but doesn’t give a damn.

Do you

Have mid-length hair and exude a certain feminine masculinity that is universally appealing? Are you drawn to situations that promise little to nothing in the way of grooming or hygiene as a transparently self-conscious attempt to conceal your radiant inner glow? Does that fail miserably?

Way to go, your spirit animal is Viggo Mortensen.

He’s the yoga teacher of actors, in that what should make him super nasty only increases his curb appeal.

Do you

Get zero recognition for work that everyone knows is unrivaled? Do you inspire greatness in others yet get shortchanged when it comes to your own acclaim? Are you a goddam B-52 bomber in an industry of biplanes?

Bingo, your spirit animal is Annette Bening.

What does it take for this artist to win an Oscar? Honestly now, if her performance in 20th Century Women doesn’t earn her every award on the planet, consider it proof that the Universe truly is a cold dark void absent of reason or compassion.

Do you

Walk into a room full of strangers and walk out with a room full of friends? Have you been hiding under the radar just waiting for the right moment to leap out into the spotlight and stay there FOREVER? Do you possess the almost messianic ability to elevate Shia LaBeouf’s on-screen charisma?

You guessed it (or not), your spirit animal is 100% Sasha Lane.

If you haven’t seen American Honey, then you haven’t heard of her. She came out of the blue with a performance both subtle and powerful, and now she’s going to be in all the movies from this moment on. Or she should be, at any rate.

Don’t see your spirit animal there? Worry not. There are many more nominees to choose from, and you can see them all (yes, including Shia LaBeouf) during the Independent Spirit Awards, this Saturday at 2pm PT/5pm ET only on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia Keeps Road Rage In Park

Get a lesson in parking etiquette on a new Portlandia.

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It’s the most American form of cause and effect: Park like a monster, receive a passive-aggressive note.

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This unofficial rule of the road is critical to keeping the great big wheel of car-related Karma in balance. And naturally, Portlandia’s Kath and Dave have elevated it to an awkward, awkward art form in Car Notes, the Portlandia web series presented by Subaru.

If you’ve somehow missed the memo about Car Notes until now, you can catch up on every installment online, on the IFC app, and on demand. You can even have a little taste right here:

If your interest is piqued – great news for you! A special Car Notes sketch makes an appearance in the latest episode of Portlandia, and you can catch up on it now right here.

Watch all-new Portlandia Thursdays at 10P on IFC.

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Naked and Hungry

Two New Ways to Threeway

IFC's Comedy Crib gets sensual in time for Valentine's Day.

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This week, two scandalous new digital series debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib.
Ménage à Trois invites people to participate in a real-life couple’s fantasy boudoir. And The Filling is Mutual follows two saucy chefs who invite comedians to make food inspired by their routines. Each show crosses some major boundaries in sexy and/or delicious ways, and each are impossible to describe in detail without arousing some awkward physical cravings. Which is why it’s best to hear it directly from the minds behind the madness…

Ménage à Trois

According to Diana Kolsky and Murf Meyer, the two extremely versatile constants in the ever-shifting à trois, “MàT is a sensually psychedelic late night variety show exploring matters of hearts, parts and every goddamn thing in between…PS, any nudes will be 100% tasteful.”

This sexy brainchild includes sketches, music, and props that would put Pee-wee’s Playhouse to shame. But how could this fantastical new twist on the vanilla-sex variety show format have come to be?

“We met in a UCB improv class taught by Chris Gethard. It was clear that we both humped to the beat of our own drum; our souls and tongues intermingled at the bar after class, so we dove in head first.”

Sign me up, but promise to go slow. This tricycle is going to need training wheels.

The Filling is Mutual

Comedians Jen Saunderson and Jenny Zigrino became best friends after meeting in the restroom at the Gotham Comedy Club, which explains their super-comfortable dynamic when cooking with their favorite comedians. “We talk about comedy, sex, menses, the obnoxiousness of Christina Aguilera all while eating food that most would push off their New Year’s resolution.”

The hook of cooking food based off of comedy routines is so perfect and so personal. It made us wonder about what dishes Jen & Jenny would pair with some big name comedy staples, like…

Bill Murray?
“Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to… Oh, that’s easy Meatballs with Lingonberry Space Jam it’d be great, but then we’d have to avoid doing any kind of silly Groundhog Day reference.” 

Bridget Everett?
“Cream Balls… Sea Salt encrusted Chocolate Ganache Covered Ice Cream Ball that melt cream when you bite into them.” 

Nick Kroll & John Mulaney? 
“I’d make George and Gil black and white cookies from scratch and just as we open the oven to put the cookie in we’d prank ’em with an obnoxious amount of tuna!!!”

Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen? 
“Definitely a raw cacao “safe word” brownie. Cacao!”

Just perfect.

See both new series in their entirety on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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