‘Dr. Ken’ Star Ken Jeong Admits He Can’t Escape His Past Medical Career (Exclusive Video)

Fall TV Preview: “You actually have to have skills to be a doctor,” physician-turned-actor tells TheWrap

A version of this story about Ken Jeong first appeared in the print edition of TheWrap Magazine’s Fall TV Issue.

He’s a doctor and he plays one on TV, and sometimes that gets confusing.

“I had a bit of a serious scene with a patient, just a couple of lines of dialogue, and I definitely went into the doctor mode from when I used to practice,” said physician-turned-comic Ken Jeong, the star and executive producer of the ABC series “Dr. Ken.”

“And one of the new writers was like, ‘Wow, that was such a tonal shift.’”

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He shrugged. “It’s fun to do, and it’s fun to watch.”

But when a member of the cast or crew has a stomachache, does he shift into his medical mode then, too?

“No, there’s a medic for that, all right?” he snapped, suddenly all peevish. “I’m an EP, OK? I don’t have to be a medic to the lowers.”

Then he broke into a laugh.

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“I’m kidding. Actually, it’s funny that you say that — because on virtually every set I’ve done, I’ve helped out crew and cast members with various ailments. Like, [“Dr. Ken” co-star] Dave Foley had a cold last year, or a sinus infection, and I gave him advice on what to do. Oddly enough, I’m always tracking  various ailments, running my own little clinic there.”

The show that Jeong, 47, helps run is now going into its second season, which he said comes with its own priorities.

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“I think the main one is to keep the show a little bit more real and more grounded,” he said. “It really is all on me to have it reflect more of a medical and family life even more. We mined a lot of my personal life in the first season, and in many ways we’re fictionalizing the universe in the second season. The challenge is to take this fictional universe and make it grounded as if it is my own real life.”

One more medical question: Is it harder to play a doctor, or be a doctor?

“It’s much harder to be a doctor,” he said, laughing. “You actually have to have skills to be a doctor.”

The second season of “Dr. Ken” debuts Sept. 23 on ABC.

See more of TheWrap Magazine’s Fall TV Issue: