Bobby Lee

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Bobby Lee
Birth name Robert Young Lee Jr.
Born (1971-09-18) September 18, 1971 (age 47)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Medium Stand-up, film, television
Nationality American
Years active 1994–present
Genres Observational comedy, black comedy
Subject(s) Human behavior, human sexuality, American politics, gender differences
Partner(s) Khalyla Kuhn
Relative(s) Brother: Musician and host of The Steebee Weebee podcast, Steve Lee
Notable works and roles Mad TV
Website Official Web site

Robert Young Lee Jr. (born September 18, 1971[A 1]) is an American actor and comedian best known for being a cast member on MADtv from 2001 to 2009 and for his roles in the films Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004), Pineapple Express (2008), and The Dictator (2012).[4] Lee currently co-stars in the ABC single-camera sitcom series Splitting Up Together alongside Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson.

In 2016, Lee and his girlfriend, Khalyla Kuhn, started a weekly podcast titled Tigerbelly, which currently has over 180,000 subscribers on YouTube.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Early life[edit]

Lee was born Robert Lee, Jr. in San Diego, California, the son of Jeanie and Robert Lee.[6][7] The older of two sons, Lee attended Poway High School in Poway, California.[7] He wrestled in high school.[8] At 18, Lee moved out of his parents' home and took jobs in restaurants and coffee shops in the San Diego area,[9] while also attending Palomar College for a brief period.[7]

Addiction and sobriety[edit]

He began taking methamphetamine and marijuana around 12, and went through three drug-rehabilitation attempts, ending his meth abuse around 17. During his period of drug abuse, Lee claims that he not only competed in a wrestling tournament under the influence of methamphetamine and LSD, but won the tournament.[8][10][11] When Bobby started with Mad TV, a producer told him that he wasn't funny and that they wouldn't use him in the show very often. Lee went down a spiral of depression and into drugs, ending 12 years of sobriety.[12] Bobby got sober after MadTV producer Lauren Dombrowski fought for him after he was fired from the show a second time. Lauren Dombrowski died of cancer on October 8, 2008 in Los Angeles when she was 51.[13] On TigerBelly Bobby says that one of the only times he cried was at Dombrowski's funeral.

Career[edit]

In 1994 the coffee shop for which he was working closed. “I just went next door to get a job,” he said, “which was The Comedy Store in San Diego” (also known as the La Jolla Comedy Store).[9] After a few months of working odd jobs at the club he decided to try stand-up during one of their amateur nights.[9] Within a year of doing regular comedy sets he got offers to open for both Pauly Shore and Carlos Mencia.[7][9] Lee also went on to work regularly at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles, a comedy club owned by Pauly Shore's mother Mitzi.[7]

Lee has admitted in several interviews that his parents had hoped he would continue on with the family business and were less than supportive of his comedic pursuits at first.[7][9][14] During a podcast interview conducted by fellow actor and comedian Joe Rogan on February 1, 2011, Lee stated that during the first few years he did stand-up his parents barely spoke to him, however after his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno his father called him, and asked how much he had to pay to be on the show and then apologized for not supporting his comedy career after he found out that in fact the Leno show had asked him to appear.[15] Lee's parents currently live in Phoenix, Arizona.[7][14] Lee is known to have included his family in some of his work: His younger brother has appeared in several non-speaking roles on Mad TV and his entire family has appeared in a sketch on the show.[14] Lee also pitched a sitcom to Comedy Central in 2007 about a Korean family which was to star his very own family.[14]

Mad TV[edit]

In 2001, Lee joined the cast of Mad TV,[9][14] making him the show's only Asian cast member. Lee remained with the cast until the series' cancellation in 2009 and returned briefly when MADtv was revived in 2016 on The CW.[9] Some of Lee's recurring characters included:

TigerBelly Podcast[edit]

TigerBelly
Presentation
Hosted by Bobby Lee
Genre Talk
Format Audio & Video
Created by Bobby Lee & Khalyla Kuhn
Language English
Length 60 - 90 min
Production
Production Bobby Lee
Khalyla
Gilbert Galon
George Kimmel
No. of episodes 162 (as of Oct 5, 2018)
Publication
Original release 2016 – present
Website thetigerbelly.com

TigerBelly is a video podcast that is hosted by Bobby Lee and his girlfriend Khalyla Kuhn, which currently has over 180,000 subscribers on YouTube.[5] Also on camera is the sound engineer Gilbert Galon and behind the scenes producer and frequent on-screen personality George Kimmel. Khalyla became interested in doing podcasts of her own after going on the DVDASA podcast.[16] The show's intro song "Shadow Gook" was written, produced and performed by Bobby Lee.[17] The hosts then go on to discuss events from their lives and news topics from popular culture, often revolving around Asian American issues related to the entertainment industry, adolescence, sexuality, ethnicity, racism and politics. Towards the end of the show, host Gilbert Galon reads listener questions, which are addressed in a segment jokingly referred to as "Unhelpful Advice". Periodically, the end of the show features a segment called "The MMA minute" in which the hosts discuss mixed martial arts and the UFC.

Podcast history[edit]

Bobby and Erik Griffin initially pitched a podcast to All Things Comedy and they were immediately signed but the two could never make the time to meet.[18] Around this time Bobby and Khalyla were visiting family in the Philippines when she came down with serious heart trouble.[19] She spent weeks in hospitals and couldn't return to her nursing job.[19] She needed something to do, to keep busy and so started her own podcast. Bobby came on her show and the chemistry was so good that Bobby decided to drop Griffin and instead focus on podcasts with Khalyla.[19] As Tigerbelly grew Bobby and Khalyla needed more help. Bobby and Khalyla had been having technical issues while trying to do podcasts and needed an engineer to watch the computer so they asked Gilbert to handle the technical side of the podcast. Bobby met Gilbert at a viewing of a Manny Pacquiao fight.[20] Bobby met the future producer of TigerBelly, George Kimmel, before TigerBelly when Bobby was recruited to make Maker Studio shows, where Kimmel was working as a producer.[21] While producing other YouTube shows for Maker Studios George and Bobby became friends and he was asked to join the TigerBelly team. Kimmel came into the TigerBelly family much later but knew he wanted to be part of the show even offering to be Gilbert's assistant.

Tilda Swinton controversy[edit]

In episode 71,[22] guest Margaret Cho recounted an incident that occurred between her and actress Tilda Swinton.[23][24][25] According to Cho, Swinton contacted her via email to discuss the Asian American community's reaction to the news that Swinton had been cast to play the character Ancient One in the movie version of Doctor Strange.[26] In the original comic book, the character is Tibetan. According to Swinton, she contacted Cho in order to better understand why Asian Americans were upset about the casting.[27] On the show, Cho tells Lee and Kuhn that she found the inquiry strange since she didn't know Swinton and had never talked to her before, nor did she have anything to do with the movie or casting.

On December 21, Swinton released the email exchange between her and Cho to the website Jezebel.[28][29][30] In response to the release, Cho stated that she stands by her words both on TigerBelly and in the email exchange.[31][32]

Mencia controversy[edit]

In 2005, comedian Joe Rogan wrote a post on his website publicly accusing Mencia of being a plagiarist, alleging that Mencia stole jokes from a number of comedians.[33] On February 10, 2007, Rogan confronted Mencia on stage at the Comedy Store on Sunset and continued his allegations of plagiarism. Rogan posted a video of the altercation with audio and video clips from other comedians including George Lopez, Reverend Bob Levy, Bobby Lee, and Ari Shaffir, among others.[34] Mencia addressed the issue of plagiarism in two hour-long interviews with comic Marc Maron on his podcast, WTF with Marc Maron, in May 2010.[35][36] Bobby Lee was brought into the controversy as he has long history with Mencia and was seen as in Mencia's camp. On the Norm Macdonald Live show Bobby Lee talked about Brian Redban's Deathsquad network (Deathsquad is made up of a number of comedians like Ari Shaffir, Redban, Joey CoCo Diaz) was in a feud with Bobby over Mencia.[37] Years later on Rogan's podcast Bobby talked about how after he did a retraction video in support of Mencia, he was faced with death threats.[38] On the Comedy Store Podcast Bobby Lee was ending a feud between him and Comedy Store fixture Eleanor Kerrigan. She told a story about how her ex-boyfriend Freddy Soto stopped a show at the Comedy Store and kicked Bobby Lee out of the room because he thought, falsely, that Bobby was stealing Freddy Soto's material on behalf of Mencia.[39] He also related how his management team asked him how to rehabilitate Mencia's career and he said that Mencia should do a special showing how Mencia creates incredibly personal material for a special.[40]

Family[edit]

His Korean American parents owned clothing stores in both Escondido and Encinitas, California. His father had a stroke and is still in recovery. Bobby also has a brother Steve Lee who is a musician and host of The Steebee Weebee podcast.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
Apr 26, 2002 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Self [41]
2003 mockumentary Pauly Shore Is Dead Delivery boy [42]
2004 Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle Kenneth Park [43]
2011 A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas Kenneth Park [44]
2005 Kims of Comedy Self With fellow Korean American comics Steve Byrne, Ken Jeong and Kevin Shea in a stand-up comedy tour and accompanying film, Kims of Comedy [45]
2005 Mind of Mencia An Asian CSI agent "Episode #1.6" aired Aug 10, 2005, and a gay pirate, "Stereotype Olympics" aired Jul 23, 2006.[46]
2005 Curb Your Enthusiasm "The Korean Bookie" A Korean bookie named Sung, aired Nov 27.[47]
2007 Pineapple Express An Asian drug-gangster named Bobby. [48]
2007 Kickin' It Old Skool (film) With Jamie Kennedy, Maria Menounos, Michael Rosenbaum, and Vivica A. Fox.
2009 Music video for Eminem's single "We Made You" Sulu from Star Trek, and an Inuit. [15][49]
2009 The League Lee Wei Lee episodes "The Usual Bet", and "Epi Sexy" [50]
2010 Hard Breakers (film) Travis the stoner [51]
2010 Chelsea Lately [52]
2010 Music video for "2 Different Tears", a single by South Korean girl group, the Wonder Girls [53]
2010 Taio Cruz' music video for "Hangover"
2012 The Dictator Mr. Lao The vulgar diplomat.[54]
2012 Animal Practice Dr. Yamamoto (cancelled after 6 episodes)[55]
2013-2015 Hulu series The Awesomes voice of Tim and Sumo [56]
2013-2014 DVDASA Himself 12 episodes
2015 NCIS: Los Angeles Rio Syamsundin [57]
2018 NCIS: Los Angeles Rio Syamsundin [58]
2016–2018 Love Truman On Netflix, with Gillian Jacobs [59]
2016 Laid in America Goose a British comedy film released direct-to-digital on 26 September 2016, featuring Olajide Olatunji and Caspar Lee (no relation) [60]
2018 H3 Podcast Himself
2018–Present Splitting Up Together Arthur On ABC - main cast [61]

Annotations[edit]

  1. ^ Bobby Lee's IMDB page says he was born in 1972 but while talking on his podcast to Bert Kreischer and Kyle Dunnigan he said that it was 1971.[1][2] Also, on the September 20, 2018, Episode 160 of TigerBelly they celebrate his 47th birthday.[3]

Bibliography[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ Lee & Kreischer 2018, p. 6:00
  2. ^ Lee & Dunnigan 2018
  3. ^ Lee 2018
  4. ^ Lee 2016
  5. ^ a b TigerBelly 2018
  6. ^ Mad TV 2010
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Grant 2004
  8. ^ a b Schonberger 2016
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Nguyen 2009
  10. ^ Archer 2013
  11. ^ Kozlowski 2018
  12. ^ Lee, Diaz & Syatt 2014, p. 9:30
  13. ^ Variety Staff 2008
  14. ^ a b c d e Yang 2007
  15. ^ a b Rogan, Lee & Redban 2013
  16. ^ Lee 2017, p. 10:45
  17. ^ Lee (song) 2016
  18. ^ Lee & Griffin 2016, p. 1:17:00
  19. ^ a b c Lee, Baldwin & Kalloniatis 2017, p. 47:30
  20. ^ Lee 2017, p. 12:00
  21. ^ Lee 2017, p. 2:03
  22. ^ Lee & Cho 2016, p. 29:25
  23. ^ Mandell 2016
  24. ^ Demby 2016
  25. ^ Jung 2018
  26. ^ Yee 2016
  27. ^ Desta 2016
  28. ^ Juzwiak 2016
  29. ^ Healy 2016
  30. ^ Jang 2016
  31. ^ Hilton 2016
  32. ^ Gettell 2018
  33. ^ Rogan 2005
  34. ^ Lussier 2007
  35. ^ Maron & Mencia 2010
  36. ^ Maron et al. 2010
  37. ^ Lee, Eget & Macdonald 2017
  38. ^ Rogan, Lee & Redban 2013, p. 1:07:01
  39. ^ Lee, Kerrigan & Ingraham 2016, p. 2:03
  40. ^ Lee, Kerrigan & Ingraham 2016, p. 59:30
  41. ^ TV Guide 2002
  42. ^ Pauly Shore Is Dead (2003) on IMDb
  43. ^ Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) on IMDb
  44. ^ A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011) on IMDb
  45. ^ Kims of Comedy (2005) on IMDb
  46. ^ Mind of Mencia Episode #1.6 on IMDb
  47. ^ Curb Your Enthusiasm (2005) on IMDb
  48. ^ Pineapple Express (2007) on IMDb
  49. ^ Eminem 2009
  50. ^ The Usual Bet (2009) on IMDb
  51. ^ Hard Breakers (2010) on IMDb
  52. ^ Chelsea Lately (2010) on IMDb
  53. ^ Adriane 2010
  54. ^ The Dictator (2012 film) on IMDb
  55. ^ Animal Practice (2012) on IMDb
  56. ^ The Awesomes (2013-2015) on IMDb
  57. ^ NCIS: Los Angeles (2015) on IMDb
  58. ^ NCIS: Los Angeles (2018) on IMDb
  59. ^ Love (TV series) on IMDb
  60. ^ Spangler 2016
  61. ^ Splitting Up Together (2018 TV series) on IMDb

References

External links[edit]