Bobby Lee (born September 17, 1972) is an American actor and comedian best known as a cast member on Mad TV from 2001 to 2009 and for his roles in the films Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Pineapple Express and The Dictator.
Early career and family life
Lee was born Robert Lee Jr. in San Diego, California to Jeanie and Robert Lee. The older of two sons, Lee attended Poway High School in Poway, California. His Korean American parents owned clothing stores in both Escondido and Encinitas, California. At 18 years of age Lee moved out of his parents' home and took jobs in restaurants and coffee shops in the San Diego area, while also attending Palomar College for a brief period. In 1994 the coffee shop for which he was working closed. âI just went next door to get a job,â he said, âwhich was The Comedy Store in San Diegoâ (also known as the La Jolla Comedy Store). After a few months of working odd jobs at the club he decided to try stand-up during one of their amateur nights. Within a year of doing regular comedy sets he got offers to open for both Pauly Shore and Carlos Mencia. Lee also went on to work regularly at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles, a comedy club owned by Pauly Shore's mother Mitzi.
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. 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 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno his father called him and apologized for not supporting his comedy career.
Lee's parents currently live in Phoenix, Arizona. 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 skit on the show. Lee also pitched a sitcom to Comedy Central in 2007 about a Korean family which was to star his very own family.
In 2001, Lee joined the cast of Mad TV, making him the show's first (and only) cast member of Asian descent. Some of Lee's recurring characters included:
- Kim Jong-il as the host of the imaginary Kim Jong-il Show
- Journalist Connie Chung
- Bae Sung the hapless interpreter
- Tank, an Asian-American "Street Tuner" character in the style of the film The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
- Xing Lao "Johnny" Gan, host of Many Shows! With Johnny Gan and Pongo
- "The Blind Kung-fu Master"
- Dr. Poon Ji-Sum, a character on the Korean soap opera parody Taedo-Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive
- Hideki "The Average Asian"
- John McCain
- Stewie Griffin, on a sketch showing a scene from the Family Guy episode "Fast Times at Buddy Cianci High" done in live-action.
- Yamanashi, one of Coach Hines' (Keegan-Michael Key) gym class students who always gets yelled at and harassed by Coach Hines (usually Yamanashi does something to deserve it).
Lee remained with the cast until the series' cancellation in 2009.
Other projects and appearances
Lee appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Apr 26, 2002. He played a delivery boy in the 2003 mockumentary Pauly Shore Is Dead. Lee also played the part of Kenneth Park in the 2004 film Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and in the 2011 film A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.
In 2005, Lee and fellow Korean American comics Steve Byrne, Ken Jeong and Kevin Shea starred in the stand-up comedy tour and accompanying film titled Kims of Comedyâ"a Korean-American version of the touring act and film Kings of Comedy. That same year he appeared on Mind of Mencia as an Asian CSI agent in the episode titled "Episode #1.6" which aired Aug 10, as well as playing a Korean bookie named Sung in the episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm titled "The Korean Bookie" which aired on Nov 27.
Lee appeared on Mind of Mencia once again in 2006 in role a gay pirate in an episode titled "Stereotype Olympics" which aired Jul 23. He also appeared in the 2007 film Pineapple Express as an Asian drug-gangster named Bobby.
Lee appeared in the American comedy film directed by Harvey Glazer and written by Trace Slobotkin in 2007 called Kickin' It Old Skool with cast including Jamie Kennedy, Maria Menounos, Michael Rosenbaum, and Vivica A. Fox.
Lee appeared in the 2009 music video for Eminem's single "We Made You", playing both the character of Sulu from Star Trek as well as an Inuit. That same year he appeared on The League in an episode titled "The Usual Bet".
In 2010 he made an appearance in the movie Hard Breakers as Travis the stoner. He also became a frequent round table panelist on the late night comedy talk show Chelsea Lately, and also appeared in music video for "2 Different Tears", a single by South Korean girl group, the Wonder Girls.
In 2011, he was featured in Taio Cruz' music video for "Hangover".
In May 2012, Lee appeared in the Sacha Baron Cohen film The Dictator as Mr. Lao, a Chinese diplomat.
Lee co-starred in the NBC comedy series Animal Practice in 2012. The series suffered from low viewership and was cancelled after 6 episodes.
Lee voices Tim/Sumo in the Hulu original series The Awesomes.
Lee is a recurring guest on DVDASA and has appeared in 12 episodes as of January 24, 2014.
- Bobby Lee on Twitter
- Bobby Lee at the Internet Movie Database
- Official Mad TV Website