Bobby Lee (right) and Steve Cho in 2015
|Birth name||Robert "Bobby" Lee Jr|
September 18, 1971 |
San Diego, California, U.S.
|Medium||Stand-up, film, television|
|Genres||Observational comedy, black comedy|
|Subject(s)||Human behavior, human sexuality, American politics, gender differences|
Robert "Bobby" Lee Jr. (born September 18, 1971[A 1]) is an American actor and comedian best known as a cast member on MADtv from 2001 to 2009 and for his roles in the films Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Pineapple Express and The Dictator. In 2016 Bobby and his girlfriend, Khalyla Kuhn, started a weekly podcast called Tigerbelly that has a number of notable guests including, Asa Akira, Charlie Finn, Stephen Rannazzisi, Michael Rosenbaum, Margaret Cho, Chris D'Elia and Jordan Peele. Lee currently co-stars in Splitting Up Together alongside Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson.
Lee was born Robert Lee, Jr. in San Diego, California, the son of Jeanie and Robert Lee. The older of two sons, Lee attended Poway High School in Poway, California. He wrestled in high school. At 18, 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.
He began taking meth and marijuana around 12, and went through three drug rehab attempts, ending his meth abuse around 17. During this period of drug abuse, Lee claims that he not only competed in a wrestling tournament under the influence of both Methamphetamine and LSD, but won the tournament. 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. This sent Bobby down a spiral of depression and into drugs, ending 12 years of sobriety. 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. On TigerBelly Bobby says that one of the only times he cried was at Dombrowski's funeral.
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). 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 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. 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 only East 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. Some of Lee's recurring characters included:
|Kim Jong-il||Host of the imaginary Kim Jong-il Show|
|Bae Sung||The hapless interpreter|
|Tank||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||Character on the Korean soap opera parody Taedo-Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive|
|Hideki "The Average Asian"||Asian man whose friends think he adheres to the stereotypes associated with East Asian people|
|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 (whether or not he deserved it).|
|Hosted by||Bobby Lee|
|Format||Audio & Video|
|Created by||Bobby Lee & Khalyla Kuhn|
|Length||60 - 90 min|
|No. of episodes||133 (as of March 16, 2018)|
|Original release||2016 - present|
TigerBelly is a video podcast that is hosted by Bobby Lee and his girlfriend Khalyla Kuhn. 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. The show's intro song "Shadow Gook" was written, produced and performed by Bobby Lee. 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.
Bobby and Eric Griffin initially pitched a podcast to All Things Comedy and they were immediately signed but the two could never make the time to meet. Around this time Bobby and Khalyla were visiting family in the Philipinnes when she came down with serious heart trouble. She spent weeks in hospitals and couldn't return to her nursing job. 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. 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. 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. 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.
In episode 71, guest Margaret Cho recounted an incident that occurred between herself and actress Tilda Swinton. 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. 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. 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 herself and Cho to the website Jezebel. In response to the release, Cho stated that she stands by her words both on TigerBelly and in the email exchange.
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. 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. 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. 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. Years later on Rogan's podcast Bobby talked about after he did a retraction video in support of Mencia he was faced with death threats. 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. 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.
Steve Lee (  is Bobby's brother. Much like Bobby his life was plagued with addiction and pain. Through Bobby, Steve met esteemed underground artist David Choe and Choe loved Steve so much he brought him on David's famous podcast DVDASA (Double Vag Double Anal Sensitive Artist), a lifestyle, relationship and entertainment podcast with co-host Asa Akira. In 2014 David also started a punk band Mangchi which means 'Hammer' in Korean, with Steve Lee as the frontman. In the band's lineup are featured appearances by David Choe, Steve Lee, Money Mark, Dylan Fujioka, Eddie Kim, Heather Leather, Gillian Rivers, Ceci Dee Cee, James Jean, Bobby Lee, Bobby Hundreds, Critter Fleming, Bill Poon, Bobby Trivia, Prince Paul, Charm Killings, Desirée Elyda, Asa Akira, James Jean, Daniel Wu & Die Antwoord. Inspired by his brother Steve also started a podcast called The Steebee Weebee Show. In an interview with Asa Akira Steve says that he makes enough money with his podcast to pay his rent.August 25, 1974 )
|Apr 26, 2002||The Tonight Show with Jay Leno||Self|||
|2003||mockumentary Pauly Shore Is Dead||Delivery boy|||
|2004||Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle||Kenneth Park|||
|2011||A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas||Kenneth Park|||
|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 |
|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.|
|2005||Curb Your Enthusiasm||"The Korean Bookie"||A Korean bookie named Sung, aired Nov 27.|
|2007||Pineapple Express||An Asian drug-gangster named Bobby.|||
|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.|||
|2009||The League||Lee Wei Lee||episodes "The Usual Bet", and "Epi Sexy" |
|2010||Hard Breakers (film)||Travis the stoner|||
|2010||Music video for "2 Different Tears", a single by South Korean girl group, the Wonder Girls|||
|2010||Taio Cruz' music video for "Hangover"|
|2012||The Dictator||Mr. Lao||The vulgar diplomat.|
|2012||Animal Practice||Dr. Yamamoto||(cancelled after 6 episodes)|
|2013-2015||Hulu series The Awesomes||voice of Tim and Sumo|||
|2015||NCIS: Los Angeles||Rio Syamsundin|||
|2018||NCIS: Los Angeles||Rio Syamsundin|||
|2016-2018||Love||Truman||On Netflix, with Gillian Jacobs |
|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) |
|2018-Present||Splitting Up Together||Arthur||On ABC - main cast |