Ken Jeong put his medical degree to use at a stand-up show on Saturday, jumping in to save an audience member when she had a seizure.
These days he’s known for his comedy on shows like Dr. Ken and Community, but Jeong was a licensed physician before he got on television. That was lucky for the woman who suffered a seizure at his show at Stand Up Live in Phoenix, Arizona over the weekend.
— Ken Jeong (@kenjeong) May 6, 2018
At first, Jeong apparently took the sounds coming from the audience as a heckler, according to a report by TMZ. However, other audience members informed him that she was in genuine distress, and they say Jeong jumped off stage and ran to her side immediately.
According to witnesses, Jeong asked the audience to clear a perimeter around the ailing woman. He and another audience member, who was an EMT, stayed with her until paramedics arrived.
The woman reportedly came to at some point before she made it to the ambulance. Jeong helped her to her feet and then got back on stage to continue his show. The woman was taken to a nearby hospital.
Audience members said that Jeong addressed the incident briefly before getting back to his jokes, simply saying he was “happy to be able to help.”
Jeong was able to launch his comedy career while working as a doctor in the mid-1990s. He won the Big Easy Laff-Off in 1995, and the judges — including NBC president Brandon Tartikoff — encouraged him to move to Los Angeles. He made his mark at the Improv and the Laugh Factory, and continued practicing medicine in California until he was able to support himself on acting alone.
Jeong broke into TV with appearances on shows like The Office, Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm. He was cast in Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up as Dr. Kuni, which finally allowed him to stop working as a doctor and take up entertainment full time.
Jeong is best known for Community, where he played Ben Chang, and The Hangover films, where he played gangster Mr. Leslie Chow.
Finally, in 2015, ABC picked up Dr. Ken. Jeong wrote, executive produced and starred in the series, where he played a frustrated doctor trying to juggle his career and family. The show ran for two seasons before it was cancelled last year.
Despite its short lifespan, Dr. Ken was lauded for putting an Asian-American family front and center on a sitcom.