Comedian Bobby Lee is lazy, lethargic and really bad at sex. Or so he claims.
But yet he somehow still manages to make people laugh, whether it’s through his appearances in blockbuster hits such as “Harold and Kumar Goes to White Castle” or “Pineapple Express”. Even as a regular on MADtv, he intrigued audiences with his unique and raunchy humor.
Lee, a Korean American, was born in San Diego, California and spent most of his life there.
Growing up, Lee said he had strict parents, wasn’t good at school and got into a lot of trouble. But little did his parents know that years later, they would proudly watch their son on the Jay Leno show entertain national audiences.
When Lee was 19, he took improv classes in Los Angeles because he was interested in comedy. But Lee had to figure out what to do with his life.
Before his comedy career, Lee worked part-time jobs at both a restaurant and coffee shop. One day as Lee went to work at his night job at the coffee shop, he realized that the shop had closed without anyone notifying him. He was about 23 at the time. Confused about what happened, he went next door to the Comedy Store, a local comedy club, to find a job because he saw the “Help Wanted” sign.
He eventually got a job as a door man at the comedy club and still worked at the restaurant during the day. Sundays at the club were open mic nights and his manager gave him the idea to give stand-up a try. So that’s what Lee did. He performed on Sundays for about three minutes that mostly consisted of him showing his pubic hair and speaking jibberish to the audience, he said.
“I did it for fun and became friends with other comedians,” he said.
Five months later, Lee met Pauly Shore when Shore told the club manager that he liked Lee’s performance. Lee later had the opportunity to open for Pauly Shore in Las Vegas for about 3000 people. He had never performed for more than 20 people before.
After the performances, Shore’s mom suggested to Lee that he should become a regular comedian in Los Angeles and Lee took her words of advice and moved to L.A.
Around that time, he also met Carlos Mencia, who at that time was an up and coming guy in the business. Lee and Mencia became quick friends and they even went on the road once a month and Lee opened for Mencia for the first six years of his career.
In the beginning of his career, Lee also did side gigs such as starring in commercials which led to his success today.
“In 1999, everything happened in one month. I was completely broke and literally a month later, I had a bunch of money. I did a gigantic commercial for IBM, booked a gig on SNL and became a regular on MadTV. The first chunk of money I ever made was through commercials,” Lee explained.
Of course, it wasn’t always easy for Lee. When asked about his greatest challenges he has overcome in life, he responded, “Life from day one was a challenge, life in general is a challenge.”
“It was all a struggle but I don’t really worry that much. F*ck it, whatever happens happens, I’ve never been somebody that lives in fear,” he added.
Through his work, he wants to continue to help others with the same energy he used to overcome his alcoholism. Lee has been clean and sober for seven years.
“What I am proud of, I’m still able to show up to important situations and pull through, and when that happens, I’m proud because it gives me a shot at life,” he said.
Lee has a lot to look forward to as he is preparing to star in Harold and Kumar part 3 and was also recently featured in a music video for the Wonder Girls, a popular girl group from South Korea.
“Now I have so many different opportunities going on, movies here and there. I’m completely satisfied as long as I’m constantly working,” he said.
Bobby Lee will perform at The Parlor from July 15 – 17. www.parlorlive.com.