'Crazy Rich Asians' Star Ken Jeong Reacts to Being Floated as Potential Oscars Host

By Zach Seemayer‍
Copyright (c) 2018 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Following Kevin Hart's controversial departure as host of the upcoming Academy Awards, a flurry of suggestions for possible replacements began to swirl -- among those names was Crazy Rich Asians star, Ken Jeong.

Whoopi Goldberg --  a four-time Oscars host herself -- emphatically suggested Jeong for the job while sitting down on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Tuesday, explaining that the 49-year-old comic "would be brilliant."

On Wednesday, Jeong sat down with ET Live's Tanner Thomason and Jason Carter, where he candidly addressed Goldberg's remarks and the possible prospect of becoming the first Asian-American host of the storied awards show.

"I was just so flattered that Whoopie had even said that," Jeong shared, beaming. "I didn't even know she was gonna go on Colbert. I just saw her on The View yesterday morning, and, off camera, she was really serious about it. Like, 'You know, you should host,' and 'I'm gonna talk to the Academy,' and it was so lovely, you know, coming from her."

For Jeong -- who is best known for playing the crazy gangster Leslie Chow in the Hangover trilogy, as well as the weird Spanish teacher-turned-crazy-student Ben Chang in all six seasons of Community -- the actor feels his work in Crazy Rich Asians is really what's responsible for his recent success, which includes his recent Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, alongside the rest of the cast of the hit romantic comedy.

Jeong asserted that the "fringe benefits" of having his name floated as a possible Oscars host wouldn't even be happening "if it wasn't for Crazy Rich Asians getting all these award nominations."

"This is more of an embarrassment of riches situation, where I think it's all about Crazy Rich Asians and its unexpected box office success that has even allowed this chatter to happen," he shared.

However, the actor admitted that he's not counting his chickens before they hatch, especially considering how up-in-the-air things are following the Hart controversy. So the possibility of making history as the first Asian-American host isn't something he's even worried about.

"I honestly don't even think about it except I'm so flattered to be thought of," Jeong said, adding that he loves the Oscars so much, he would "be happy to be a part of it in any way possible."

"If they asked me to be an on-set medic for it, I'd be glad," the former private practice physician joked. "I think the Academy has done an amazing job in kind of just trying to get more representation on screen… and I really think, with the success of Crazy Rich Asians, Black Panther and so many amazing movies right now, and so much diversity that is in these amazing movies, it's exciting. It makes me so proud and excited to call myself an actor."

On Tuesday, the same night Goldberg started stumping for Jeong to host the Oscars, the actor sat down on Late Night with Seth Meyers where he joked about wanting the job very badly.

"I was always taught… when you set goals, make sure you keep them very high," he explained. "If I do not become the host of the Oscars, I will consider not only my career but my life a failure… I want it so bad."

However, Jeong admits that even if the Academy doesn't extend an offer to him, there's no shortage of hilarious comics who would slay the gig.

"There is so much amazing talent out there," he shared with ET. "You could have someone like Key and Peele! … There is so much talent out there."

"I think the Academy will come up with an amazing show that will be so entertaining from top to bottom," he added. "At the end of the day, the stars are the movies [being celebrated at the show]. I think there's so many amazing movies to celebrate this year, and that will have a ripple effect for actors of color like me."

Aside from the potential hosting job, Jeong has a lot on his plate, and has definitely been keeping himself busy. His half-hour comedy Christmas special, Ken Jeong Cracks Christmas, premieres Dec. 12 on Buzzfeed's YouTube channel, while Jeong will also be serving as a panelist on Fox's upcoming reality competition series, The Masked Singer, which premieres Jan. 2.

Additionally, Jeong's animated family comedy Wonder Park hits theaters on March 15, and his first hour-long stand-up comedy special is coming to Netflix soon.

For more on the Oscars' search for a new host, and the scandal that forced Hart to step down last week, check out the video below.

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Copyright (c) 2018 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.