Celebri-TV Kids: Interview with Albert Tsai of ABC’sDr. Ken

Albert Tsai ABC/Craig Sjodin
Albert Tsai plays "Dave Park" on the ABC comedy, Dr. Ken

In my line of work, I interview a lot of celebrities. And I’m always impressed with the child stars that I meet. These young actors are not only talented in their craft, but they’re exceptionally bright, are part of supportive families, and they’re confident and well-spoken. So I set out to interview a few of Fall’s TV’s brightest kids to find out how they got where they are, and to share their industry advice with other kids who dream of television stardom.

I had a great chat with 12-year-old actor Albert Tsai of ABC’s Dr. Ken. On the Friday night comedy, Albert plays the son of Dr. Ken Park (Ken Jeung), but you may also know this young talent from his role on the ABC comedy Trophy Wife, and guest appearances on How I Met Your Mother, Hot in Cleveland and Fresh Off The Boat.

Channel Guide Magazine: Hi there Albert, how are you?
Albert Tsai: Good. How are you?

Thanks so much for talking to me. I’m starting an interview series on kids who are on TV and am excited to share your experience. How did you get involved in acting?
I did a school play when I was 7 and I just fell in love with acting. I did this acting competition called iPOP!, where I won the child actor of the year award and that’s where my agent and manager discovered me. Then I started auditioning and then I got my first show, Trophy Wife, which was on ABC and it ran from 2013 to 2014. It was a family comedy.

When you first started acting were you living in the L.A.-area or did your family move to L.A. to support your dreams?
I’m from northern California but whenever I’m filming, I live in L.A.

Even though you’re famous, how do your parents keep you feeling like a normal kid?
When I’m not filming, I go back to San Jose and I’m like a normal kid. I go a regular public school, and I’m just a normal kid. All my friends still treat me normal.

What do your friends think about having a friend who’s on a TV show?
They think it’s pretty cool but they still treat me as just one of the guys.

When you’re working on Dr. Ken, what are some of the fun things you do on set with your co-stars?
We love to chat and joke around. We’re all just like a big family.

So when you’re on set and you’re not shooting, what kind of stuff are you doing?
Well, I have to go to school on set. There’s a studio teacher there and I do online school. I have to do it for 3 hours a day. Also, some of the casting crew and I, we like to do some coloring activities, so we just have some coloring books on set and we color in some pictures. That’s pretty fun.

What was it like when you got the part of Dave?
I was so excited. It was awesome. I had worked with Ken [Jeong] before on the season 5 premiere of Hot in Cleveland. We both guest-starred on that, and I couldn’t wait to start filming with him again.

What have you learned from Ken Jeong?
He teaches me so much. Not only from the acting part, he’s also the executive producer and writer of the show. So he has taught me some of the behind-the-scenes things as well. I love to learn from him and the rest of the cast and crew about how to put together a TV show.

Albert Tsai
Albert Tsai gets a little love from his TV dad, Ken Jeong. ABC/Danny Feld

Are there certain kinds of scenes that you really like to shoot?
We have a live taping every Tuesday. An audience comes in and I love having the energy and it’s great. Also, all the scenes are really fun to shoot.

Tell us about an episode that’s coming up that you’re really excited about.
A really exciting episode this season that I shot was a cross-over episode, and Dave goes on Shark Tank! That was really awesome; I got to meet all the Sharks. I can’t wait for the audience to see that episode.

When does that episode air?
That will air sometime in November. It was so fun to film on the Shark Tank set with all the Sharks. All of them are really nice. I got to meet Kevin and Lori, Daymond, Mark and Robert.

Can you tease Dave’s invention?
You know how sometimes when you’re sleeping at night and your legs get too hot? And sometimes you put your legs over the covers? No need for that anymore. You just cut two leg holes inside a blanket and you just poke your legs through. That’s his invention.

That’s genius! I need that.
It’s called the “Hot Legs Duvet.” It’s super funny. That was an amazing episode to shoot and I loved it. It was awesome. I even got to do some promos with Mr. Wonderful — also known as Kevin — where he taught Dave some business stuff.

What else is coming up on Dr. Ken that you’re excited about?
Halloween is a really big episode. It’s a Korean ghost story. There’s stunts, special effects, crazy costumes, it’s the whole deal. It’s going to air sometime around Halloween [The episode: “D.K.’s Korean Ghost Story” airs Oct. 21]

What is Dave going to be for Halloween?
[Laughs] You’ll have to stay tuned for that.

Do you have a tradition on Fridays when Dr. Ken airs?
The cast and I live tweet. We live tweet both feeds and we interact with the fans and I just love watching the episode and talking with the fans on Twitter.

Alber Tsai
Albert gets to mark the slate, which co-stars Jonathan Slavin and Katie Simses appreciate very much. ABC/Ron Tom

What’s the best part of being on TV?
I love reading the new script every episode and learning what Dave gets up to.

How are you like Dave and how are you not like Dave?
We both like to read and Dave’s also really smart. Dave has some strange quirks. Most of my hobbies are pretty normal. But Dave — if you watched the previous season — Dave plays poker, and mimes, and went to a city council meeting on the drought, and just really funny things like that.

You said that your parents treat you like a normal kid; what are some of the “normal kid” activities you do when you’re not working?
I love reading and swimming and I horseback ride sometimes, which is really fun. I’ve surfed before. I like to play video games and watch TV.

What are some of the shows that you like to watch on TV?
I like to watch some competition shows. I love watching Shark Tank; that’s why it was so exciting to go on their show! Also, I like watching The Voice. I love watching the different contestants sing. Also, I like to watch MasterChef Junior, which is a bunch of kids cooking. Those are some of the shows I like to watch.

You said you really like to read; what’s a book series that you recommend to other kids?
I love Harry Potter! I’ve read all 7 books and watched all 8 movies so definitely the Harry Potter series. I really liked the Percy Jackson series as well.

What do you think you want to be when you grow up?
I’d love to still act, but maybe also be a producer or a director. Those are really fun things. Maybe work at a network or a studio would be also fun.

If a kid came up to you and said, “Hey Albert, how can I come become an actor?” What’s some advice you could share?
Just believe in yourself, do what you love, and never give up. Have a lot of passion for what you’re doing. Work hard, and be persistent!

When you meet fans, what do they say to you?
They’ll say, “I love you on TV” and they’ll ask me for a photo. And I’ll just take a selfie or a normal photo with them. I love meeting fans!

Who would you be completely starstruck if you met?
Leonardo DiCaprio is pretty cool. I’d like to be like him because he’s an actor and a producer. So, he’s really cool. Jennifer Lawrence is really awesome because she was in The Hunger Games and I’d like to try out some action or adventure movies.

Great. Thank you so much, Albert. You’re great to talk to. I really enjoyed speaking with you.
Thank you, Kellie. Have a nice day.


Dr. Ken > ABC > Fridays at 8:30pm ET/PT, 7:30pm CT