Matthew Moy, the 29 year-old Chinese actor from San Francisco, currently stars on the CBS hit comedy 2 Broke Girls. For those who haven’t seen it yet, the show is about Max and Caroline, two waitresses who are starting a cupcake business. Moy plays Han Lee, the owner of the diner where Max and Caroline work. Matthew has also appeared in other TV shows including Criminal Minds, How I Met Your Mother and iCarly.
Matthew continues to have success in the industry, it was just announced that CBS has planned for a third season of 2 Broke Girls. We caught up with Matthew to discuss his acting career, life on the 2 Broke Girls set, the upcoming season, and future projects for the actor.
TheCelebrityCafe: So, your bio says that you graduated with a degree in Japanese. I was surprised you didn’t go to school for acting since it seems to come so natural.
Matthew Moy: Actually, fun fact – First, I was majoring in fine arts at University of California, Davis because I like to draw, but I don’t have much patience for it. I took Japanese in high school, I’m Chinese though, and I just fell in love with the language and the culture.
TCC: Did you know much Japanese before college?
MM: A little bit, only high school Japanese 1, maybe Japanese 2, so it was a good introduction… I wanted to pick a major that I really loved. I don’t want to do a job I hate, where it’s just okay. It worked out because my Dad taught at a high school, so I thought, if worse comes to worse, I can be a Japanese teacher in high school. But I realized, teaching wasn’t for me.
TCC: When did you first start acting?
MM: Well let’s see. So I did Japanese, and I minored in linguistics, another fun fact. And I think because my Mother is a speech and language therapist, she kind of got me interested in voice-overs. She was like, “You know, you could really use your voice for something.”
It was a lot of fun. I took a few classes back when I was learning my own craft of speech. I was like, “Okay, I’ll try it.” I ended up falling in love that, and that was actually what I moved to Los Angeles for. I was going to be the next big voice-over thing, of course, in my mind. I didn’t. But voice-overs have actually hit — I just booked a reoccurring role on a new series on Cartoon Network. I mean, it took four or five years, but hey, you never know what and when it’s going to hit. On-camera stuff just hit. I decided to do it to supplement my voice-over career, but I ended up falling in love with it and it actually hit a lot harder than my voice-over career. Here I am, five years later.
TCC: Before 2 Broke Girls, you appeared in several television shows including Criminal Minds and How I Met Your Mother. What were those experiences like?
MM: That was really fun! Because, actually, I was doing Scrubs and the same week that I booked Scrubs, I booked Criminal Minds and How I Met Your Mother. It was a lot of fun, though. It was a great learning experience. It was really neat to be on different sets. For Criminal Minds, we were outside and we had to deal with real parrots that invaded our park. And on How I Met Your Mother, they don’t shoot in front of a live studio audience like we do on 2 Broke Girls, so that was interesting. And then Scrubs was the best time of my life. I still keep in touch with Michael Mosley.
TCC: What was the iCarly experience like?
MM: Oh! iCarly was one of my first major jobs, actually. I went into that audition and completely failed at it. I completely bombed… I forgot my lines. When I forget my lines, I kind of get angry. They had me do it again; I remembered them, and I booked it. They were so nice and they ended up liking me so much, that they made me reoccurring and that was my first big gig. You know, it’s funny, if you’re familiar with actors, I met Noah Munck from iCarly just a few weeks ago, and I hadn’t worked with him in like three or four years, and he is such a grownup now! He’s like a big, tall dude; he’s a man now. I’ve been away for that long. Because, back when I was on iCarly, Noah and I used to actually joke around with the extras that I was younger than him, and Noah was like 13 and of course, I was like 25 back then.
TCC: So, tell us about the show 2 Broke Girls and your character for people who haven’t seen the show yet.
MM: Well, this season is a ton of more laughs. First season was very funny, and they get even crazier with this one. I do have to say, a lot of the issues people have with Han about him not being there enough, well we get to see Han a lot more this season. It’s probably because of the fans. Also, you know, we have so many seasons to go, you guys, chill out! Just the other night, we got Oleg’s apartment and I know that was a big reveal. They were holding that back and that was a lot of fun to see his apartment. They are showing so many different layers this season and I think that is the most fun.
TCC: How would you describe your accent on the show?
MM: Well, it’s funny. I used to eat a lot of All-You-Can-Eat Korean barbecue. When I came into the audition, I had one relative in mind, but I was like, ‘I need something else.’ Then I was like, why don’t I use the 40-year-old waitresses I see from the All-You-Can-Eat Korean barbecue place. They want to please us. They are here to help you. To me, 40-year-old ladies have this motherly quality to them, so that’s what I did with Han. But, I added my own kind of eager-to-please-ness and positivity, and that helped the comedy a bunch.
TCC: What do you say to the criticism about Han having a stereotypical Korean accent?
MM: Oh my god, first of all, I mean, people need to just chill out! People may be upset, because maybe they haven’t seen that many layers of Han yet. Maybe they haven’t seen him have a backbone. Which he does; we see when he stands up to the robber. He stands up to Caroline when she insults his dream and he fires back. We will see a little bit of a nicer side of Han in upcoming episodes. We see a lot of different sides of Han. He is very changeable. I don’t know why, but he fits in many different molds and he’s got a lot of different layers to him.
Also, in regards to the Korean accent, if I did a real, to the best of my ability, Korean accent, I don’t think people would actually be able to understand it. You know, our show, specifically, is multi-cam, in front of a live studio audience. They have to be able to understand what I am saying. It’s like 21 minutes … it would take me an hour to finish a sentence with all the ‘ums.’ So, I do the best that I can with my ability, with what I’m given, with the jokes and with my own take on the accent, because I do want to make it unique. I do it to the best of my ability, and if people don’t like that, then there’s nothing I can do.
TCC: Walk me through a normal day on the set of 2 Broke Girls.
MM: Well, we rehearse a lot. We rehearse for half the week. We do a table read on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday we will re-rehearse, once for the writer and once for the whole network. Monday we do camera blocking, that’s where the cameras learn where we are going to move. We do almost the whole show Tuesday night. It’s very interesting, we do it in front of the live studio audience, but then we still film it in front of cameras. It’s a lot of fun.
TCC: What’s it like playing Han Lee?
MM: So much fun! They always put Han in crazy costumes! I think I’ve had to wear a cup twice this season. It’s a lot of fun.
TCC: CBS just announced 2 Broke Girls will be picked up for a third season. Congratulations! Do you know when filming for season 3 starts?
MM: Yeah! Thanks! I don’t know, but I assume it is sometime in August. We wrap for this season in a couple weeks. So, we pretty much have a break from the middle of April to August.
TCC: What are your plans during that time off?
MM: I’ve actually got quite a few concerts lined up. I’m going to Coachella right after we wrap. I’ve never been, so I’m trying to figure out what to wear. I’m also going to this other really cool festival called Bottle Rock Napa Valley. It’s the first concert this year. They have a really cool lineup that I’ve never seen at any other festival before. And, it’s in Napa Valley so that will be beautiful. AND I’m going to see Justin and Jay-Z in concert. I don’t even know if I’m going to travel a lot this summer since I’m going to so many concerts. I feel like that is enough. I might also go camping. I go camping every summer.
TCC: Nice! Sounds like a great summer. So, do you feel the writers are writing more towards you and your personality?
MM: Absolutely! They let us add layers, ourselves, to each character.
TCC: How about those cupcakes! Do you actually eat real cupcakes on set?
MM: Yes! We have cupcakes everywhere! Some are used on set in the cupcake shop and then there are some in the green room … in the commentary room. The main ones are made by this really great cupcake girl named Amber who makes big ones that taste great — they are organic, I think, and they last for weeks. She actually does what we do on TV: she makes these cupcakes in her oven everyday!
TCC: We see that you’re very engaged with your fans on Twitter, most recently doing a live tweeting session.
MM: Yeah! That was so much fun! It went by so quickly; I was surprised. I think I got about 15 or 16 tweets out, and I felt like I could have done so much more.
TCC: Do you plan on doing another live Tweeting session?
MM: Absolutely, it was so much fun! One of the things I’m most thankful for is the fans. They really notice little things, and you know, it’s so nice when you meet them on the streets.
TCC: We saw that you tweeted about your friend who is raising money for orphans in Ghana. Tell me a little about that.
MM: Yeah, my friend Hilary! She was studying abroad in England and one of her friends wanted to get shoes together for an orphanage in Ghana. Of course I’m always looking out for my friends, and Hilary is a very special friend of mine. I like to be very involved with charities, too. Like multiple sclerosis, because I have a friend who has relatives who have that. And then there’s the breast cancer walk and habitat for humanity. I love animals, so I reach out to those places, too.
TCC: So random question, if you were stuck on an island, what are 3 things you would like to have with you?
MM: 1) Chap Stick. I probably have like 20 bottles of Chap Stick and I can never find them. Umm.. what else would I bring? A knife.. come on.. let’s be practical now. And lastly, I would take… another person, so I won’t be lonely. A really nice friend.
TCC: So, do you have any projects coming up?
MM: Right now, I’m working with YOMYOMF, which is You Offend Me You Offend My Family. A lot of Asian American actors you see out there are related with that site. So I’m doing a little web series for that. I don’t have any projects lined up right now. The thing is, I have auditioned for a lot of stuff, but it is all up in the air because of budgets. Even if you have great auditions, the budget is still fishy; you never know if things are going to pass or not. I will say I am excited about this cartoon on Cartoon Network.
TCC: Tell us about that.
MM: Well, I don’t know if I can talk about it that much, I think I can say that … you know the show called Adventure Time on Cartoon Network? One of the lead animators is doing their own show. I am a reoccurring character on that. I do that every Thursday once in a while. We have so much fun! I looked at the pilot and it looks so clean and fun and it looks like something that would be on TV. I’m also excited to go to Comic-Con for that. We will probably go to Comic-Con for that next year.
TCC: It will probably be nice to get back to your voice-over roots, huh?
MM: Oh, absolutely! I still audition. That’s the one thing I tell actors: you never know when something is going to hit. Voice-overs are starting to pick up for me now. It never did before; you know I got little gigs here and there. That what I always tell actors, as long as you keep doing good work, it will come to you.
TCC: Is that the advice you’d give to upcoming actors?
MM: Yeah, you know I don’t believe in talent, really. I believe in artwork, I always have. So, as long as you are doing your best, the best will always come out of it.
Tune in on Mondays at 9/8c to watch Matthew Moy on 2 Broke Girls!