Playing diner owner Han Lee on the ribald 2 Broke Girls, Matthew Moy has one very memorable role on the CBS comedy. That’s mostly because the show’s creators have been criticized for making Han one big stereotype after another: The character speaks with a heavy accent, often doesn’t understand American slang and turns of phrases, and is regularly made fun of for his small stature and clueless nature.
Behind the silly role, however, is Matthew Moy, an actor who, truly, couldn’t be further from who he plays on TV. Moy is very clued into pop culture, which is why we put him through the ringer with the EW Pop Culture Personality Test. As we head toward tonight’s new episode of 2 Broke Girls (9 p.m. on CBS!) — titled “And Too Little Sleep,” which finds Han and Co. helping Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline (Beth Behrs) prepare a huge cupcake order — study up on Moy by hearing a lot about his love for Katy Perry, Steel Magnolias, and (yes, really!) the ceramic statue of Jeri Ryan he has in his living room.
Name a TV show that makes you cry.
Actually, there was an episode of Taxi that was really emotional, and I didn’t expect it because it’s a sitcom. Danny DeVito had a very emotional scene, and it was really great. I didn’t expect that from a comedy. It had a lot of heart to it. I was watching it late at night and he had a really meaty scene.
At what moments do you yell at the TV?
I was thinking about this the other day. When I yell at my TV, it’s usually watching…usually it happens during the election. There’s when I’m watching CNN and MSNBC.
What kind of sitcoms do you watch?
I watch the weirdest things. I watch old episodes of Golden Girls because my mom watches it, so I grew up watching that. Sometimes I watch reruns of Futurama, which is a cartoon and not based in the real world at all. There’s also 3rd Rock from the Sun. It’s really neat to watch the different people interact.
What’s the perfect TV show for a snowy day?
[Laughs.] Man, there’s Breaking Bad, which I’m a huge fan of. I’m only up to season 2 on that. I like watching Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul. He just won an Emmy, too. They’re really good actors. I really like watching Walter turn from a nice guy into a bad guy. I’m like, What if [my 2 Broke Girls character] Han did that? [Laughs] I also really like Spartacus because it makes me feel really empowered and more like a man. I’m like, I need my daily dose of testosterone! I was a huge fan when all that stuff went down with Andy Whitfield. That kind of broke my heart. It’s still a really cool show.
When you were young, who did you write a fan letter to?
No, you know, I didn’t because I didn’t get into acting until four years ago. I think I would have been too shy to write a fan letter. Sadly, honestly, I didn’t have anybody because I’m really new to the game. There are a lot of people now I’d write a fan letter. I would totally write one… What do you say? What’s up? How you doing? I’m a huge Tom Hardy fan.
What project of his are you a fan of?
Everything — Inception, The Dark Knight, Wuthering Heights. He’s in that. That was intense. I’m proud to say I’m a huge Katy Perry fan. I just watched her movie the other day at a friend’s place. She’s a really hard worker.
What pop culture memorabilia do you collect?
I feel like I’m such a unique individual. [Laughs] In my living room — it’s probably going to be moved to my office soon because it freaks too many people out — I have a huge seven foot statue of Seven of Nine of Star Trek Voyager. You remember that show? It’s a statue — a lifelike ceramic statue of Jeri Ryan staring at me. I tried to dress her up so it doesn’t freak people out as much. Because what happened is I got a lot of furniture from my cousin. He moved to New York, so I inherited everything — like his couches, his dressers, his china cabinets and this giant Seven of Nine statue. He was like, “Do you want this?” And I was like, “Heck yeah, I want this.” But now…I don’t know — maybe especially girls — they’re really creeped out by it. I tried to put shades on her, I tried a hat and a scarf. I’m going to put her in my office to feel like I’m working.
What’s your signature karaoke song?
Well, I sing lots of Bryan Adams songs, like “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Or O-Town. “Liquid Dreams” is kind of weird because they’re talking about liquid. I like that song “All Or Nothing.” That’s a really good song, especially to get your buddies to sing with you if they don’t want to sing. I was really drunk once or maybe I was really happy — there’s a fine line – and I tried to sing Jessie J’s “Domino.” I’m a huge Jessie J fan. She’s actually a really great singer, but then with me as a guy, I’m like, “Let’s rock out to this song about independence!” I sing it for a split second, and I’m like, man I should not be singing this song. This is made for a different person.
What movie do you always have to stop and watch when you see it airing on cable?
It depends who I’m with. I have three instances. If I’m with my mom, we watch Steel Magnolias. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen the original Steel Magnolias with Dolly Parton and Sally Field and Julia Roberts. Then, if I’m with my dad, I watch A Time to Kill. That’s a great movie with Matthew McConaughey and Samuel L. Jackson and Sandra Bullock. It’s got a lot of famous people. It’s so nice to see that that movie stands the test of time. But by myself, I really like “thinking” movies, like What Dreams May Come.
What’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
Right now, I’m obsessed with Katy Perry, I will admit. I’m not embarrassed. What’s her newest CD, Teenage Dream? I don’t really relate to that song, but some of her other songs about going out on your own. I’m like, Yeah, I can relate to this. People really should watch that movie about her. I really like Justin Bieber’s and Katy Perry’s movies. They’re really good. Like, man, you deserve all these awards. Katy Perry’s movie was really heartfelt.
What’s the band or person that you’ve seen most often in concert?
I’m a huge Cary Brothers fan. Or Jessie Baylin, Kings of Leon — oh my, the drummer, Nathan Followill. I used to be a huge Sara Bareilles fan. I remember her when she was in college, and I was following her. Now it’s really cool to see her on her own, judging The Sing Off. It’s really great.
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky