Bobby Lee was born on September 17, 1972 in San Diego, California. His parents were South Korean immigrants who ran a clothing store. They had hoped Bobby would take over the business someday, but he was destined for show business. Bobby liked music and enjoyed performing with friends in a local rock band, but became interested in comedy after seeing comedians onstage at the La Jolla Comedy Store. Comedian Pauly Shore
saw Lee perform and asked him to open for his Las Vegas act. Lee met Shore's mother, Mitzi Shore
, who owns the Comedy Store, and Lee began working onstage there as well.
Lee got work acting in commercials, and performed his act on The Tonight Show
. He joined the cast of the sketch comedy show MADtv
in 2001, first as a feature performer, and later as a full cast member. He also had a role in the comedy film, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle