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Why is Chimney called Chimney on 9-1-1? Kenneth Choi reveals details that hint at nonsensical nickname

Kenneth Choi has been leaving 'breadcrumbs' for fans for years

Kenneth Choi stars as Chim in 9-1-1
Rebecca Lewis
Rebecca Lewis - Los Angeles
Los Angeles correspondentLos Angeles
18 April 2023
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For six years, 9-1-1 fans have had just one question - what is the meaning behind Howard 'Chimney' Han's nickname? 

Across 92 episodes, the nickname has been used by all members of the 118, others have asked for the backstory - and in one memorable moment, during his coma dream, Buck was able to get Chim to open the door to him with the words: "I know why they call you Chimney." 

But why do they call him Chimney? Turns out, actor Kenneth Choi has a vague idea and has been leaving "breadcrumbs" for fans for years.

Kenneth Choi© Fox
Kenneth Choi has starred as Chim for six years

"I have my own back story of why he is called Chimney, and I believe it's the same back story that was created by the original creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear," Kenneth, 51. told HELLO!

"They've never told me for sure but there was an iteration of this character before I came on board, and originally Chimney was conceived as a Latino man and there is a specific reason for why he was called Chimney. I was told that reason because they told me, 'We want Chim to be the comedic character'. I've taken that on and, without divulging what it is, some of my behaviors and actions as Chimney could tell somebody who's watching very closely, 'Oh, this is why he was called Chimney.' 

"It's a thing that I imbued in Chimney that if you watch carefully you can lead yourself to realize. I've left breadcrumbs - but nobody has ever picked them up."

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Jennifer Love Hewitt and Kenneth Choi as Maddie and Chim in 9-1-1© Fox
Maddie is one of the few to call Chim 'Howie'

Kenneth has been with the show since episode one, and fans have seen him fall in love with Maddie Buckely (Jennifer Love Hewitt), welcome a daughter, and deal with his past traumas including the death of best friend Kevin Lee in a fire. 

However Monday April 17's episode saw him sent back to the Academy after Captain Bobby Nash (Peter Krause) suggested Chim needed to get out of the rut he was in. 

The push was a much-needed reality check for Chim, who remembers his own experience and skills can be helpful when teaching the new recruits - and it also allows him to reconnect with former probationary firefighter Ravi Panikkar (Anirudh Pisharody) and bring him back to the Station 118 as a full-fledged member of the team.

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