By spcnet.tv on September 28th, 2010 | Chinese Entertainment, newsfeed
You may find it hard to believe but before Hossan Leong, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (The Order of Arts and Literature) became the entertaining comedian he is today, he was first a ‘serious’ actor who ‘never did any comedy’ on television.
Sharing in an interview with xinmsn, the funnyman said: “It was all serious dramas, you know. Wah die ah, cry ah…”
Three years into his acting career he took his first shot at comedy in local TV sitcom, Under One Roof, and has never looked back since.
Once tipped to be “too niche” for the masses by an industry insider, Hossan seems to be at the top of his game right now. He was recently awarded the Order of Chevalier and was knighted by the French government in July for his achievements and contributions to the French culture, helms his yearly no-holds-barred talk show, deejays for Gold90 FM’s Gold Breakfast Show, and even doubles up as a motivational speaker and host.
The stage actor’s widely-received The Hossan Leong Show, is returning for a second installment in late September.
One of the show’s popular characters is the effervescent Peranakan Bibik Lily Lee nee Lim, who hosts a cooking segment in the reality TV-like talk show, also pens a weekly column in a local publication.
Role-played by Hossan, who inherited a teeny-weeny bit of Peranakan blood from his great-grandmother, the 41-year-old decided to coin the birth of this Bibik as he felt that the Peranakans are a good representation of society and “are basically what Singapore is — a mish-mash of everything and everybody.”
Deeply fascinated by their culture, he added, “I know a lot of Peranakans so I watch how they behave, how they speak, all the mannerisms. In a way, you have to caricaturize something. I’m not out there to make fun of the Peranakans, it’s just part of the skit.”
The stand-up comedian admitted that the hardest part of doing a sequel show would be to make the show “funnier and funnier and funnier” each passing year, though he pointedly remarked that “it is not tedious but a part of the job.”
“That’s how we as comedic actors, and the writer and director deal with it. You know where we get the benchmark from is when our crew laughs. We know it works because they are the most thick-skinned, seen-it-all, been-there-done-that, oh no, another joke from Hossan. If they laugh, we know it’s okay,” he chuckled.
The crew will be taking out stuff that didn’t work from last year’s show to make it more “sketch-skit-comedy based”. As said by the funnyman himself, think “Jay Leno meets the The Carol Burnett show.”
It’s not easy being in Hossan’s shoes – he juggles a day job and rehearsals that sometimes stretch from noon to night. He tries to sleep by nine at night, gets up at four in the morning every day to be fresh and ready for his early morning radio show which hits the airwaves at six in the morning.
Despite that, he optimistically chattered on, “I’ve learnt how to rest when I can, take a break when I need to. Leave the country when I need to cause sometimes, you just need to get out and get away. Turn off the phone, don’t bring your computer – otherwise I’d be constantly working – that’s one of the bad things about me.
“I think tedium is something that you tell yourself ‘Oh, not another rehearsal. If you want to be tedious about it then I say ‘Don’t do’. That’s the kind of mentality I always set for myself. If I get bored and I find it tedious, I don’t want to inflict that on my audience,” he quipped.
he Hossan Leong Show opens on Sept 23 at the Drama Centre, Theatre, National Library Building. Tickets are available at all SISTIC outlets.