Text & Photos: Joanna Goh
Video: Tay Yixuan

Hossan Leong(MediaCorp)

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.

Hossan Leong(MediaCorp)

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."