Jazz Lam: An Unlikely Star
Like a child frozen in time, many tend to forget Jazz Lam’s (林子善) real age of 30 years old. “I have been doing well for someone who is not very handsome,” said Jazz. “Everyone thinks I’m cute and funny.”
The Ghetto Justice <怒火街頭> star debuted in the film industry when he was 16 years old, in Stephen Chow’s (周星馳) 1998 film King of Comedy <喜劇之王>. Jazz’s gangster role in the film left a very memorable impression on many film producers. In 1999, Jazz acted in over 9 movies, portraying similar gangster roles in most of them. Jazz did not mind being typecast. In fact, he never even expected his acting career to have gotten this far.
“I always think I would be better off as an assistant. I’m not looking for a lead role –a second line role would be enough!”
Ironically, Jazz’s breakout role was not an intelligent and resourceful gangster like “Cripple Co,” or a double undercover agent like “Laughing Gor” – it was the kind, upright, and handsomely dressed “George Mike, Jr.” in legal comedy Ghetto Justice. His character even becomes a court judge in the sequel!
“I always portray stupid characters that get taken advantage of, especially the kind of characters in which I think I’m all that but I’m really not. Thanks to producer Terry Tong (唐基明), I believe I can now try different characters!”
Has Fallen, But Not Defeated
After debuting in King of Comedy, Jazz thought he can make a living out of acting. When the Hong Kong film industry began to decline even further, Jazz’s career became stagnant. “After 2004, I had no movies to film for two years.”
Jazz revealed, “So I’ve decided to change careers and become a salesman. I went to several interviews, in which most people said to me, ‘Are you serious? We cannot afford a celebrity!’ People still didn’t believe me when I told them I’ve applied to at least 4 to 5 other jobs! When the entertainment circle is doing well, you earn a lot. When it isn’t, you earn nothing!”
Jazz’s friend later introduced him to a sales job in a hip hop fashion chain store, where he worked from 11AM to 9PM, at $16 HKD an hour. A year later, Jazz was invited to perform in Malaysia, and found jobs as a DJ and a nightclub MC. “I thought I would never go back into acting again. When I volunteered for the Hong Kong Performing Artists Guild, I met Eric Tsang (曾志偉). He asked me if I was still under Stephen Chow’s management. I told him no, so Eric Tsang immediately signed me, bringing me back into the entertainment circle.”
The True King of Comedy
Jazz returned to the industry as a supporting character in the 2006 film, Men Suddenly in Black 2 <大丈夫2>. In 2007, he turned his career focus to television and signed with TVB.
Jazz’s career finally hit an all-time high after the broadcast of Ghetto Justice in 2011. “I am a Buddhist, so I believe that everything in the world has its own use and purpose. Heaven wanted me to be an actor, but there are many other actors in this world. What is so special about me?”
But Jazz already knew what his specialty was. “My purpose is to bring happiness to others,” he explained. “Even to this day, my favorite genre is comedy. I like to see people happy, so all of my posts on Weibo and Facebook are about happy things. I do not like to emit negative energy.”
Jazz knows his limits and stays within them. He does not require his characters to be major roles, nor does he care to be an award-winning actor. He knows what he wants, and that is to continue to bring happiness and comedic performances to the audience for as long as he can.
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.
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