Wong Cho-lam: From Small-Time TV Host to Variety Superstar

By on March 7, 2016 in Hot Gossip!, NEWS

Wong Cho-lam: From Small-Time TV Host to Variety Superstar

It was a long climb to overnight success for Wong Cho-lam (王祖藍). The 36-year-old Hong Kong entertainer, who is now one of China’s most sought-after variety superstars, worked behind-the-scenes for many years before he was asked to face the camera for a children’s TV show.

“I studied performance at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts,” said Cho-lam as he recalled the years prior to his onscreen debut. “I started voice acting when I was 17.”

Cho-lam, who had some years of voice acting experience for radio dramas during his time with the HKAPA, shared that he was actually the Cantonese voice actor for Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城武) in 2004’s House of Flying Daggers <十面埋伏> and Jay Chou (周杰倫) in 2008’s Kung Fu Dunk <功夫灌籃>.

“I didn’t want to tell anyone that because that would just ruin the picture! How can you imagine Takeshi Kaneshiro’s face with my voice? It’s horrible!”

Peking Opera Enthusiast

Cho-lam found his love for singing and opera when he turned 18. While participating in a Hong Kong performance festival, he was introduced to King Lear. Cho-lam was immediately drawn to the male lead and the play itself, which was a Peking opera adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy. “I’ve never seen such a thing before. Our culture is seriously so diverse and deep.”

He took a leave from school and went to Beijing, where he met the 90-year-old Peking opera Dan master, Yu Yuheng (于玉蘅). While studying under Teacher Yu, Cho-lam had the privilege to become acquainted with Mei Lanfang’s (梅蘭芳) son, Mei Baojiu (梅葆玖). “I still have the photo I took with Teacher Mei,” he said.

Cho-lam loved Peking opera so much he was close to quitting his education at the HKAPA so he could continue his lessons with Teacher Yu. However, the untimely death of his father in 2002 brought Cho-lam back to reality. Unable to afford his lessons, Cho-lam returned to Hong Kong and joined TVB.

Early Struggles at TVB

Cho-lam’s early years with TVB was confusing and chaotic, but it nonetheless trained him to be an adaptable and efficient artist. Originally a small-time TV host for children shows, Cho-lam’s flexible voice acting caught the attention of director Patrick Kong (葉念琛), who casted him in the movie Marriage With a Fool <獨家試愛> in 2005. In 2006, TVB transferred Cho-lam to the acting department, and he made a small appearance in Glittering Days <東方之珠> as Roger Kwok’s (郭晉安) singer.

Cho-lam earned his first major role in the 2007 sitcom, Off Pedder <畢打自己人>. His popularity spiked in 2010 when he hosted Fun with Liza and Gods <荃加福祿壽>, a variety show featuring the main hosts doing various impersonations. The series was so successful it spawned several sequel series, including a television drama and a film. Before he could actually begin to process its impact, Cho-lam was already receiving pages after pages of casting offers. Everyone in Hong Kong was beginning to know who Wong Cho-lam was.

But being popularity did not make his life any easier. “If I never had that experience, I probably wouldn’t be around today,” said Cho-lam. “During those days, I had to come up with my own ideas myself. One new idea every week. Clothes, hairstyle, makeup… I had to manage everything myself. Sometimes, I even have to do the video editing myself. If I wanted to get famous celebrities on my show, I had to call them personally. I literally didn’t have time to do anything else.”

His endless list of projects to do practically gave him no time for himself. The money was piling before his eyes, but it was at the expense of his health. “There was one time when I didn’t sleep for three days and three nights. I trained myself to sleep like a guerrilla warrior.”

Every passing minute was precious. Cho-lam said he would always use that five minute break in between takes to sleep. He would use his lunch time for a 30-minute power nap. He could even fall asleep while sitting in an uncomfortable position during a long car ride.

Overnight Stardom in Mainland China

A single performance in a popular Chinese variety show made Cho-lam one of the fastest-rising stars in the Chinese entertainment industry. In 2012, Cho-lam became a regular guest in the Mainland Chinese variety show, Your Face Sounds Familiar <百變大咖秀>. Cho-lam found instant fame overnight after his impersonation of Huluwa from the Chinese animation Calabash Brothers <葫蘆兄弟> went viral in 2013. Since then, Cho-lam has become a familiar face across many Chinese variety platforms.

After leaving TVB management in 2015, Cho-lam signed with TVB’s partner, Shaw Brothers, and started his own personal studio to produce his own works. While his days at TVB were tiring, his days now as a boss are “mentally exhausting.”

“I can’t not do well,” said Cho-lam. “As a boss, not only do I have to take care of myself, I also have to take care of others. If I have no jobs, what would happen to them [his staff]? I am a very disorganized person. I wouldn’t exist without them.”

“I Just Want To Grow Up With You”

Among the general public, it is believed that variety stars do not work as hard as film or television actors, due to the shorter schedules and lucrative pay. Cho-lam insisted that doing variety is not as easy as it looks.

“What we do on these shows stem from years and years of experience,” he said. “The scene I shot today isn’t something that I just came up with today. A single performance takes weeks to plan and years to master.”

As someone who has closely followed the entertainment industry since a young age, Cho-lam was pleasantly surprised to see how much the idol culture has changed over the last three decades.

“When we were younger, we treated the celebrities as people who have halos above their heads. But nowadays, celebrities are expected to interact with fans more frequently and closely, such as through social media. There are pros and cons to this. While this makes the celebrities more approachable, it’s also harder for idols to achieve that Leslie Cheung (張國榮) aura.”

What kind of celebrity does Cho-lam want to be?

“I just want to be someone who has grown up with you. Someone who gives no bad influences. Someone who can suffer happiness and hardships with you.”

Source: Sina.com

This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.

48 comments to Wong Cho-lam: From Small-Time TV Host to Variety Superstar

  1. freedalas says:

    Shucks! Was having my lunch when I logged on to Jaynestars and there staring at me was this ugly dude. Wrecked my lunch totally; had to throw away what would otherwise be my delicious pork chop rice.

    Login or Register before you can reply to freedalas
    • unknown replied:

      @freedalas What harm has Wong Cho lam ever done to you? Why do you have so have hatred toward him? I bet you’re just a jealous hater who have nothing better to do with your boring and pathetic life than start drama by putting other people down and attack anyone who you dislike

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      • skyking replied:

        @unknown why are you wasting time w/ the troll? just ignore the troll.

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    • kolo replied:

      @freedalas is this it? is this everything you have got to say? you let me down when it comes to offending wcl,not enough hate this time,i expect more nasty creativity from you,next time better ok?

      Login or Register before you can reply to kolo
      • freedalas replied:

        @kolo Sorry about that. I was puking since I saw his photo, so can’t think straight still. Let me get over that ugly image first; and I will be back with more, in the way you expect me to. Meanwhile, be patient. Awww…got to go puke again….damn the ugly face of WCL! I wonder how Leanne could stand it.

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      • wenyee replied:

        @freedalas. I think you more ugly than him. That why u jealous. He earn all his popularity through his hard work then be like someone only attack on other ppl

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      • pocky replied:

        @freedalas Reverse psychology seems to imply that you’re actually jealous of Leanne.

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      • skyking replied:

        @kolo why are you wasting time w/ the troll? just ignore the troll.

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    • hetieshou replied:

      @freedalas

      I knew it and here we go again… When will your smelly mouth stop blowing out stinky gas?

      Login or Register before you can reply to hetieshou
      • happybi replied:

        @hetieshou The answer is never. Just ignore and she’ll go away. Her posting is now predictable and responding to her will only allow her to come back and keep posting.

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      • hetieshou replied:

        @happybi
        Yes and we should ignore from now on since all of our words are like playing music to a cow’s ear.

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      • happybi replied:

        @hetieshou Yep.. her post are so predictable now that it’s boring. She’s still trying to pick a fight with us so she can keep trolling.

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      • hetieshou replied:

        @happybi
        Yes, just ignore and I wonder why it has not been banned yet? If this were my site, it would be gone for good.

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      • happybi replied:

        @hetieshou Totally agree but then she can always setup another account even after being ban.

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      • hetieshou replied:

        @happybi
        OH yea, how sad is that? It is like a disease that will never go away. Sigh….

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      • happybi replied:

        @hetieshou Yep.. just ignore and she will just post once and will go away. But of course she love tagging us to try to get us to fight with her. What do you call these type of people? Oh yeah we call them Fie Yun aka useless people.

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      • skyking replied:

        @hetieshou why are you wasting time w/ the troll? just ignore the troll.

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      • mi88 replied:

        usually i don’t comment, but i’m super bored and this is the best place to argue. LOL

        WCL is seen as ugly because he’s not Chok, but I think the picture itself doesn’t look good. It doesn’t fit his character/style. This picture has overdone the photoshop.

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      • hetieshou replied:

        @skyking
        I know and will ignore from now on,but just wanted to maybe knock a brain cell or 2 in its head but it isn’t working. The troll has no brain!

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    • mi88 replied:

      @freedalas o.o u saw cho lam’s picture and literally puked? wow, you must be a very weak and easily influenced person. I suggest you google more images of him so you can face your fears. ^^

      Login or Register before you can reply to mi88
  2. kidd says:

    While this makes the celebrities more approachable, it’s also harder for idols to achieve that Leslie Cheung (張國榮) aura.”

    What he said is very true. With all these social media like facebook and weibo, celebs are no longer the mysterious unreachable stars they used to be. It will be very hard to produce ‘tin wong gui sing’ nowadays.

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  3. happybi says:

    Happy to see his current success and that he became a role model for those who are not perfect. Yes he is short and not the best looking guy but he prove with hard work, success can be achieved. Keep it up WCL!!!!!

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  4. jjwong says:

    Stop feeding the troll. Replying to IT will only give IT the opportunity to spit out more delusional responses. The best way is to ignore and let IT throws ITS own tantrum in ITS own little bizarre world.

    Back on topic:

    I don’t remember him in Glittering Days. I loved that series. I found it was stupid to dubbed Roger’s singing voice (Was that WCL?). Wasn’t it something about Roger’s voice isn’t “retro” enough? Yet they didn’t dub Charm’s singing. It was weird and almost ruined the series for me.

    I don’t know if it’s just a front of his or not, but I do find WCL responses (written and oral) humbling and respectful. He doesn’t sound like a lot of “hot air.” He keeps his head down, appreciates his success in the DL and knows his place (i.e. he knows and admits to his fault). His comedy is very in your face. One either loves it or hates it. It reminds me of Stephen Chow’s beginning, with a bit more of “lan jay,” perversion sort of feel. Regardless, it’s hard to find good comedy. It’s a niche. Best of luck to him.

    Although I don’t really enjoy Peking Opera, but I do appreciate this traditional art. Hopefully someone will forever keep it alive. It’s a dying art 🙁

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    • kidd replied:

      @jjwong

      Wong Cho Lam played a contestant in a singing competition that Charmaine’s character participated in. Cho Lam’s character sang horrendously but won the competition because he’s the son of the boss/organiser. Charmaine’s character won the second place and became popular.

      I think Wong Cho Lam did a good job dubbing Roger’s singing voice. I really thought it was Roger singing the song in the beginning because the voice was not very far from his speaking voice.

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      • jjwong replied:

        @kidd OH! I remember him now you mentioned that char. Yea, he was really a nobody then with a miniscule role. Ha. Good for him. Gotta start from ground 0.

        I immediately knew it wasn’t Roger singing. It stuck out like a sore thumb to me. It was as cringe worthy as Kenneth Ma voice in LoS.

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  5. says:

    I remember him on that sitcom, he was just a supporting cast but he was very funny. hhaha LOL… He was so tiny but his role there really shine more than the cute main lead guy.

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  6. dramadrama says:

    Well, haters gonna hate. He climbed this far due to his effort and talent. Anyone can bash him whatever you wanna bash. He is the one who got a pretty wife and live in a house worth millions.

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  7. asian2015 says:

    Lol. As I told you guys before once you see a news about WCL and his wife Leanne you will definitely see freedalas in here. Lol. WCL must be freedalas favorite idol ever that’s why he or she loves to comment about him. The picture above of WCL look a bit like art.

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  8. kaykay408 says:

    Lol I can’t help but feel funny. This article is intentionally written for freedalas haha, like “in your face!”. It answers all his burning hatred. However, his fame has attached to WCL’s name now that every time there’s an article about WCL we immediately think about him.

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    • kidd replied:

      @kaykay408 Next article should be on Leanne Li. 😀

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  9. freedalas says:

    First of all, my apologies to my supporters who are the silent majority here, for not coming back to this post earlier to decimate the moronic vocal minority. I was so traumatized by the image of the ugly fart that I needed a full day to recover. And then the thought of seeing that ugly face again put off from coming back to this post.

    But here I am again ready to do battle with the idiotic few that include @happybi, @hetieshou and @jjwong. Let me put this as a challenge to you dumb asses.

    Why not gather an independent panel of say fifty persons and let them give their objective opinions on WCL’s looks. Better still if these fifty persons know nothing about HK actors. I can bet you fifty out of fifty will say WCL is bloody ugly. How can I be so sure? Because it is simply a fact that he is ugly. No matter how much you imbeciles try to collude and come up with some ludicrous defending, it remains a fact that WCL is damn bloody ugly. And SHORT too!

    Login or Register before you can reply to freedalas
    • jimmyszeto replied:

      @freedalas

      Short. Yes. But I’m sure there’s much uglier people around. You likely being one of them!

      Login or Register before you can reply to jimmyszeto
      • msxie0714 replied:

        @jimmyszeto

        freedalas must be bitter and jealous about WCL’s successful career and having the support of a loving wife. Insecure bullies have nothing better to do but pick on others to make themselves feel big.

        Login or Register before you can reply to msxie0714
    • unknown replied:

      @freedalas When will your foul mouth troll shut up? All you can do is go around trolling, insulting and attacking others. You’re just a jealous hater who have nothing better to do with your boring and pathetic life than start drama by putting other people down and attack anyone who you dislike.

      Login or Register before you can reply to unknown
    • ivan replied:

      @freedalas u say he have an ugly face but u have a goddamn ugly heart

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    • kidd replied:

      @freedalas Yes, he is short. But, I honestly don’t think he’s ugly. He is average looking. Not ugly, not handsome.

      But, according to Chinese physiognomy (face reading), WCL’s facial feature is actually a good fortune face, especially the nose. People who has this kind of nose is usually very prosperous.

      Login or Register before you can reply to kidd
  10. freedalas says:

    To all you dumb asses. Why keep repeating the same points? Why not pick up my challenge to seek the opinions of 50 independent persons on how WCL looks? Dare not isn’t it? You ball-less creatures.

    Login or Register before you can reply to freedalas
    • jimmyszeto replied:

      @freedalas

      How about you upload a photo of yourself and let us rate you? how about that?

      Login or Register before you can reply to jimmyszeto
      • happybi replied:

        @jimmyszeto Yikes no!! I do not want to see how this person looks like!! I want to keep the food in my stomach!! But then even if he/she does look good, it doesn’t matter as this person have a black heart and is as dumb as a doorknob.

        Login or Register before you can reply to happybi
      • hetieshou replied:

        @happybi
        Well said! I would throw up if I saw a photo of that thing. Already seeing the messages typed by that broken record is already enough to make us all sick to the stomach.

        Login or Register before you can reply to hetieshou
      • hetieshou replied:

        @jimmyszeto
        Good suggestion but I do not want to get sick and throw up….

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  11. coralie says:

    Tehee *popcorn time*

    Freedalas is such a troll; it’s funny to read her comments. First-timers would h8te her but I think she’s funny. You have to admit, she livens up this place.

    People will always gravitate towards extremes, like Donald Trump. But they’re so entertaining, even if you know they don’t make sense.

    Login or Register before you can reply to coralie
    • jimmyszeto replied:

      @coralie
      That’s exactly what freedalas wants you to think. Anybody can do what he does to seek attention, just that we choose not to.

      Login or Register before you can reply to jimmyszeto
      • coralie replied:

        @jimmyszeto as long as no one takes her seriously, what’s the harm? Also no one become trolls becus it takes more effort than it’s worth.

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      • jimmyszeto replied:

        @coralie

        you are right, i suppose

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  12. looooooooooo says:

    This midget is annoying . Overrated, superstar? U must be joking

    Login or Register before you can reply to looooooooooo
    • aiya replied:

      @looooooooooo Is freedala sick today and asked you to fill in? LOL!

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