Chen Han Dian is unfortunate proof that one doesn’t need a degree in order to work in the TV industry. The Taiwanese comedian began his career in the popular variety show Mr Con & Ms Csi as a mere mock massage boy for hostess Dee Hsu in 2007.
“I was so shy around her that I couldn’t even touch her. I just silently rubbed the sofa for the entire episode,” said Chen, 26.
Three years on since he joined the show as an “assistant host”, Chen’s on-screen character has made little progress.
He has to perform endless, strange and often demeaning tasks for the show’s demanding hosts.
He must bend himself into the shape of a bench so that the show’s guests can sit down to change their shoes; he must stand idly while his face is used as a score board. Unfortunately for Chen, the camera “misses” most of his jokes.
On one occasion, however, he was lucky enough to get some air time. Ironically, the scene involved him getting kicked by Hsu’s brutal pointed stilettos.
The punishment, however, seems to have been worthwhile. Chen has now appeared in two star-studded movies with A-listed actors and has been voted the sixth most popular male star among college students. He is living proof of the power of silence.
When asked about the key to his success, Chen said it’s about tolerance. Any other newcomer would surely slam the door on such treatment and leave the show–and its embarrassments–behind. Chen, however, chose to wait.
“I know it is just for a laugh. I just focus on my role and wait, making sure that I appear worth watching every time the camera accidentally catches me, even if it’s only for a second,” he said.
Chen said that newcomers usually think too much, and are paralyzed by the fear of making mistakes. His suggestion? “Think less and just focus on what you are told to do.”
“I worried about whether or not I should say this or that,” said Chen. “But the tempo of the show was quick. Whenever I hesitated, suddenly the whole show was over.”
It was just this awkwardness, however, coupled with the quick-witted humor of the hosts that generated many unexpected laughs.
This led to Chen finding his own style and voice. “To attract the camera, I tried thinking out of the box,” said Chen.
As a result, we saw such incongruous sights as an underprivileged old man spiing on the floor and a grumpy granny firing off kungfu kicks. Neither were written on the director’s rundown, but the unusual actions brought unexpected results, and have become the show’s new signature.
Although Chen’s path to stardom is rather unusual, hard work has still been a watchword. During his climb up the showbiz ladder, he spent time every day observing how other entertainers went about their business.
Despite his success, Chen still harbors doubts about his career.
“I sometimes can’t find my place in the program–I am neither the host nor the guest. So who am I? Why am I here?” said Chen.
Fortunately, he can find a reason. “It’s no good if the show goes smoothly. It’s the glitches which produce the jokes.” It seems that the joke is no longer on Chen.
variety show 综艺节目
paralyze 使瘫痪, 使麻痹
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