Hossan Leong pays tribute to pioneer generation in new show

Hossan Leong will talk about how his dad shaped him in Hossan-Ah! Safe & Secure In His Leong Arms. -- PHOTO: DOUBLE CONFIRM PRODUCTIONS
Hossan Leong will talk about how his dad shaped him in Hossan-Ah! Safe & Secure In His Leong Arms. -- PHOTO: DOUBLE CONFIRM PRODUCTIONS

Comedian Hossan Leong will share stories on his growing up years, especially the influence his dad had on him

The name of Hossan Leong's new one-man show, Hossan-Ah! Safe & Secure In His Leong Arms, may be a play on his name, but he insists that it will not be just about himself.

"My show is about celebrating the people who have shaped me and that have made Singapore the way it is today," he says.

"This show is not about me as Hossan Leong."

In the intimate 90-minute show, the 45-year-old comedian will share tales of his growing-up years and his artistic influences - including his father, piano man Billy Joel, veteran local musician Dick Lee and even television shows from the 1970s to 1990s.

It will also be peppered with songs sung and played by Leong on the piano, an instrument he has been playing since he was six years old.

Hossan-Ah! Safe & Secure In His Leong Arms will be staged from Jan 28 by his one-year-old company, Double Confirm Productions.

This is the follow-up to last year's Celebrating 20 Leong Years, which marked his 20 years in the industry, though he says it is not meant to be an annual show.

The title is a play on "Hosanna", a name his mother planned to give him if he had been born a girl, and also the Christian cry of praise.

Those expecting socio-political humour in the same vein as the Dim Sum Dollies cabaret revue, The History Of Singapore Part 2, which he is now in - alongside actresses Selena Tan, Denise Tan and Pam Oei - will be disappointed.

"My show is not at all controversial. It's not risque. I want to stay away from all that - I am not here to rile anybody up," he says.

The Dollies' show received an Advisory 16 rating from the Media Development Authority because of its socio-political content.

Though Hossan-Ah! has yet to receive its licence from the authority, Leong is "very confident" it will pass without getting any advisory.

Fans of his good-natured brand of comedy can look forward to funny segments such as a parody on how to write Singapore's new National Day song and a test of the audience's "Singaporean-ness".

And with the show being staged at the start of Singapore's 50th year, it is fitting that he will pay homage to the pioneer generation - albeit in his own personal way.

Says Leong: "I want to talk about my dad. I am always saying 'Mum would always say this or do this' and people would ask, 'But where did you get the comedy from?'. That was from dad."

Leong shares that his father, 71, was the playful parent, compared with his mother who was stricter with the kids.

Both are now retired. Leong has a younger brother, Stanley, a civil servant.

"Dad would always say, 'You must study lah, but children must play also'," says Leong with a laugh.

"He shaped me into the person that I am. It's not about being an A-star student. It's about being a good person."

Besides paying tribute to the older generation, he is keen to help younger musicians by inviting them to play a pre-show set for his upcoming run.

So far, jazz singer Nathan Hartono has agreed to perform on one night.

Leong is hoping to get indie-folk band The Sam Willows and singer-songwriter Joel Tan, better known as Gentle Bones, involved as well.

"The older generation has done so much for us. The question is, 'What can we do for our future generations?'" he muses.

"I don't want it to be just about me. I want to find a reason to do what I do. It has to come from somewhere."

nabilahs@sph.com.sg