Jun 21, 2012|
I’ve got a kickass mother. Growing up, she took me on holidays and we went to places in Malaysia, Thailand… and she’s a single mom too, so I suppose she had to take me with her. She is the lady of my life. She is fucking awesome.
My mom is British [from Newcastle]. My father is originally from Shanghai but moved out to Hong Kong. I’m a Hong Kong boy through and through.
From a very young age, I was very into music and performing. As a kid, I would rearrange the cushions on the sofa and get a pair of chopsticks out and put on Phil Collins or something and start pretending to play drums.
I played violin for a little bit, I don’t know why. For me, and my kind of persona, it just doesn’t fit. When I got into secondary school, I decided I wanted to take up drums. So I asked my music teacher, and he gave me one of the best teachers around, a guy called Malcolm Brashear, who was then the principal timpanist at the Hong Kong Philharmonic.
As a result, I’m [now] in a band. We’re called Uranus. All the members of the band are in the media industry.
What I consider work, a lot of other people consider having fun. I’m kinda like a professional footballer. I get to play a sport that I love and I’m good at, and I get paid to do it.
When Giuliana Rancic came on TV and announced, “We’re auditioning. How would you like to be the host of E! News Asia?” I had to audition just like everybody else you know. The audition process was held in Singapore and Malaysia, but the casting call was region-wide. As I understand it, we [even] had people from Australia come to audition.
I think it’s a combination of things [that landed me the job]. As far as TV presenters go, I don’t claim to be the best or above anyone else. But I had a background in entertainment: I was with Channel V for five years; I was no stranger to reading off teleprompters, no stranger to ad-libbing and basically coming up with stuff on the spot should something drastically wrong happen.
When I went to the States in 2011, I met one of my heroes [a celebrity that Lau wouldn’t name]. He said, “So when you host your show in Asia, do you host your show in English or do you host in Asian?” How do you tell a celebrity, “You’re a douche?”
One of the problems [when doing TV interviews] is you’re told you’ve got five minutes. You’re here with Nicole Kidman—you can’t sit there and break into it and go “How was the flight?” It feels very un-intimate, very rude. I like to keep it conversational.
The biggest tip I ever got that made my job so easy was from a former colleague. I remember it was my first junket and it was in Los Angeles, and they sent me to cover “Superman Returns.” The very first interview I had was with Kevin Spacey. Talk about being chucked into the deep end. Paula [Malai Ali, former VJ at Channel V] said, “Don’t worry about it. If all else fails, remember this—yeah, they’re celebrities, but their shit smells, too.” Instantly I’m thinking about Madonna wiping her ass.
Mind you, when I walked into the room and saw Kevin Spacey sitting there, I wasn’t picturing him taking a shit. I was nervous. I was sweating. I leaned over and I said, “This is my first time.” And then he put his hand on my lap and he said, “I’ll be gentle.” We did the interview—he was very, very cool—and afterwards, he shook my hand. [He told me:] “That was very, very good for your first time. I’m glad that it was me that you got your cherry popped to.”
Particularly with females, I put on the charm. Flirt a little if need be. It’s all part and parcel of somebody’s technique.
Ryan Seacrest: my hero, the guy I aspire to become. I did not give myself that name [“Asia’s Ryan Seacrest”], by the way. It’s very flattering, but at the same time it’s also a little bit embarrassing because I host one show. He hosts American Idol, E! News, the red carpets at the Oscars and Grammys no less. But that’s not to say I don’t want to follow in his footsteps. When I go to LA this summer, one of the people I want to get in touch with again is Ryan, to have coffee with him. Tell me your secrets, dude.
Daniel Wu is a great dude. I’ve hung out with him a few times, and he’s every bit as nice and friendly and cool as people make him out to be. Lisa S. [Wu’s wife, a former Channel V VJ] is lovely, with a great sense of humor.
Ryan Seacrest has RSP, Ryan Seacrest Productions. As of yesterday, I established DJL Productions. So this is an open call to the very cool, quirky and creative people of Hong Kong. If you’ve got any show ideas or you want to become part of this company and create TV shows, drop me a line!
Follow Dom Lau on twitter @dom_lau.