Business as usual for Gurmit and Mark
The Straits Times Life!
IF HOME-GROWN comedians Mark Lee and Gurmit Singh had their way, they would make movies together every year.
Lee, 45, says in Mandarin: "Every Chinese New Year, people look forward to seeing a Jack Neo movie. Maybe Gurmit and I should make movies around December every year, so that audiences can have something else to look forward to on the calendars."
He was speaking alongside Singh, 48, at a joint interview at InterContinental Singapore to promote their third movie collaboration, Everybody's Business.
The comedy, which opens in cinemas tomorrow, is their second collaboration this year alone, following Kelvin Sng's hit local flick, Taxi! Taxi!, in January, which made $1.45 million at the box office.
Says Singh with a laugh: "It's amazing that we're not sick of each other yet. It's great that, even though we are being paired together again, we are always creating something new for audiences. We don't just do the same thing over and over again."
The duo's first film together was back in 2001: the football comedy-drama One Leg Kicking.
In Everybody's Business, the two play civil servants working at the new Ministry of Toilets, whose jobs are to go around Singapore checking on toilet hygiene as well as come up with new ideas on how to improve it.
Singh plays the strait-laced, no-nonsense one, while Lee is the more outspoken brown-noser who is unafraid of bullying others to get his way.
Lee says that if they had switched roles, the film "would not work as well".
"Our roles really suit us somehow, because they are pretty much how we are in real life. Gurmit is very principled and I like to bully people at the workplace," he adds in jest.
"No, but more seriously, I think it just goes to show that, even though we're both comedians, we offer different types of comedy performances. That is why, even when telling jokes in general, there is no rivalry between us.
"Sometimes, I will think of a good joke, but I will ask Gurmit to say it instead, because I think it's funnier if he does. Other times, he'll do that for me. It's a perfect partnership."
Despite the language barrier between them - Lee speaks mostly in Mandarin and Singh in English - the two displayed easy chemistry at the interview, often poking fun at one another and finishing each other's sentences in a mix of both languages, as well as a smattering of Hokkien.
The two actors point out that, amazingly, nothing gets lost in translation between them.
Singh says: "We just get each other. Maybe it's also because we share the same hobbies and we progressed through life at the same pace...
"We don't see each other all the time. But, as soon as we get together for work again, we immediately pick things up from where we left off."
Everybody's Business opens in cinemas tomorrow.