Quan Yifeng says her talk show Hear U Out does not aim to make celebs cry
Mediacorp talk show Hear U Out may be known for making its guests cry – from actress Fann Wong to blogger queen Xiaxue – but veteran host Quan Yifeng says that has never been the intention.
The programme (2020 to present) returned for its fourth season on Sept 7 and is available on mewatch.
When asked if the show tries to get its guests to tear up, Quan jumps to its defence.
In an e-mail interview with The Straits Times, the 49-year-old replies in Chinese: “I think that’s a limiting question that has a subjective view that we’re doing this on purpose, which isn’t true.
“There’s a long discussion before any interview, and we’re trying to help the artistes open up gradually and feel comfortable sharing their stories with us. Who has a completely smooth-sailing life? Who doesn’t have grievances or regrets? It’s all genuine when they get emotional.”
And the tears are certainly real for Quan, who says she has become more prone to crying in recent years.
“Talking with the artistes face to face really makes me feel their pain,” she adds.
“I tend to see the younger crop of stars the way I see my own daughter. I’m easily touched when I see them try hard at something, or when something bad happens to them, or when they’re really mature for their age.”
Quan’s daughter with her former husband, actor Peter Yu, is actress Eleanor Lee. The 23-year-old is pursuing a career in China.
The first two seasons of Hear U Out won Quan the Star Award for Best Programme Host in 2021 and 2022.
Instead of interviewing local personalities, the latest season focuses on foreign guests.
The line-up comprises Taiwanese actress Ruby Lin, singer Eric Chou and host Bowie Tsang; Cantopop trio Grasshopper; and Hong Kong entertainment power couple Julian Cheung and Anita Yuen, as well as actors Him Law and Wong Cho-lam, who is now the chief creative officer of Hong Kong broadcaster TVB.
In a previous interview with Lianhe Zaobao, Quan praised the forthrightness of Lin, who met all of her questions with straight answers. She also noted how Chou seemed nervous before the filming.
But not every chat goes well.
“I’ve had on three different guests who are usually really humorous and entertaining, but something about the pacing of our interviews was off and it made me feel really disappointed in myself,” Quan says, without naming them.
As for one of her toughest interviews, she points to her chat with five-time Star Award winner for Best Actress Huang Biren, who shared her philosophy of quickly snapping in and out of character.
“She’s a very cool and frank person, but on the finer points of acting, her views took me some time to understand, so she’s the only one I interviewed from day till night. You can see the sky going dark through the windows of our set,” she says.
Meanwhile, Quan says her interview with actor Chen Hanwei is among her favourites.
In the episode, he shared funny anecdotes about unnatural styles of acting he had seen and teased Quan about her English ability.
She says: “It made me laugh till I was on the floor with my stomach cramping. He just made me feel really relaxed.”
- Hear U Out is available on mewatch.