'I became vulnerable'

Home-grown film-maker Jack Neo may have achieved plenty of commercial success with his films, but the 54-year-old had a rough start during his early days.

This was particularly so when he performed as the cross-dressing Liang Po Po in local variety show Comedy Night in the late 1990s.

"It was very tough and pressurising. I constantly had to think of good punchlines and jokes, and had to think about having breakthroughs every week.

"I became vulnerable and easily depressed. Sometimes, I became very negative and would think: 'I make people laugh all the time, but if I am not happy in real life, then what's the point of being alive?'"

These days, Neo believes that his religion and his family help him through the difficult times.

He also immerses himself in work, deriving satisfaction when the audience enjoys his performance.

The father-of-four said: "I felt the happiest when my kids watched my Liang Po Po skits from the past and told me that they were very funny. It feels good to have that kind of validation."