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The Super Trio Series (獎門人)
Photograph: Courtesy VCG

7 classic variety shows every Hongkonger has watched

Remember all the catchphrases?

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
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Sure, Korean variety shows are what everyone seems to be going crazy for these days, but remember the shows that you grew up watching – Hong Kong variety shows? Yes, these shows may be old-school, and they certainly don’t feature any of your favourite K-pop idols, but one thing’s for sure – they’ve brightened up countless nights of many Hongkongers' lives. So, before throwing yourself back into the arms of K-dramas and new Netflix shows, join us as we take a moment to reminisce about some of Hong Kong’s best variety shows. By Natalie Lam

Recommended: Down for a local production marathon? These 16 iconic Hong Kong TV dramas have to be next on your list. Or if you want something from the big screen instead, check out our list of the 100 best movies in Hong Kong.

7 variety shows every Hongkonger has watched

The Super Trio Series (獎門人)

Hosted by the city’s favourite MC Eric Tsang, The Super Trio Series is one of the longest-running variety shows in Hong Kong. Airing for 18 years, this game show has sent us into countless fits of laughter with some of the most nonsensical games. We don’t know about you, but it was hard for us to watch it all come to an end in 2014. The cast made a short return with a new variety show I Love Hong Kong in 2016, but nothing could beat all those uproarious moments of the original show. Even if you didn't know all the lyrics to the theme song, you would definitely remember how every episode always ended with a 'draw'. It's simply impossible for any true Hongkonger to not know the show's catchphrase –  "Super!"

Enjoy Yourself Tonight (歡樂今宵)

Don't worry, there's no way we would forget about the show that started it all. As the godfather of all Hong Kong variety shows, Enjoy Yourself Tonight involved not only games but also short dramas, singing performances, and dancing. It's basically Hong Kong's own version of Saturday Night Live. Debuting in 1967, EYT was the first live television show in Hong Kong to be aired in colour. With an impressive 27-year run, the show stood beside Hongkongers through numerous ups and downs, bringing joy to the city throughout its 6,613 episodes. The show was also legendary for starring some of the biggest names in showbiz, including Stephen Chow, who jumpstarted his career from this very show, Chau Yun-fat, Anita Mui, and even a guest appearance from the late great casino tycoon Stanley Ho.

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Beautiful Cooking (美女廚房)

Every ‘best variety shows’ list always includes some sort of cooking show, and for Hong Kong, it has got to be Beautiful Cooking. In every episode, three female celebrities would be invited to compete in a two-round cooking competition to see who would be crowned as the next culinary queen. The twist is, though many of these celebrities are known for their beauty, their cooking skills may not be as alluring. For those who take cooking seriously, the many questionable recipes and disastrous cooking mishaps may make this show hard to watch, but for the rest of us, it was damn entertaining to watch.

Minutes to Fame (殘酷一叮)

Inspired by the well-known US talent show American Idol, this program welcomed passionate performers from all walks of life to showcase their talents and get their 15 minutes (or less) of fame on stage. From acts as simple as singing, to crazy acrobatics, the impressive performances became one of the city’s best weekly entertainments not without some laugh-out-loud, #fail moments, of course. Along with the savage wits of the MCs, the show was a big hit in Hong Kong and definitely deserves a place on this list.

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Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (係咪小兒科)

The title of the show pretty much says it all. Based on the American programme of the same name, this quiz game show, hosted by Canto-pop singer Leo Ku, has put every Hongkonger’s brains to the test. In each episode, a celebrity is invited as a contestant and challenged to answer questions of various subjects, with each question associated with a level of difficulty ranging from primary school year one to five. We loved playing along and answering questions at home to see if we’re really smarter than a fifth-grader. Sadly, we never did very well. Did you?

Fun with Liza and Gods (荃加福祿壽)

Starring the forever-diva Liza Wang and three talented comedians Luis Yuen, Johnson Lee, and Wong Cho-lam, this variety show was the perfect entertainment for a Sunday family night. With a different theme each week, the comedic trio thrilled us with creative impersonations of iconic movie characters, famous singers, and the hottest celebrities at the time – remember how Wong Cho-lam transformed himself into Lady Tiger (an imitation of superstar Lady Gaga)? If you’ve watched the show, you’d know that describing it as extremely hilarious would be an understatement. 

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Neighbourhood Treasures (千奇百趣)

This classic variety show was so fun to watch. From remote Japanese neighbourhoods to our dearest hometown Hong Kong (a city we thought we knew everything about), this series has shown us some of the most bizarre things that the world has to offer. Who would have thought waiters dressed up as monkeys could be a restaurant's main attraction? Have you ever seen a tree with a face? What about a dog with eyebrows? Every episode had something eye-popping to see, mind-boggling to even imagine, and never failed to leave us in awe.

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