SeriousLee Superbusy

Mark Lee and Gurmit reunite onscreen after 11 years as the leading men of new local film Taxi! Taxi!. With co-star, YouTube kid sensation Dr. Jiajia (centre).

Local funnyman Mark Lee is one super busy bee.

Over the past year, the 43-year-old actor-host has been involved in three horror movies - 23:59, Twisted and the upcoming Greedy Ghost, which will open in cinemas on National Day.

The efferverscent star has also been hogging the small screen, hosting no less than eight infotainment programmes and talk shows on Channel 8, including Men's Talk, It's A Small World 3 and HomeMakeover 2.

And that's not all. Over on Malay channel Suria, Lee played an air-con technician who is a reformed Ah Beng in the recently-concluded sitcom Abang Ah Beng. Abang is Malay for brother.

On Channel 5, he'll be starring in the new comedy series Le Bisella Hause, about a motley crew of property agents. It premieres on Tuesday at 8.30pm.

And he will soon start filming new local flick Taxi! Taxi!, a buddy comedy that reunites him with fellow comedian Gurmit Singh on the big screen 11 years after their last collaboration One Leg Kicking.

"The past year has definitely been my busiest stretch in a long time," Lee told The New Paper.

"Besides entertainment, there is also my business venture which I have to look after... My hair salon business has recently expanded to Shanghai."

Lee co-owns the Monsoon Group, which runs a number of hair salons here.

While some might view his hectic schedule as an act of madness, the bespectacled star said he is "very happy" with having a mountain of things on his plate.

"I like to be busy and I think it's a good thing to be busy... I don't complain when my days are packed. It shows that I'm constantly improving as an artiste.

"If I don't have anything to do, it will mean that I'm getting stagnant in my career," he said.

Taxi! Taxi!, slated for a January 2013 release, follows the trials and tribulations of a retrenched microbiologist, Professor Chua (played by Gurmit), as he decides to drive a taxi after failing to get a job. He befriends veteran cabby Ah Tau (Lee), who is his polar opposite.

Lee - who's the co-owner of the Old Town White Coffee franchise here and co-founder of Galaxy Entertainment, a production and artiste management company - hopes to expand his range as a celebrity.

Explaining his decision to continue branching out into Suria and Channel 5 despite the obvious language barriers ("Everyone knows my English is half-past-six"), Lee said he was motivated by the prospect of reaching out to a wider audience.

"After Abang Ah Beng premiered (last month), the next morning I was out walking on the streets, Malay folks were calling me Abang Ah Beng," he said with a smile.

Behind the scenes, he is also stretching himself by taking on a new role - as executive producer of Greedy Ghost.

"Fifty-five years later, I cannot possibly be still on television, doing the same 'hee hee ha ha' stuff, right?" said Lee.

"That's why I'm starting to invest in movies... Greedy Ghost was a good experience. I had to fly to Hong Kong to deal with some of the business aspects of the film."

Surely he has pampered himself after working so hard?

We couldn't help but notice that Lee has "upgraded" his car.

When quizzed about his swanky Porsche Panamera, he chuckled and brushed off talk that he had splurged on his ride as a way to reward himself.

"I've been driving this for 11/2 years already. I used to drive a Toyota Estima," hesaid.

"I've always loved cars and I don't really indulge in other forms of entertainment besides catching movies and hanging out with my kids."

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