S1E2: The story of Kangxi Coming, the little Taiwanese talk show heard around the world

  • 24 May 2024

How a variety talk show with one of the oddest hosting pairings became one of the most successful in the Chinese language entertainment scene.

Synopsis: How Did We Get Here is a new scripted series under the #PopVultures banner, which will take a look in each episode about a celebrity, a band or the cast of a movie or film that made an impact on Asian entertainment and how they got to where they are now.

If you follow Chinese-language entertainment, there is a good chance you have heard of the variety series Kang Xi Lai Le, also known as Mr Con & Ms Csi or Kangxi Coming. 

The light-hearted Taiwanese talk show, which ran from 2004 till 2016, is easily one of the most successful talk shows of all time in Chinese-language entertainment - a staple of Taiwanese television that continues to make people laugh even eight years after the end of its run.

The show began as a wacky experiment, by pairing the intellectual and cultured Kevin Tsai and the wild, funny Dee Hsu as hosts in one programme. Their chemistry was magic and the show consistently maintained high ratings throughout its run. 

Not only was it a hot spot for celebrities to come on and promote themselves and their projects, the show even attracted personalities like politicians - former Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou and social commentator, critic and historian Li Ao. 

Even with its varied line-up of guests, the hosts never switched up their style - a mix of inane and sometimes raunchy questions about underwear and farts, lots of banter and good-natured mocking. 

Now, 20 years after its debut and eight years after its last of close to 3,000 episodes aired, its legacy and impact remain - with some clips of the show going viral even today. Many fans are still clamouring for the show to make a comeback.

#PopVultures host Jan Lee discusses exactly how we got here.

Highlights (click/tap above):

0:00 Introduction and an update about a possible Kangxi Coming relaunch

4:19 The show’s inception and how complete opposites Kevin Tsai and Dee Hsu came to be paired together

12:50 The first episode of Kangxi Coming and why it became so popular

17:33 The show’s evolution over the years and the introduction of assistant host Hank Chen

23:31 How Kangxi Coming managed to capture Chinese audiences despite a tight budget

29:49 The show coming to an end

34:53 Kangxi Coming’s resounding legacy till today

37:15 What are Dee Hsu, Kevin Tsai and Hank Chen up to today?

Produced by: Jan Lee (janlee@sph.com.sg) and Amirul Karim

Edited by: Amirul Karim

Follow #PopVultures Podcast episodes here every month: 

Channel: https://str.sg/JWad

Apple Podcasts: https://str.sg/JWaA

Spotify: https://str.sg/JWaP 

Feedback to: podcast@sph.com.sg

Follow Jan Lee on Instagram: https://str.sg/Jbxc

Read Jan Lee's articles: https://str.sg/Jbxp


Discover more ST podcast channels:

All-in-one ST Podcasts channel: https://str.sg/wvz7 

The Usual Place: https://str.sg/wEr7u

COE Watch: https://str.sg/iTtE

Asian Insider: https://str.sg/JWa7

Health Check: https://str.sg/JWaN

Green Pulse: https://str.sg/JWaf

Your Money & Career: https://str.sg/wB2m

Hard Tackle: https://str.sg/JWRE

#PopVultures: https://str.sg/JWad

Music Lab: https://str.sg/w9TX


ST Podcast website: http://str.sg/stpodcasts

ST Podcasts YouTube: https://str.sg/4Vwsa


Special edition series:

True Crimes Of Asia (6 eps): https://str.sg/i44T

The Unsolved Mysteries of South-east Asia (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuZ2

Invisible Asia (9 eps): https://str.sg/wuZn

Stop Scams (10 eps): https://str.sg/wuZB

Singapore's War On Covid (5 eps): https://str.sg/wuJa


Get The Straits Times' app, which has a dedicated podcast player section:

The App Store: https://str.sg/icyB

Google Play: https://str.sg/icyX


See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.