He became famous in Australia as The Happiest Refugee; and as an extremely talented writer, comedian and painter. But the multi-skilled Anh has another string to his bow that few can match: the ability to get his celebrity talk show guests to relax enough to reveal things about themselves that no one has ever heard before.
Back on the ABC and iView with another series of his chat and art show, Anh’s Brush with Fame, the star’s latest project sees him encouraging the likes of Terri Irwin and Adam Goodes to bare their souls – often with highly emotional results.
In one episode, Terri breaks down in floods of tears as she recalls in vivid, emotional detail the direct aftermath of the death of her husband Steve, and in another, footy icon Adam Goodes tells of the devastating tragedies that have rocked his family and his life.
‘We film the show over two-to-four hours, and so the guest just sits there, and chats for that time,’ says Anh, in a highly revealing interview on this week’s episode of WHO’s TV podcast, Binge List.
‘Over three hours of having a yarn, I’m bound to get some good stuff – I’ll put it down to that.
‘There’s no audience there – my guest doesn’t have to perform, there’s no pressure. It’s a very relaxed setting.’
That includes selecting staff who are going to create the right atmosphere for his guests.
‘I handpick my crew of amazing men and women and I tell them, your main job today, other than being the camera man, is to make the guest feel at ease. And that’s something we talk before each and every guest arrives.’
Anh reveals that one of his guests this season, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, has a medical condition where he finds it hard to recognise faces.
‘He told him that it took him ages to even recognise his wife,’ Anh explains to Binge List. ‘He’d been dating this girl, and sort of trained himself, "that’s my girlfriend".
‘I was very nervous about spinning the painting around and have him recognise that’s him.’