Comedy in China

7 May

This decent Atlantic story checks out if stand-up comedy can grow in popularity in China, where cultural differences, lack of familiarity and censorship (yes, even of comedy) hinder the full appreciation of this art. Da Shan, or Canadian Mark Roswell, one of China’s most famous expats who has performed in traditional xiansheng or crosstalk, and Joe Wong, a Chinese who actually gained fame for his nerdish comedy while living in the US, are among the few trying to get things rolling by putting on comedy shows. Things sometimes don’t work well when Western humor gets translated into and performed in Chinese, but there are younger Chinese who seem to like it. The authorities still loom menacingly in the background, figuratively speaking, as Chinese comedian Mia Li says about rules for performing, “you just put on shows until you get arrested.”  And as amusing as that might sound, that’s not a joke.

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2 Responses to “Comedy in China”

  1. Ray H May 7, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    The best comedy is subversive, here’s hoping China can have more and more of that…

    I need to go check out those standup shows in town!

    • hcyip May 9, 2014 at 9:27 am #

      Yes, being able to joke about one’s own society, culture and country is key to standup comedy. Do check out those shows and write about it if possible.

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