When Chinese Crosstalk Meets American Talkshow
----Confucius Institute of the State of Washington Holds Lecture and Special Performance on Chinese Crosstalk Art
On Feb. 1st, local time, the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington invited Jesse Appell, a famous American crosstalk comedian and comic performer, to give a lecture and a special performance on Chinese crosstalk art in the Communication Building of the University of Washington. Over 60 teachers and students of the University of Washington watched the activity.
Jesse Appell, who is a disciple of Ding Guangquan, the famous Chinese crosstalk master, not only hosts the “US-China Comedy Center” in Beijing now, but also goes around the world to perform crosstalk from time to time. Having thousands of fans, he has a unique understanding of the essence of the crosstalk art, the similarities and differences between Chinese and American comic arts and even those between both cultures.
Jesse introducing his performance in China
Dressed in the traditional long gown, Jesse Appell introduced the history, performance characteristics, attractiveness and others of crosstalk in English. Of course, the highlight was his authentic crosstalk performed in Chinese. The handsome foreign guy with blonde hair and blue eyes mastered the secret of Chinese crosstalk, that is, lines, imitating, amusement and singing (four basic skills in crosstalk) and the roles in crosstalk. During the performance, Jesse Appell projected the carefully-prepared English subtitles of the performance on the big screen behind him, which not only fully displays the traditional Chinese art, but also help the audience to understand and enjoy Chinese humor. The whole event, which lasted for one and a half hours, reached one climax after another and was enveloped in constant laughter and applause.
The Secret of Comedy
Besides traditional crosstalk, Jesse Appell also integrated crosstalk with American comedy to convey the image of China from an American’s perspective. For example, “Mo Money Mo development” “Reimbursing” and other rap songs described every aspect of the contemporary social life of China from a foreigner’s perspective and enriched the audience’s understanding of the developing China with American contemporary music.
Audience watching performance attentively
In the interactive section, many people posed questions to Jesse Appell. When asked “What makes you stay that long in China?”, he firstly replied: “Are you my mom?” in an exaggerated surprise, provoking a storm of laughter. Then seriously and emotionally, he shared his life, learning and career development in China, especially the respect to his crosstalk master, the opportunities brought by Chinese and crosstalk, and his strong identification of China and Chinese culture. It was his sincere emotions among the words that moved the entire audience.
Jesse Appell’s visit upon invitation to the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington is part of the series activities for Spring Festival. Besides the Chinese crosstalk lecture and performance in the University of Washington, he would hold many lectures and performances in the cooperative Confucius Institutes in Washington State, including University of Puget Sound, Evergreen State College and Shoreline Community College. From grand martial arts performances, auspicious and joyous Spring Festival Gala in the University of Washington to exquisite crosstalk shows, the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington presented colorful Chinese culture to the teachers and students of the University of Washington and local people, ringing in the Chinese Year of the Rooster together with locals.