Can China take a joke? The NYT Magazine examines the growing standup comedy scene in China, and its complicated relationship with traditional Chinese "cross-talk" performances, and modern Chinese society. [previously on metafilter]
Dashan represents or symbolizes something very powerful to a Chinese audience...[the] Chinese have a very complex and conflicting view of themselves and the world at large...Dashan represents a Westerner who appreciates and respects China, who has learned the language and understands the culture and has even become “more Chinese than the Chinese”. It’s a very powerful and reassuring image that appeals to very deep-rooted emotions.Mark Rowswell, aka "大山" Dà shān, the massively popular, Canadian-born 相声 xiàng sheng performer and celebrity in China, offers his own thoughts on his persona (mostly referring to it in third person), why the Chinese public is enamored with it, and why his fellow Western expats tend to resent it. [more inside]
How can one bit actor have hundreds of millions, perhaps over a billion adoring fans and yet be a virtual unknown in his native land? Ask Mark Rowswell, aka DaShan. In 1988, Rowswell won a scholarship to study Chinese at the prestigious Peking University. More than twenty years later he has one of the most recognizable faces in China. He's been awarded and investigated for his work in film, on stage, in television, in commercials and for charity. So just who the heck is he?