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主题: Joe Wang的单口相声在美国能赢得哄堂大笑,在中国却没人笑, 呵呵
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作者 Joe Wang的单口相声在美国能赢得哄堂大笑,在中国却没人笑, 呵呵   
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文章标题: Joe Wang的单口相声在美国能赢得哄堂大笑,在中国却没人笑, 呵呵 (2927 reads)      时间: 2010-4-13 周二, 02:07   

作者:ceo/cfo海归商务 发贴, 来自【海归网】 http://www.haiguinet.com

So a Chinese Guy Walks Into a Bar, And Says He's Irish—Get It?
It Might Depend on Where You Live; Comedian Stumps the Crowd in China

By CAROLYN CUI
No comedian wants to bomb in front of a big crowd. But Joe Wong, a chemist turned comic, is having a tough time with an audience of 1.3 billion.

When the 40-year-old Mr. Wong played the "Late Show With David Letterman" last year, people cracked up when he walked out and said, "Hi, everybody….So, I'm Irish." That appearance launched him on a tour of clubs around the U.S.

Yet in China, where Mr. Wong grew up, people were puzzled from the start. "How come the first sentence, 'I'm Irish,' can make Americans laugh?" one viewer asked in the comments on a subtitled video circulating in China. Because everybody in America is from Ireland, someone theorized. "It has nothing to do with that," said a third. It's because being "Irish itself is hilarious."

China Central Television, the biggest TV network in the country, deemed his success in the U.S. curious enough that it dedicated a special program to him in December. The peg: He's the Chinese scientist who makes Americans laugh. While CCTV declared that Mr. Wong's success proves "humor has no boundaries," it concluded the program without showing any of his jokes.

Mr. Wong's first live gig in Beijing, in late 2008, was "not successful," he says. In America, he says, it's funny to poke fun at yourself. But in China, there's no humor in misfortune. The audience struggled to grasp the punch lines, and Mr. Wong recalls looking out on the blank faces of a "polite but serious" crowd.

"That was an unfunny routine," says Ding Guangquan, a Chinese comedian, who invited Mr. Wong to perform there.

One of the jokes he told at Beijing's Haidian Theater, Mr. Wong says, was about parking: "I'm not good at sports, but I love parallel parking. Because unlike sports, when I am parallel parking, the worse you are, the more people are rooting for you."

That didn't get as many laughs in China as it does in the U.S., probably because Chinese drivers park wherever they want to, he says.

A widely followed blogger in China on cultural issues, He Caitou, says he decided not to recommend Mr. Wong to his 500,000 subscribers. His jokes are impossible for ordinary Chinese to get, he says. "If jokes need footnotes, it won't be funny at all," he says. "Except for his look, how else can we relate to him?"

Mr. Wong came to the U.S. in 1994, at 24, and earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry at Rice University. In 2001, he saw his first stand-up show. He was fascinated, but "only got half the jokes," he says. He took adult-education classes in stand-up comedy and started performing, while holding a day job as a researcher for a pharmaceutical company.

Mr. Wong isn't the first, of course, to find humor doesn't translate. Judy Carter, an American comedian and author of "The Comedy Bible," says she bombed when she did a gig for a Chinese audience in California. To set up a joke, she opened with "I just broke up with my boyfriend..." A collective sigh of sadness emanated around the room, she says.

Before a recent show in Hong Kong, Ms. Carter's hosts gave her a few rules of thumb: no physical comedy—it's not ladylike; no joking about the economy—too depressing; no riffs on marriage—too personal. And absolutely no dog jokes, lest she cast aspersions on Chinese eating habits.

She settled on a neutral topic—frustrations with newfangled technology. "Everyone hates technology," she says.

For generations, Chinese have enjoyed "Cross-Talk," a scripted routine typically with two comedians verbally jousting, eventually winding its way to a punch line.

But Cross-Talk is slowly losing its audience, says Wu Wenke, director of the folklore institute at the Chinese Academy of Arts in Beijing. Some productions that were once big hits are now considered vulgar and are banned by the government. Cross-Talk shows are "a disappointment," says Mr. Wu.

Younger audiences are starting to warm to the stand-up style, with a Chinese twist. There are footnotes: after the punch line comes an explanation of why it's funny.

In Shanghai, Zhou Libo's stand-up show has become a top event. His repertoire spans global warming, growing up poor and, that perennial crowd-pleaser, China's emergence as a global economic power.

He jokes about China's massive purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds: "I am really confused about why a poor guy lends money to the rich. We should just divide the money amongst ourselves," he says. "But on a second thought, each of us would only get a couple of dollars!" Then Mr. Zhou adds: "Because the population is so big."

While Mr. Wong has been panned in China, he has fans among English-speaking Chinese. On an Internet forum for Chinese living abroad, one person said his jokes accentuate stereotypes. Others defended him, with one saying he shows that not all Chinese are "paper nerds."

Last month, Mr. Wong performed before Vice President Joe Biden in Washington, earning a standing ovation at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner. To prepare, he read Mr. Biden's biography, he told the crowd, and, after meeting him, declared: "I think the book is much better."

Mr. Wong's approach is scientific. He tests hundreds of jokes in small venues: "Just like screening out cancer-related genes, sometimes only one out of 100 jokes is funny," he says.

And maybe even fewer in China.

Back home, Mr. Wong's dad is among those puzzled by his success. Huang Longji, who lives in an industrial city near China's border with North Korea, says he is proud of his son, but a career in comedy isn't what the retired engineer expected for his son.

"It's just like a black hen lays a white egg," he said.

作者:ceo/cfo海归商务 发贴, 来自【海归网】 http://www.haiguinet.com









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