Old antics set stage for new comedy

Updated: 2012-12-12 14:28

(China Daily)

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Cross-talk is a traditional Chinese comedic performance that originated during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It's usually performed as a dialogue between two people, or - less often - as a monologue or with several speakers.

The earliest cross-talk comedian known by name is Zhang Sanlu, who performed in the mid-19th century.

Some of the most famous performers include Ma Sanli (1914-2003) and Hou Baolin (1917-93), whose works were popular nationwide thanks to radio and TV.

Old antics set stage for new comedy Old antics set stage for new comedy

Ancient Chinese architectural woodcarving components

Night of Kunqu Opera 

In the 1980s and '90s, the popularity of a variety of entertainment forms subdued the status of cross-talk.

But there has been a revival of the genre since the late '90s, when more performers started staging shows in small theaters.

Guo Degang founded Deyun Co in 1996 and rose to national fame in 2004. Other active young cross-talk performers include Wang Zijian and Gao Xiaopan.


Old antics set stage for new comedy

Funny business

Comedian Guo Degang is laughing all the way to the bank as his cross-talk empire internationalizes.