China / Society

Comedian brings funny business to Forbidden City

(China Daily) Updated: 2012-12-12 00:45

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

Comedian Guo Degang caused a sensation when he appeared in the Forbidden City on a recent afternoon, as tourists from all over China crowded around to snap photos.

It was Guo's second visit to the ancient site. His first trip was made during his childhood.

Comedian brings funny business to Forbidden City

Comedian brings funny business to Forbidden City

Photos Provided to China Daily

He often incorporates the Forbidden City into his shows but hadn't had time to visit since settling in Beijing 16 years ago.

His recent trip to the imperial palace was to accompany his friend Daniel Andrews, the Australian Labor Party state leader in Victoria, whom he met in Melbourne two years ago. It was Andrews' first trip to China.

Guo keeps busy as one of China's most famous cross-talk (or xiangsheng, a form of traditional Chinese comedy) performers. He flies around the country every week to appear at performances, on TV shows and at other events.

He says he was happy to have the chance to guide Andrews between flying from Jiangsu's provincial capital Nanjing the day before and Shaanxi's provincial capital Xi'an the day after.

Andrews says his friendship with Guo will probably make him more popular in Victoria, which has a large Chinese population.

Australia is the first foreign country Guo has performed, in 2010 and 2011. This year, he has performed with his Deyun Co in New Zealand, Canada and the United States.

While only Chinese expatriates attend these overseas shows because of the language barrier, nearly all of them sell out in advance.

"I've found a big overseas market, because there aren't many chances for Chinese who live abroad to see cross-talk," he says.

"Performing anywhere in the world is the same to me. I'd like to tour more overseas."

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