Zhang Jiuling, Wang Jiulong bring modern humor to traditional comedy

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While they look like they could be the latest boyband duo, Zhang Jiuling and Wang Jiulong are a crosstalk duo known for their poetry, high output of original works, and synchronized kuaiban.

First you slander, then you apologize.  Then, stand on high moral ground and evaluate everything, and you’ll get famous. I even wrote the press release.
“I, Wang Jiulong, has attacked plenty of celebrities and now my life is in danger, but my partner deserves none of the blame. …
Sure I’m just a comedian, but if I weren’t trying to promote our culture, increase national pride, and reduce the influx of foreign influences, I wouldn’t have been going around slandering people. On first sight, my crosstalk works are spreading joy and love, but on the grand scale of things, they’re letting the world know what is Made in China.”

-Zhang Jiuling teaching Wang Jiulong how to be famous in their satire

Meet the latest and hippest duo in town as they debuted on TV this summer.  While other xiangsheng/crosstalk artists like Zhang Yunlei specialize in traditional arts,  25-year-old Zhang Jiuling and 24-year-old Wang Jiulong are on top of the latest trends. In addition to releasing their own rap song with The Rap of China’s Hui Zi, their newest original piece is a brilliant satire of ways to get famous in the entertainment world with digs at artists who beef for fame and those who use “made in China” as an excuse for poor quality. If you follow Chinese entertainment, it’s hilarious and full of memorable lines such as  “How will people get to know your comedy if you don’t have a tragic backstory?”

Here are some random facts about them:

  • The two are great at synchronized kuaiban, but have also tried rapping with beatbox. Watch a segment of their kuaiban below and one of their best skits with kuaiban with Chinese subtitles here. More  Chinese subtitled programs here, though my favorite program of theirs is definitely their unsubtitled entertainment industry skit here.
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What happens when two brides show up for a wedding with the same guy? They fall in love with each other, of course!

Known for its accessibility, humor, and charm, Flowers as Matchmakers 花为媒 is often considered the best film adapted from Chinese operas. It ranks in the top 20 of all mainland films on audience review site Douban, and it’s apparent from start why the film is so highly praised.

  The script by Cheng Zhaocai and Wu Zuguang packs the story with humor, catchy lines, and updated values to make the story fit for a modern audience.  The brilliant performances by its stars, most notably its prima donna  Xin Fengxia and comedic actress Zhao Lirong, fills the film with joy. Ping opera pronunciation is almost identical to standard Mandarin, so it’s a lot easier to enjoy than other opera types for most Mandarin speakers. And you’re going to want to sing-along because the songs are very, very catchy.  

When the charming Zhang Wuke (Xin Fengxia) is rejected in marriage by the wealthy Wang Junqing, she goes to meet him to change his mind. However,  Wang Junqing’s heart is already promised to Li Yu’e (Li Yilan).  To save the potential match, his cousin Jia Junying goes in his place to meet Zhang Wuke.  Tricked into thinking Jia Junying is Wang Junqing, Zhang Wuke agrees to marry him.

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