• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Xiangsheng, History of

  • By: David Moser
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

One of the most popular humor forms in China throughout the last century and up to the present time is the verbal art of “crosstalk,” the name being the conventional (flawed) translation of the Chinese term xiangsheng, literally “face and voice,” indicating that the art form primarily emphasizes facial expression and vocal skills. Crosstalk is one of a large number of Chinese folk oral performance literature forms in the category of quyi (“vocal arts,” or sometimes translated as “minor performing arts”). Westerners seeing the form for the first time are usually strongly reminded of American stand-up comedy, particularly the classic American comedy duos such as Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, or 1960s TV acts like Rowan and Martin and the Smothers Brothers. Indeed, the surface ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles