Laughing in the Year of the Chicken: The Past and Future of Chinese Humor

Laughing in the Year of the Chicken: The Past and Future of Chinese Humor
Comedian Jesse Appell, in conversation with Christopher Rea

Thursday, January 26, 2017
C.K. Choi Building (1855 West Mall, UBC campus), room 120

Cock-a-doodle doo! Chinese comedians should have a lot to crow about during the Year of the Rooster. But should we expect Chinese humor in 2017 to be defined by wit, satire, parody, farce, or just cockiness? Come hear a practicing comedian swap perspectives with a cultural historian on the past, present, and future of Chinese humor. Jesse Appell, founder of Laugh Beijing, and Christopher Rea, author of a history of laughter in China, will share examples of their favorite types of modern Chinese humor, and their experiences with Chinese humor in the club, on the street, and in the archive.

Jesse Appell is a Chinese-English bilingual comedian based in Beijing. His comic performances in clubs, on television, and in videos such as “Laowai Style” have been viewed by millions and been reported on by PBS, NPR, The Economist, China Radio International, and People’s Daily. Some of his work can be viewed at

Christopher Rea is an associate professor of Asian studies at UBC and the author of The Age of Irreverence: A New History of Laughter in China (California, 2015).

This event is organized by the UBC Modern Chinese Culture Seminar and sponsored by the CCK Foundation Inter-University Centre for Sinology, UBC Asian Studies, UBC St. John’s College, and the UBC Centre for Chinese Research.