“Cause that’s the noise everyone makes when they go to Chengdu city.” “I have two hometowns. One is Paris and the other is Chengdu.” “I love eating Mapo Tofu in Chengdu. But my friends always advise me ‘Don’t tell everybody that you like eating tofu.’ ” (Eating tofu means flirting with women) On December 8th, the Shakespeare Theatre in the U.K. and the Feng Qiu Huang Theatre in Chengdu, China will hold a stand-up comedy show named “Chengdu in the Eyes of Foreigners”. Overseas representatives from the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, France, Mali, and so forth will make the audience roar with laughter with humorous and hilarious memes. At the same time, they will express their deep love for Chengdu from the perspectives of employment environment, innovation atmosphere, park city construction, spiritual temperament of Chengdu people, and traditional culture in Chengdu.
This event has been widely promoted and disseminated among young groups from all over the world. With the popular stand-up comedy among people in the new era — the “Gen Z”, it has built a bridge for friendly interaction between Chengdu and the world.
“Chengdu in the Eyes of Foreigners”: “Chengdu Dialect” by Young People from Six Countries
At the Shakespeare Theatre, the famous British stand-up comedians Sam Picone and Matt Rouse shared their recent visit to Chengdu. With exaggerated performance and witty expressions, they described their experience of visiting the Broad and Narrow Alley, tasting Sichuan cuisines, watching the pandas, making a hot pot, getting ear wax removed, etc. Their performance triggered the audiences’ interest in Chengdu, and many audiences said in laughter “I must visit Chengdu in person in the future to feel the unique charm of its culture”.
At the Feng Qiu Huang Theatre, Mary, our friend from the United States used fluent mandarin to tell the audience about her life experience in Chengdu over the years and expressed her love for the food and the leisure vibe in Chengdu. She bantered with the audience the rapid development of Chengdu. The first ring road, the second ring road, the third ring road…crawl like a spiral mosquito-repellent incense on the Chengdu Plain. She also described Chengdu people as giant panda for their love of eating, playing, and being adorable and humorous.
In 2008, Nicolas, our friend from France came to China for his love for Chinese Taiji, the Traditional Chinese Medicine, and philosophy. The vitality and tolerance of people in Chengdu, and the green, open, civilized, happy, and humanized aspects of Chengdu prompted him to take root here and grow with the city. During the show, he talked about his thirteen-year experience in Chengdu. The Chengdu youth at the show said, “He loves Chengdu and lives here. No matter which country or region he comes from, in our eyes, he is a Chengdu native!”.
During the show, our friends Marty and Ibrahima (Jack Ma) from Russia and Mali respectively shared with the audience the cultural differences between their hometowns and Chengdu. They told humorous and heart-warming stories caused by the collision of cultural differences. They said that history, culture, food, science fiction, modernity, fashion, nature, sports… coexist harmoniously in Chengdu, and they work together to build a label of “Livable City” of Chengdu.
Offline Stand-up Comedy + Online Broadcasting: Supporting Chengdu in Going Global
“Seeing so many overseas friends praising Chengdu, as a Chengdu native, I’m very proud.” Lu Yu, a post-95 audience, said that watching stand-up comedy is her favorite way of entertainment. This performance connected “Chengdu” “Stand-up Comedy” and “Overseas Friends” together, which not only brought joy to domestic and foreign audiences, but also deeply promoted the connection between Chengdu and other countries in the world. “I believe that more and more overseas friends will fall in love with Chengdu, visit Chengdu. and understand Chengdu.” Lu Yu hoped that in the future, Chengdu could hold more events of this kind.
The reporter learned that the stand-up comedy was also exhibited on major video platforms at home and abroad through live broadcasts and recordings, attracting hundreds of millions of viewers’ attentions and likes, and creating a fashion of speaking Chengdu dialect and listening to Chengdu stories. “I have always wanted to go to Chengdu for a walk.” German netizen Zell said that recently. He watched the entire show through the YouTube account “Chengdu in the eyes of foreigners”, and the vivid performances of the actors have once again inspired his desire to visit Chengdu. “When my children celebrate their birthday next year, I must take my family and children to Chengdu to learn Chengdu dialect, watch giant pandas, taste Sichuan cuisines, meet the snowy mountains of the East, and experience Chengdu culture”.
Stand-up Comedy + City Brand: Chengdu in Building a New Pattern of International Communication with Multiple Participation
“Stand-up comedy is a kind of show that young people at home and abroad like to watch. After repeated discussions and planning, we finally decided to use it as a carrier to tell Chengdu stories. Through it, we will closely connect ‘Gen Z’, Chengdu and the world together.” The organizer of the event told the reporter that as a Chengdu native, he has a strong affection for this treasure land. He hopes that by building a popular Chengdu brand, overseas friends will be deeply impressed by Chengdu, thus helping this youthful city head to the world. “The stand-up comedy ‘Chengdu in the Eyes of Foreigners’ is just a new way of thinking about the discourse system of our external communication. In the future, on the basis of optimizing the Chengdu stand-up comedy brand, we will continue to explore the internationalization of Chengdu topics and write a Chengdu chapter in telling Chinese stories.”
Professor Dai Yonghong, director of the Institute for China’s Overseas Interests of Shenzhen University, said that marketing Chengdu with stand-up comedy popular among “Gen Z” is an innovative attempt. The event linked Chengdu people, overseas friends living in Chengdu, and overseas tourists who have visited Chengdu to share Chengdu stories. Their real experience in Chengdu will continue to collide in the global Chengdu fan circle, and eventually resonate and reach a consensus. This will promote friendly interaction between domestic and overseas youths, and make Chengdu culture deeply rooted in the hearts of people by means of precise dissemination. Dai Yonghong said: “The era has given ‘Gen Z’ the spirit of openness, tolerance and innovation, making it another pillar in innovating China. Therefore, in addition to stand-up comedy, Chengdu can continue to try two dimensions, comics, games, videos and other forms that are loved by ‘Gen Z’ to open up an innovative path for urban brand communication targeting ‘Gen Z’, guiding their growth and development, and helping them to embark on a broader international development stage together with Chengdu. At the same time, shaping City branding, promoting cultural dissemination, and telling Chinese stories well is not only the responsibility of the government. It also requires the active support and participation of major social institutions and all citizens so as to promote and form a diversified communication system.”
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Times of Chennai journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.