This is a very special episode we think you’ll really enjoy. Instead of talking about one particular work of pop culture, we sit down with Dashan, the most famous non-Chinese comedian in China, a pop culture symbol himself.
For the longest time, when you mention the word “老外” (lao wai, foreigner) in China, Dashan is the first name that came to mind. He became a household name after debuting on Chinese television in the '90s, when 500 million people tuned in to watch his comedic skit. Dashan’s career in the spotlight spans three decades, during which China went under drastic socio-economic changes and became the world’s latest superpower.
While he’s Canadian born and bred, the expressions he uses off-hand, his way of thinking, and the euphemistic rhetoric he deploys in this interview are remarkably “Chinese.” Through this unique personal lens, Dashan offers rich insights into contemporary Chinese society and culture. “I am a foreigner. But I am not an outsider.”
Dashan starts this conversation by comparing himself to Bojack Horseman — the protagonist of the popular eponymous Netflix show that was “very famous back in the 90s.” In the show, Bojack is depressingly and destructively obsessed with his past glory. Dashan joked that they share many similarities, but Dashan’s trajectory is actually quite the opposite. He talks to us candidly about his journey, both personal and professional, from “Dashan 1.0” to “Dashan 3.0.”
Dashan is currently in Canada preparing for his show “大山侃大山,” which you can watch parts of online here.
Who’s Dashan today and how does he reflect on his fascinating career in China over the past three decades? Tune in to this special episode and find out.
(There’s also a hilarious anecdote of Dashan’s awkward encounter with a former Chinese President, known for being accidentally comedic.)
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