A Chinese New Year in Sketch Comedy
Happy New Year! 新年快乐！
Over the Christmas-New Year holiday, I was super stoked to be pursuing my very unique Chinese dream: to get a chance to perform on CCTV's, China's largest broadcaster's, Chinese Lunar New Year Gala (春节晚会). THIS IS A BIG DEAAAALLLL. People kill to be on this show and I'm sure the foreigners that have performed all had tons of talent *coughs* strategic *coughs* reason for performing on the show.
For those that don't know, since the year and place of its inception, 1983 in Beijing, CCTV has held a Chinese Lunar New Year Gala, a four-hour entertainment extravaganza showcasing the best of musicians, dancers, acrobats, and Chinese sketch comedy. Just think Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve, and you basically have it; minus government interference and better lip syncing than Mariah Carey.
Anyway, by way of a kismet post on an improv comedy facebook page, I auditioned and received a spot to perform a Chinese comedy sketch for well over 1000 Chinese people at an if-you-close-your-eyes-hard-enough-am-I-in-China-?- restaurant on New Year's Eve with a rather impressive stage and, of course, the rare opportunity to have our sketch recorded and submitted to potentially perform for CCTV's domestic recording of Chinese New Year.
After four intense hours-long practices, me, two other fluent in Chinese "foreigner“ 老外 gentlemen - including this guy - and the token clueless non-speaking non-Chinese but very funny comedian arrived at the restaurant to the utter chaos that was our initial performance (reminded me a lot of being at a temple during Chinese new year... that's all I'll say). Like CCTV's show, there was an eclectic variety of performances including Chinese opera, little kids who could put their feet behind their heads, two Russian ladies dancing samba, and then our comedy sketch: HOT DOGS LOVE DUMPLINGS <热狗爱饺子>！Yes, it was as zany as it sounds. AND our sketch was the ONLY comedy sketch in the entire show and therefore the BEST!
Despite our best efforts we, unfortunately, did not make the cut. I'd love to tell ya'll all about the gripping 10 minute plot, BUT we are still in contention for other, still popular, but much much less distributed Chinese New Year's broadcasts (JiangSu, BTV, Hunan TV, etc.)
At the end of the day, I feel reinvigorated by having done such a thing. I've been doing improv for over two years now and want to figure out how to combine my two loves - Chinese and comedy. AND BAM it happened, I want more, and I'm hoping to have another chance to work with the great people I've met along the way and do some comedy in Chinese.
This is the miracle of ”yes, and..."