Shanghai used to be known for its dazzling night life, its delicate food, and its countless attractions. Now, it’s known for one more thing: Zhou Libo (周立波).
Ask any 80-year-old grannie, she’d tell you he’s (arguably) the finest comedian Shanghai has ever nurtured. Ask any eight-year-old boy, he’d tell you Zhou Libo is absolutely hilarious. Not slap-stick hilarious, not over-the-top hilarious, but sharp-tongued and pertinent.
Well, the comedian Shanghai is so proud to have is going to Beijing at the end of the month for a special five-day performance titled “Zhou Libo and Yu Long’s Musical Conversation” (Yu Long being the conductor). Zhou will be performing with the China Philharmonic Orchestra to promote musical education (decode: euphemism for “boosting ticket sale” for the orchestra). Zhou explains that he will tie the sound of different instruments to various facets of the society and present the social condition through musical expression.
I have great respect for the man (he’s bold with an entrepreneurial bent, among other qualities) and would normally liked to see him reach higher success. But I’m on the fence about the Beijing performance for the following reasons.
For one, his regular performances compose of large quantities of Shanghainese dialect and cultural references that exudes witticism. Performing in Beijing would mean a trim down of these characteristic snippets, which might loses some of its original charm. However, I’m also extremely curious to see what he will come up for the occasion. All in all I hope this will not be a marketing extravaganza.