Linguistic Laughs, American Chinese Comedy Unites in San Diego

Jesse Appell, a Beijing-based comedian and founder of the U.S.-China Comedy Center, will make a presentation on what makes the Chinese laugh.

This is a unique comedy show because Appell is one of very few American comedians, who speak Mandarin, performing regularly in China.

“Yeah there’s not many of us,” said Appell in a preshow interview today at UCSD, “I can count on one hand the number of Americans who can really make an audience laugh in China.”

Despite different cultures and languages, Appell says comedy in China and the United States are similar, “Like you know, I wish I had a bigger house, a better car, I can’t find a girlfriend. Other things are more unique to China, like pollution and the air.”

Appell knows he’s in a unique position when it comes to U.S. China relations, “A lot of people can do business across the cultures and that’s really good, but at some point if the business starts to go bad or we need some comic relief, there’s not going to be a whole lot of people across the cultures who know how to make each other laugh.”

Appell says the world is more connected than ever, but if for some reason that international connection breaks down, maybe comedy can be a bridge that can ease international tensions.

“There are times when there are going to be conflicts, two big countries there will be conflicts, reminding ourselves that we have these ways of connecting, that if we look to try to laugh together and be able to sit and enjoy a show together we’ll be able to do it and that’s a very important thing to remind ourselves.”

The event is at 6pm at the International House, Great Hall on the campus of University of California San Diego.

The event is presented by China Focus, a UC San Diego graduate student organization. International House, Great Hall, 9500 Gilman Drive.

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