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Rising comedian is freshly 'Roasted'

China Daily Asia | Updated: 2017-06-08 09:54

Chi Zi [Photo/Courtesy of Xiaoguo Culture Company]

You might not have heard of Chi Zi yet, but many certainly have – he's feverishly endorsed by more than 810,000 fans on his Sina Weibo blog.

For those who follow the current popular talk shows in China, this 22-year-old comedian is definitely a rising star in the field. Fast-paced, hilarious and carefree, he's often referred to in the Chinese media by two labels: "Furious of the Post-95 Generation" and "Talk Show Genius".

Roast is the show that has made him known to millions of Chinese people; the first season of his online talk show premiered in early January this year, ending up with 1.38 billion hits on its streaming platform, Tencent Video. Inspired by the American series Comedy Central Roast, in which celebrities are mercilessly mocked (in good humour) by a range of comedians, Roast features a designated guest enduring rounds of jokes and mockeries courtesy of a panel, which blends talk-show and stand-up-comedy elements.

With a second season of Roast in the works, in this exclusive chat with China Daily Lifestyle Premium, Chi Zi opens up about his profile – both public and private.

So why do they call you "furious"?

Maybe I seem a bit hyper-excited on shows, so they call it that.

How did you end up doing Roast?

My company discovered me when I was performing in comedy clubs in Beijing two years ago. They asked me to try record an episode of Roast, so I did, and they thought my performance was good.

How long do you normally need to prepare for an episode of Roast?

It depends – sometimes a week, sometimes rushed in two to three days. When we finish the initial scripts, we can revise them for two weeks or a month. I can even revise for more than half a year – there's no limit to making the scripts funny.

Are the scripts all written in advance or are some things spontaneous?

First I write it, then the staff revise it. On the show, it's basically according to that finalised version. Because improvisation is unpredictable, a performance can be hard to control. If I improvise on stage and the result is awkward silence, the following dialogue can be hard to carry out. It'd also influence the panel and the whole ambience – the audience. So basically, we all perform according to the script.

Do you prefer to write your own scripts for Roast?

Yes. Personal style is important on a talk show and my style is unique – others' scripts may be not suitable for me.

And do you watch your own shows?

Actually, no, it's quite embarrassing! Unless they say there's something wrong with it, then I'll watch. But normally I don't – it's quite silly.

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