Author Archives: Jesse, Beijing

Jesse, Beijing

About Jesse, Beijing

You can contact Jesse Appell at ja.appell@gmail.com.

Video Series “The Great LOL of China”: Stereotype Bingo

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“But wait? Are these things true?” “Ha! If people asked themselves that question, we wouldn’t have stereotypes!” If I perform comedy in China, I confront stereotypes of Americans. If I perform in America about China, I confront American stereotypes about…

Video Series “The Great LOL of China”: Chuanr

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It may sound odd, but when I finally packed my suitcase and bought my one-way ticket to move to Beijing, the first thing I wanted to do was plop down on a tiny stool by a dirty road and eat…

Video Series “The Great LOL of China”: Roommates

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China-US roommates is finally out! This sketch had more props than almost all the other sketches combined, and I now own a remote-controlled boat and a statue of Mao. Some fine summer day in the near future, I plan on…

Video Series “The Great LOL of China” Ep1: China Goggles

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In the summer of 2013, I was walking down the street near my apartment in Beijing when I saw a man on the side of the road selling a bizarre collection of goods. I stooped over his street-side carpet of…

Filming Television with Heroes

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I sat beneath the bright lights onstage in a Tianjin TV studio. My hair was blow-dried and gelled into a unnatural mesa above my head. To my left a Romanian man dressed like a vaudeville-era dandy rambled on about his…

Jesse, Beijing

Jesse Appell

You can contact Jesse Appell at ja.appell@gmail.com.

My Hanukkah in Beijing

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Chinese people love Jews. Bookshelves in every bookstore in the country are stocked with several books espousing “The Wisdom of the Jews,” and there is a Weibo page with millions of followers with the same title. This all strikes me…

Jesse, Beijing

Jesse Appell

You can contact Jesse Appell at ja.appell@gmail.com.

The Loss of A Legend Brings Our World Closer

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When Robin Williams passed away, I was in China. I was surprised but glad to see that my Chinese friends were deeply moved and mourning his passing. My WeChat was full of remembrances and quotes from his films and shows….

Jesse, Beijing

Jesse Appell

You can contact Jesse Appell at ja.appell@gmail.com.

The Bones Beneath The Jokes

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When you see a funny show on television or the Internet, all that the creators of the show want is for you to laugh, have a good time, and perhaps even share with a friend. The goal of the comedian…

Jesse, Beijing

Jesse Appell

You can contact Jesse Appell at ja.appell@gmail.com.

Mo Money Mo Fazhan: My New Video, My Sense of Humor.

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As I study and perform more comedy in Chinese, sometimes I notice my sense of humor beginning to reflect the unusual nature of my experience—spending my time in a country and culture other than that of my birth and upbringing….

Why What’s Funny in China Might Surprise You

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Jesse Appell will do anything for a laugh. “Food poisoning is funny. I got dysentery once. That was funny.” Well, not quite that funny the moment we sat down to talk over dumplings in Beijing. Appell has lived in Beijing on…

Jesse, Beijing

Jesse Appell

You can contact Jesse Appell at ja.appell@gmail.com.

How Chinese People “Fake It ‘Till You Make It”

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One of the funniest things in any culture is when someone tries to pretend to be someone they’re not. In America, we have certain archetypes of people who we often make fun of—think hipsters or rednecks—but even funnier is someone…

Jesse, Beijing

Jesse Appell

You can contact Jesse Appell at ja.appell@gmail.com.

What’s Not Funny in China?

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People keeping track of what’s funny in China will often bring up the name of Guo Degang, one of the most popular comedians in the country right now. Guo is particularly interesting to me because he is a Xiangsheng artist,…

Jesse, Beijing

Jesse Appell

You can contact Jesse Appell at ja.appell@gmail.com.