Guo Degang has become a new household name in China, quite on a par with Zhang Yimou and Gong Li. Off the screen, however, Guo has risen to popularity by word of mouth in teahouses, such as Beijing's Tianqiao Le and Guangde Lou, where he gives live performances of xiangsheng, a traditional Chinese comic talk show.
People pay to listen to his talk because he and his colleagues make people relaxed, Guo says. Today, his fans have to book tickets a few weeks in advance.
The Chinese comic talk show, which appeared in teahouses in the late 19th-century Beijing, was turned into a stage art as part of variety shows in theaters after New China was founded. The performers became theater artists, while the number of teahouses dwindled, as the catering business was not encouraged. This title is part of Guo Degang's magnum opus, which includes three stories.
Please note: This performance is in Mandarin Chinese.