It was meant to be a happy show, but when a video of a cross-talk, or xiangsheng, performance by Zhang Yunlei and Yang Jiulang circulated on Sina Weibo on Nov 23, it sparked outrage among users of the Chinese social media platform because Zhang had joked about Peking Opera actresses Zhang Huoding and Li Shiji (1933-2016).

The show was recorded in Beijing in May 2018 as part of the cross-talk duo’s national tour. During the performance, Zhang Yunlei made fun of the names of Zhang Huoding and the late Li by calling them dingding and jiji respectively, which in Chinese are considered offensive remarks. He also joked that he once took a shower with Zhang Huoding because they were good friends.

Fans of the two stage actresses were offended.

Cross-talk show angers fans with jokes about Peking Opera actresses

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