Brace yourself for Saturday Night Live China

The Longest Day in Chang’an is one of the most anticipated dramas by Youku. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Youku is nurturing a big ambition to localize the world’s most popular television genres for online viewing. Wang Kaihao reports.     

Perhaps, like American TV audiences over the past decades, Chinese netizens will be laughing aloud on Saturday nights.

After all, Saturday Night Live China, a Chinese adaptation of the long-running sketch comedy and variety show from NBC, is to be released in 2018 via Youku, one of China’s major online video streaming platforms based in Beijing.

The US Emmy Award-winning original features comedy sketches that parody popular social and cultural topics. It is simply known as SNL in the United States, where it premiered back in 1975.

The plan to screen SNL China online was released during a two-day conference in Shanghai on the future development of Youku and the online video industry in China, which ended on Oct 25.

SNL is the single most successful comedy variety show in TV history,” said Liu Liu, a producer of the new show, at the conference. “The programs have not only created chemistry between the public’s idols and comedy, but also nurtured unique perspectives on social issues and the sensibility of the times.”

According to Liu, the upcoming weekly show will select some of the hot topics discussed by young people during the preceding week and develop them into entertaining parodies. Nevertheless, the producer says it will not to be a carbon copy of the US show.

“Short video clips are easily spread in cyberspace,” he says. “Consequently, each episode of the show will make short video clips go viral online.”

Liu also expects the show to improve the status of comedians in China, saying comedians can become superstars. Celebrities will also have the chance to become comedians as they will be invited to reveal their opinions on some social issues.

“When comedy is closely connected with fashion icons, it will create a new direction for Chinese comedy shows,” Liu says.

More details about the show, such as who will be the anchor, are yet to be revealed.

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