Profile: Tibetan stand-up comedian wins stage on "roof of the world"-Xinhua

Profile: Tibetan stand-up comedian wins stage on "roof of the world"

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-02-22 16:09:15

by Xinhua writers Liu Zhoupeng and Lyu Qiuping

LHASA, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- As the light brightened, a young performer took to the stage under the spotlight against the backdrop of a red curtain. Holding the microphone with confidence, he embarked on recounting humorous tales in Tibetan, eliciting laughter and applause from the crowd.

Nyanzin Drakpa's stand-up comedy was staged in Lhasa, the capital of southwest China's Xizang Autonomous Region.

The 22-year-old, currently pursuing studies at a university in Beijing, has set up a stand-up comedy team called Shwow in Lhasa, delighting audiences during summer and winter breaks.

"We hope every Tibetan who loves stand-up comedy can come with anticipation and leave with smiles," he said.

Nyanzin Drakpa came up with the idea of becoming a stand-up comedian three years ago when he watched a show in Beijing.

"The comedy sets were about elderly people exercising in parks and they reminded me of similar funny scenes I had encountered in a park in Lhasa," he recalled, adding that his decision to perform stand-up comedy in Tibetan garnered immediate support from his father.

In fact, his inclination toward stand-up comedy is greatly influenced by his father, Dorje Drakpa, a well-known crosstalk comedian in Xizang who participated in the regional gala for the Tibetan New Year.

"When I was a child, I often tagged along with my dad to various performances, watching him bring joy to the audience," Nyanzin Drakpa said.

When Nyanzin Drakpa and his high school classmates founded the Shwow team in 2021, stand-up comedy was still a relatively obscure form of art in Xizang.

To their surprise, their first show arranged free of charge at a cafe drew nearly 300 people, six times the seating capacity, even without any advertising.

"Some people stood on tables and the bar counter. Even the seat of the cafe's boss was taken," Nyanzin Drakpa said, adding that some people who could not squeeze in would rather stand on stairways and listen to the performance.

With his unique sense of humor and keen observation, Nyanzin Drakpa captured the details of life, such as his experience of being fined by a traffic policeman, and skillfully turned them into hilarious comic set pieces.

He insisted on performing in Tibetan and to improve his language proficiency, he attended extracurricular Tibetan training classes during his holidays.

"Some of our sets are linked to the Tibetan culture, so telling them in Tibetan will make it easier for the audience to resonate," he said.

Amidst the flourishing cultural and artistic landscape of Xizang in recent years, many outstanding literary and artistic creations have emerged. Tibetan stand-up comedy, as an emerging form of art, is gaining popularity and has become an important source of leisure and entertainment for Tibetan people, especially the youth.

Tashi Tseten, a university student, said that Nyanzin Drakpa skillfully blends traditional themes with a contemporary approach, which he finds highly enjoyable. "The stand-up comedy has become a way for me to relieve the pressure of study."

To date, some 30 comedians have performed as part of the Shwow team, with the revenue of each show exceeding 30,000 yuan (about 4,225 U.S. dollars) during the Tibetan New Year holiday. Earlier this year, Nyanzin Drakpa staged a series of shows in his hometown in the city of Shannan.

Going ahead, Nyanzin Drakpa plans to upload their performance videos with Mandarin subtitles to reach a wider audience.

"I hope our shows can go beyond the plateau and spread joy to even more people," he said. Enditem

(Xinhua correspondents Tenzin Nyida and Huang Zhiqi contributed to the story.)