I recently found an unusual piece of reading about Comedy and Cultural Entrepreneurship!
The piece is entitled “Comedy and Cultural Entrepreneurship in Xu Zhuodai’s Huaji Shanghai” by Christopher G. Rea can be found in the Modern Chinese Literature and Culture journal (vol. 20, no. 2 (Fall 2008), pp. 40-91).
I quote from the abstract:
“How did Shanghai laugh before the arrival of Lu Xun’s satire (fengci) or Lin Yutang’s humor (youmo)? This essay brings to light the forgotten culture of huaji (“funny”) laughter, which flourished in Shanghai’s entertainment market during the first half of the twentieth century. Though indebted to the motif of “play” (youxi) that had dominated the city’s entertainment press during the late Qing dynasty, huaji culture in the 1920s developed a distinctly gay and celebratory comic sensibility in Republican Shanghai’s increasingly diversified media environment. The catalysts for this change were cultural entrepreneurs like Xu Zhuodai, a popular fiction writer who was also an actor, editor, translator, educator, filmmaker, and businessman. ”
For more info and to get a copy of this reading, click here.
Also from the same author and Nicolai Volland, on the same subject, you can read “The Business of Culture: Cultural Entrepreneurs in China and Southeast Asia, 1900-65“.