大山侃大山

Who is Dashan?

Here are three ways we might approach that question. (If you've never heard of "Dashan", best stick to the standard or Wikipedia version.)

This is my own take on the question. If you've never heard of "Dashan", maybe start with the standard intro first.

Dashan is the stage name I have used since the first crazy appearance on China Central Television in 1988 that led to this wild and wonderful career. I continue to work as a freelance performer in China and throughout Chinese communities around the world. It's been a very eclectic career that spans entertainment, education, diplomacy, business & charity, and that's why the term "cultural ambassador" gets tossed around. It's a convenient catch-all.

A big part of my work is managing the public image of "Dashan", and that adds a different dimension. I am Dashan. He's not a character; he's just me doing my work in a public forum. I control what I do, but as a public figure your image and reputation exist somewhere "out there" in the public domain. I work with that public image, try to continue developing it and put it to good use, but also recognise that I don't entirely own or control it. "Who is Dashan" depends on who you ask; every fan and every critic has their own perspective. Each of them owns a little piece of the public reputation.

That's why I often refer to "Dashan" in the third person. It's interesting to step away and try to look at it objectively, because the public perceptions tell you more about the viewers than the celebrity. In that sense, "Dashan" is a little window on modern China, on how Chinese see themselves and their relationship with the outside world, on how Westerners see that relationship, and sometimes on the clash between those perspectives. Having to navigating between cultures in a public forum by default is another reason the "cultural ambassador" label seems to make sense.

Enough of the pseudo-sociology for now. Someday I'll write more on this, but it is a big part of the background to my current work on "Dashan Live", a solo comedy show I continue to develop and perform, in which I explore behind-the-scenes stories of my life & work between East & West, and have some fun with the public image of "Dashan".

Dashan Live