I work as an entertainer and presenter, and something of an East-West cultural go-between. I've done this for over 30 years now and almost all on a freelance basis, so it's been a very eclectic career (more about that under Portfolio below).
More high-profile, mass-exposure work has been done on China Central TV (CCTV), especially in the 1990s and early 2000s, so that's what most people think of first. That work tends to be fairly random and only take a short amount of time. Working on CCTV has never been a full-time job much less a career for me, but it sure is a big boost when one appearance can seen by hundreds of millions of people.
Whatever I do (and I'm always open to new ideas) I take a Chinese-first approach. As a native English speaker born and raised in the West, working in my second language and outside of my own cultural environment has always seemed the best way to truly bridge cultures.
In recent years I've focused on developing a live show that I've toured across China and to Chinese communities around the world. People know the character "Dashan" from TV; through this live show I share some of the behind-the-scene stories from my 30 years of living and working between China and the West.
I'm taking a break from active performing to focus more on writing and creative work in 2019. Working from show-to-show has meant that these personal interest projects have sat on the back-burner for far too long. I'll still be doing guest appearances here and there, but these projects will be taking priority for now:
Comedy is a great window on culture and society, not only to highlight differences but also, when we can share a laugh together, show us what we have in common. Most studies of xiangsheng (traditional Chinese comedy) focus on what makes it distinctly Chinese. I like to go a bit deeper and find the commonality, to discover where those surface differences really come from.
A first-hand account of a Canadian-led refugee camp in Henan during the Japanese invasion of 1938. These memoirs, never before published, share a personal connection with my own grandparents' work in China in the 1920s.
In 2004 I published a series of children's stories with FLTRP in Beijing. "Uncle Dashan" will soon be back in studio working on an updated and expanded series.
I've always resisted writing a celebrity memoir because I felt it was too early and I was busy living out the story. Now, as my career enters the latter chapters and nobody cares anymore, maybe it is time to finally write that magnum opus.
This more or less sums up what I do in general. If this gives you an idea for what we might work on together, send me a note.
I first made my name performing xiangsheng and comedic skits on national TV in China, before spending the middle part of my career diversifying into non-comedic work. Of everything I've done, comedy is by far the most difficult and most rewarding, and so I've come full circle in recent years but with a new twist, through my solo show Dashan Live.
I'm open to invitations but prefer to keep this entertaining as well, focusing on insights into culture and society through the lens of comedy.
Working as a television host & presenter was my bread & butter work for many years. I'll still do this for special events, but it has to be something extra interesting and worthwhile. My main focus is on my own show and personal projects these days.
I've performed in television dramas and theatrical productions, winning a White Magnolia award for best supporting actor some years back. It has to be the right role (and typecasting for white guys in China is just as bad as for Asian actors in Hollywood) but I'm open to new opportunities when the time is right.
I love this work and have narrated pieces like "Peter and the Wolf" for the Toronto Symphony and New York Philharmonic, recorded voice-overs for children's plays and even voiced the part of an evil rat on 黑猫警长 "Black Cat Police Chief". Right now I'm working on a new series of "Uncle Dashan" short stories for children
My work as a television host has led me to host many educational programs over the years. I'm not a language teacher per se, and that's not where my personal interest lies, but I do share my experiences as a student of language through various projects I've done over the years.
I've done advertising and promotional events for corporate clients and charitable causes, and I still get a lot of requests for this type of work. Fair warning -- I turn down most requests because I'm looking for long-term clients that are a good fit with my public image and other work. Talk to me if you're interested in sponsoring or developing some sort of commercial cooperation with my one-man show Dashan Live, as that's really the best way to work together. And I'm always open to requests from charitable organizations, as long as the work is truly charitable in nature.