A few spontaneous jokes during a stand-up show – and the “Uncle Roger” virus has been banned in China.
Nigel Ng, a British-Malaysian comedian of Chinese descent, loves slipping into the role of ‘Uncle Roger’, the archetypal Asian, gay ‘uncle’ struggling to make ends meet in Europe. It first went viral with clips like these:
He now has a successful international career as a stand-up comedian and has three million followers on Instagram.
All of the comedian’s social media accounts were blocked in China this week, apparently as part of a larger crackdown on comedians by the Chinese government.
Ng recently posted an excerpt from his improv show. You can see him interact with the audience in his role as “Uncle Roger” — including viewers from the People’s Republic of China (“Good country, good country…we have to say that now.”) or Taiwan (“Not a real country!”) It then adds that it is likely to be “on the verge of being cancelled”:
And immediately, Nigel Ng’s Weibo and Bilibili (Twitter and YouTube in China) accounts were frozen over the weekend. A message on his Weibo profile, where he has more than 400,000 followers, reads: “The user has been prevented from posting due to violating relevant laws and regulations.”
Ng retweeted the video on Twitter, this time with the caption: “For some reason this clip got a lot of views last weekend. Wonder why.” He also immediately used the media attention to promote his latest show:
“Uncle Roger” is the youngest victim of what appears to be a crackdown on comedians by Beijing. A week ago, Chinese comedian Li Haoshi was arrested after he made a joke comparing his dogs to a military emblem. The company that employed him was also fined 14.7 million yuan (1.9 million Swiss francs), a disproportionately large sum that raises fears that stand-up comedy could be eradicated in the country. Lee has apologized for his comments, but still faces up to three years in prison.
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