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Net pulse of nation beats for stand-up comedian's jokes

[ 2009-12-03 13:00]     字号 [] [] []  
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In this time of gloom and doom, Chinese people went searching for a laugh.

Stand-up comedians, spy TV series and stories of corrupt officials caught the eye and fingers of many Chinese Internet users, according to an annual list of the most searched words in 2009 released Wednesday by Google Inc's China office.

"The popularity of comedy is a sign of lipstick effect," said Tan Fei, a senior culture critic in Beijing, referring to the theory that consumers in an economic crisis are more willing to buy less costly items. Women, for example, will still buy lipstick but not the $3,000 Gucci purse.

"People want to have some fun and laughter - a getaway from the depressed economy," Tan explained.

At No 1 on the top 10 list was 42-year-old comedian Zhou Libo, popular for his Shanghainese dialect and his humorous look at world affairs, including poking fun at Chinese leaders.

Zhou's Shanghai-style stand-up act, was one of the hottest tickets in the city.

Comedian Xiao Shenyang, who spins a barrage of fast-paced stories, jokes and exaggerated songs, is the most popular search among a list of top 10 celebrities.

Both Zhou and Xiao's acts provide grassroots and truth-telling jokes, said Tan, adding that people "feel connected with them".

Following Zhou on the top 10 Google list was the search for a popular online novel titled Dou Luo Da Lu, a spy-themed TV show Lurk and wartime TV series Go West all of which ranked in No. 2 through 4, respectively.

Salacious news of Xu Zongheng, the former mayor of Shenzhen who grabbed readers with his alleged involvement in a graft scandal and his supposed relationship with a Chinese actress, rounded out the top 5 spots.

On the global scale, Michael Jackson's stunning death was the most read story on the Internet this year, according to annual lists released recently and compiled separately by Google Inc and Yahoo Inc. Both combine for two-thirds of the world's Internet searches.

Net users were drawn to the quest to find out what happened to Jackson in his final hours on June 25. On Yahoo, news of Jackson's death ended Britney Spears' four-year reign at the top.

Renren.com was the only social networking site on the top ten list in China, mainly because of its name-change this year from Xiaonei.com.

This is in sharp contrast with the list in other parts of the world where the online hangouts Facebook and Tuenti, a social networking site in Spain, both made Google's Top 10 list, as did the popular communications tool Twitter.

Microsoft's latest Windows operating system also grabbed a spot on Google's list. Singer Lady Gaga was the only other celebrity besides Jackson on Google's global Top 10.

Barack Obama made Yahoo's top searches in 2008 as a presidential candidate and the President-elect, but dropped off after he took office in 2009.

Others falling out of the Top 10 were all actresses: Miley Cyrus, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan and Angelina Jolie.


1. Who is ranked No1 in the most searched words in China?

2. Name the only social-networking site to make the top ten in China?

3. Name one of the four actresses who fail to make the global top ten this year?


1. Zhou Libo.

2. Renren.com.

3. Miley Cyrus, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan or Angelina Jolie.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Net pulse of nation beats for stand-up comedian's jokes

About the broadcaster:

Net pulse of nation beats for stand-up comedian's jokes

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.