Pengyou and Bilingual Comedian Jesse Appell Brings the U.S.-China Comedy Center on the Road


The US-China Comedy Center (USCCC) is an experimental theatre based out of the Project Pengyou courtyard in Beijing, founded with the goal of bringing together China and America through laughter. Since 2016, the Project Pengyou courtyard has been full of jokes of all languages and lots of laughs. Soon, those laughs will be heading out on the road! Thanks to the US Embassy, American Comedy Night in China is coming to a theatre near you.

This past winter, USCCC founder Jesse Appell won a grant from the US Embassy in Beijing to take an American comedy show on tour across Chinese second- and third-tier cities. The goal? Share American culture through American styles of comedy like Standup and Improv, performed in Chinese by a mix of Americans and Chinese.


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Jesse performs on China-America comedy night

“In a lot of the places we will be performing, the audiences might be seeing Standup or improv for the first time,” Jesse told our team at Project Pengyou. “It’s going to be a lot of fun to bring that experience to them in Chinese so they can get the most of the show.”

This past week, the first show of the American Comedy Night in China Show took place in Zhengzhou, Henan, with the help of the Zhengzhou Talkshow (Standup) Club. Over 1200 people came out to see Jesse, the US-China Comedy Center improv team, and other local comedians.

While not all of the jokes that would work for Americans in the States work on the road in China, mixing Chinese and American actors leads to a localization of the show and an authenticity that comes from Americans like Jesse that have made new homes in China.

He said: “USCCC and Project Pengyou are both about getting Chinese and Americans together and making Pengyous. At the end of the day, it means a lot that we can all get in a room and laugh together.” We’re looking forward to seeing what we can laugh about together in the future as well!

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If you want to see some of Jesse’s jokes, check out one of his recent TV show appearances, and be sure to reach out to us about his upcoming U.S. tour and how you can see him perform on your college campus: